Thursday, October 02, 2014

bar stewards

You might remember my adventures in the loft a while back, and the ancient yellowed newspaper fragments I retrieved, which included (among other things) a list of Newport pubs, most now sadly defunct or, at best, turned into trendy wine bars, not that Newport is generally a trendy wine bar sort of city.

Well, here's another much larger list of South Wales pubs which are now closed - I think the idea is that the closures are all relatively recent, i.e. within the lifetime of the average reader. Anyway, of the 84 on the list I count ten in Newport, as it happens several of which are within a stone's throw of our current or previous homes.
  • The King's Arms in Caerleon is a bit more than a stone's throw away, but I start with this one as it's the only one of the ten I've actually set foot in, not while it was the King's Arms but following its transformation into Spice Corner, a quite decent Indian restaurant. If you look closely at the sign you'll see they do retain the subtitle "at the King's Arms" just in case of any confusion. 
  • The Black Horse on Somerton Road is still standing according to Google Maps, though I can't say I'd ever noticed it was there, even though I drive past it several times a week. Local residents' protests apparently saw off Tesco who wanted to turn it into a store, but that didn't save the pub which is due to be demolished any day now. 
  • The King was a very impressive building just a bit further down Somerton Road - I say "was" because some time in the last few months it transformed itself into a big pile of rubble. As recently as May 2013 it had changed hands with much talk of redeveloping it, but no, they just knocked it down.
  • The old Corporation Hotel on the corner of Cromwell Road and Corporation Road is being converted into flats, following an only very slightly suspicious fire just after the new owners took it over
  • The Oddfellows & Foresters in Baneswell was definitely still a going concern when we lived just round the corner in York Place, though I don't think we ever went in; this list reckons it closed around 2011 (we moved the year before).
This list from 2009, containing 40-odd closed Newport pubs, paints a fairly grim picture. It should be said that some places do buck the trend from time to time, though - that list contains The Gladiator in Malpas, just the other side of the M4, for instance, and it's still derelict in StreetView as of today (though the magic time-travel facility suggests it was open in 2008), but in fact it seems to have now re-opened as the Usk Vale, a slightly more upmarket operation by the sound of it. Good luck to them, I say.

If you do find yourself stuck in the centre of Newport and you need a pint, then the best thing I can suggest is that you either get yourself over to Ye Olde Murenger House or take a short walk to Stow Hill and either the Pen & Wig or the Red Lion, any of which should provide you with a) a reasonably decent pint and b) a better than 50/50 chance of making it out alive. In central Newport that's about the best you're going to get.

No comments: