Wednesday, March 05, 2014

unrhyw un awydd peint?

Here's an interesting article listing 75 great Welsh pubs. Inevitably this prompts a bit of trainspottery box-ticking in the mind of someone who has, well, that sort of mind, so my sub-list (i.e. the ones I've been to) comprises the following numbers:

1, 8, 17, 31, 34, 37, 38, 41, 43, 44, 51, 52, 53, 58, 67, 75

- so that's 16 out of 75, which, while clearly leaving some scope for improvement, isn't too bad. Just to pick out a few notable ones:
  • the Plough and Harrow in Monknash (#1) is just down the road from where our friend Kate used to live, and also not far from St. Bride's Major, former home of Charlotte Church and Gavin Henson. The one occasion I've ever been in the pub provided the slightly surreal situation of competing for the barmaid's attention with Gavin Henson - commendably she stuck to strictly orthodox bar protocol and served me first, since I'd got to the bar first. I can confirm that he is a) quite tall, b) quite orange and c) wears mirrored aviator sunglasses indoors, even in quite dingy pubs. Make of that what you will.
  • we went to the Sun Inn in Llangollen (#8) on our canal-boating trip in 2000 as referenced here, before doing a bit of highly irregular permit-free overnight mooring here.
  • I maintain that, while it's perfectly OK, you probably wouldn't give the Worm's Head Hotel (#31) a second glance if it weren't for the fact that its beer garden offers one of the most spectacular views in Britain, at least among views available from beer gardens anyway.
  • the Bear in Crickhowell (#34) was the venue for a post-walk pint after Huw and I went up Table Mountain a few months back.
  • the Ancient Briton in Pen-y-cae (#38) was the venue for a very similar post-walk pint after Hazel and I had been up the Black Mountain in the snow back in April 2010.
  • I had a pint in the Ship Inn on the shores of Red Wharf Bay in Anglesey (#44) while my ex-girlfriend Anne and I were over there in the summer of 2000. 
  • the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel at the foot of the Llanberis Pass in Snowdonia (#51) was previously mentioned in another pub-related list here.
  • we went to the Sloop in Porthgain (#52) for lunch (and a pint) on our trip to Pembrokeshire in June 2012
  • the Murenger House (#58) remains comfortably the best pub in central Newport, not that that is much of an accolade. It's a nice little place only marred by its being tied to Sam Smith's brewery and therefore obliged to serve their rather uninspiring beer.
  • the King's Head in Llangennith (#67) has been the venue for much beery hilarity over the years, usually while we've been staying at the Hillend campsite down the road.
  • we went to the Blue Anchor at East Aberthaw (#75) with Jenny and Jim after we'd taken Nia for her first visit to the beach at Barry Island.
A couple of near misses - we parked up in the car park behind Tafarn Sinc (#6) in Pembrokeshire before bagging Foel Cwmcerwyn back in 2009, without ever quite realising that it was there, otherwise we'd have gone in. I also parked round the back of the Cwmdu Inn (#2) when I did my Royal Wedding avoidance walk back in 2011. It is also quite possible that I've been in more of these (particularly the ones in Cardiff) without specifically remembering their names.

No review of a list of this sort is complete without a bit of quibbling, so I'll just add that I'd have included the Old Arcade in central Cardiff as I think they have the best Brains SA anywhere, and I also have a soft spot for the Albany just up the road from Hazel's old flat in Roath. And familial loyalty obliges me to bemoan the absence of the Lewis Arms in Tongwynlais. If you play the video below the pub list you'll notice that the beardy bloke saying nothing very interesting is drinking a pint of Wye Valley HPA in the Bell in Caerleon, which I've been to a couple of times and would also probably be on my list. It was also the venue for another slightly underwhelming celebrity encounter, this time with big-nosed shouty snooker bloke Rob Walker who seemed to be in the middle of a "10 Miles 10 Pints" fun run/pub crawl mashup at the time, judging by his and his companions' attire.

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