This summer, there’s an unusual new way to find city centre venues serving great wine – and help keep the tills ringing at some of our best-loved independent bars and restaurants.
Working with two of my creative pals, Will and Sam, I’ve launched the Cardiff Wine Passport: Summer Edition – a physical, keepsake booklet which costs £26, and entitles you to claim a ‘wine flight’ from six different bars and restaurants around the city centre.
I created it as a way to support and champion Cardiff’s brilliant independent hospitality businesses, who have all had such a rough ride over the last couple of years. Unlike the chain venues you’ll find in cities all over the UK, inide hospitality venues make our city centre a unique place to spend time, giving it a flavour and a personality you can’t find anywhere else.
How does the summer passport work?
The Cardiff Wine Passport: Summer Edition is your invitation to spend eight weeks swapping passport stamps for glasses of wine at six city-centre venues of your choice (there are 12 to choose from):
- Bacareto: A relaxed and informal café bar, inspired by the small bàcari of Venice.
- Bar 44: A lively tapas bar in the heart of the city, serving classic and seasonal small plates.
- Daffodil: A modern gastro pub, serving quality seasonal food with a focus on local Welsh produce.
- Scaredy Cats: A casual café-bar in the heart of Cardiff offering board games to play whilst you dine and drink.
- Vermut: A cosy hole-in-the-wall bar which specialises in the sale of Sherry, Vermouth, and wines from Montilla-Moriles.
- Asador 44: A restaurant serving impeccable ingredients cooked over an authentic Spanish grill.
- Kindle: A sustainability focussed, outdoor-only restaurant serving natural wines and food cooked over fire.
- Curado Bar: A Spanish deli bar in Westgate street serving beer, wine and pintxos – traditional to bars in northern Spain.
- Nighthawks: A quirky wine bar opposite Cardiff castle has gained a cult following for its incredible grilled cheese sandwiches.
And the brand-new venues joining the summer edition are:
- Parallel: This small-plates dining bar is the sister restaurant to the ever-popularPasture, situated next-door.
- Lab 22: This award-winning and eclectically styled cocktail bar is a favourite with late-night crowds.
- The Dead Canary: For the first time ever, this hidden speakeasy on Barrack Lane will offer two wine-based cocktails as part of the Cardiff Wine Passport.
As with previous editions, the summer passport will offer a choice of two different wines at each venue (except The Dead Canary who will offer a choice of two wine cocktails); for an extra cost, passport holders can also add a suggested food pairing designed to perfectly match their glass of wine with a seasonal small plate or bar snack.
This year, the wines on offer include a wide selection of whites and reds, and for the first time, a couple of orange wines – orange wine is made by leaving the grape skins and seeds in contact with the juice, creating a deep orange-hued finished product for the perfect summer sip. You can find out more on the Cardiff Wine Passport website.
Is food included in the passport?
The passport will offer a choice of two different wines at each venue, but for an extra cost, you can add a suggested food pairing – matching your glass of wine with a seasonal small plate or bar snack. I had the tough job of sampling them all, and would highly recommend you make time to try a few – it’s like a personal tapas tour of the city in your pocket!
Top Wine Passport Tips
Each venue has allocated a specific number of glasses to offer as part of the passport scheme; therefore, I’d recommend visiting your top picks first, as places will eventually ‘sell out’ of their pre-allocated glasses!
But if a venue has ‘sold out’ or is too busy at the time of your visit, don’t panic – just pop along to the next one on your list – the aim of the passport is to help you to discover new venues – and wines – you might not have considered before.
Valid from the 6th August for eight weeks (from Sunday to Thursday), the independent hospitality businesses signed up to the Cardiff Wine Passport scheme are among some of my absolute favourite places to eat and drink in the city.
Becca Thomas from Bacareto, a Venetian wine bar and restaurant on Church Street, captured everything I hoped the passport would be when she said:
“A very special part of Venetian culture is the ‘Bacaro Tour’, the custom of hopping from one bar to another, enjoying a drink and a bite to eat at each. We hope the passport will mean that Cardiff can enjoy a little bit of this tradition – and people can discover some new favourite haunts along the way!”
Exclusive discount code
If it continues to be popular, it’s my hope that the Cardiff Wine Passport will grow to become an annual fixture in Cardiff’s calendar. With a limited availability of only 900 passports this summer, you can grab yours at cardiffwinepassport.co.uk and use code HUNGRY5 for a 5% discount, especially for readers of the blog.
Finally – I have of course, designed this passport with sustainability in mind; the intention was for it to be something you would want to keep. But if not, it’s made from 100% recycled paper, and are 100% recyclable in your green bin.
The creation of the Cardiff Wine Passport has been supported by For Cardiff’s City Ambition Fund, which was set up to help support external projects which contribute to the future of the city.