I read some exciting news today. Scottish beer company Brew Dog are planning to open a bar in the centre of Cardiff. As a die-hard beer festival fan who loves nothing more than an afternoon of ale supping, this is welcome news to me.
First of all, I’m so happy to see this end of town getting some attention from new businesses and investors. This was my stomping ground as a teenager, and used to be the epicentre of Cardiff leisure and night life. These days, it’s still got one foot in the past; chain bars and tired restaurants like The Louis (I used to waitress there; the stories I could tell you… *shudder*) are still holding their ground, but recent openings like The Potted Pig, and Pie Minister, are starting to give St Mary Street a glimpse of the future it deserves.
My second reason for being excited about Brew Dog’s new venture in Cardiff, is that it points to the emergence of a Craft Beer quarter in Cardiff city centre. The trendy new Tiny Rebel bar, is based just around the corner from the proposed new Brew Dog venue, and is always busy. Just opposite, The City Arms is continuing its commitment to high quality, interesting and delicious ales and is regularly recognised by CAMRA for it’s authenticity. On Westgate Street, Zero Degrees is still quenching the thirsts of the millennium stadium match-day crowds with it’s range of beers made with no preservatives, no additives, no pasteurising, and no filtering. Finally, just outside the city centre, Pipes Brewery in Pontcanna are making waves with their living, non-chemically tampered beers which are produced in tiny batches at their artisan brewery. You can view a list of their stockists in Cardiff here.
In London, I’m constantly surrounded by micro-cultures and foodie trends which result in a sudden boom of relevant bars and restaurants – honestly, you can hardly move for gourmet burger restaurants at the moment. This is all very well and good for this trendy capital, but to see it in my home city of Cardiff – especially when it’s embracing something as close to my heart as good beer is – is really special.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off for a pint.
Update! Since this post is now four years old, these more recent ones may be of more interest: