Nostalgic guide to Aberystwyth pubs
"There are now only fifty pubs left in Aberystwyth!"
This is not a definitive guide (see end)! It's more of a memorial to boozers past. Most of the changes are dated relative to my student years (1989-92).
|Pub name||Previously (most recent first)||Comments|
|Y Cwps/Coopers Arms||Rumoured to have new posters :-)|
|Downies Vaults||Bars combined|
|Lord Beeching's||The Railway||Taken over by Tony from The Fountain and refurb'ed. Clever name, huh?|
|Vale of Rheidol||Refurb||The Mill||Cross Foxes||Minor remodelling, cellar bar|
|The Fountain||Lounge bar opened out and remodelled following fire|
|Rummers Wine Bar||Other than new toilets, the least changed bar in Aber?|
|The Castle||Refurb, new bar|
|Ship & Castle||Flannerys; Ship & Castle||Reports that it has reopened in original state. Currently covered in scaffolding.|
|Farmers Arms/TJ's Video Bar||Burnt down|
|Why Not||Club Yoko's; K2; Porkies; Skinners||(Nightclub)|
|Inn on the Pier|
|The Orangery||El Retro; Talbot Hotel||Refurb'ed twice|
|Belle Vue Hotel|
|Rumours (Belle Vue rear bar)||Closed?|
|The Bear Necessities||(Marine Hotel cellar) Closed|
|Bay Hotel||Dancefloor added and remodelled circa 1992. Cellar bar closed. All closed, 2009.|
|Glengower||First "modern" refurb|
|Seabank Hotel||Burnt down, replaced with residential use|
|Po Na Na||Boar's Head/Streets (rear club)||Closed, under demolition|
|Varsity||White Horse||Floors combined and extensively remodelled.|
|Salt||Bar Essential; Central Park; The Central||Extensively remodelled, similar to Varsity|
|Hen Llew Du/Old Black Lion|
|Cwrt Mawr bar|
|Penglais Student Union||Extensively remodelled and relocated internally|
|Arts Centre bar|
|The Academy(Top of Gt Darkgate St)||Formerly an abandoned chapel|
|Court Royale Hotel||Harleys; Court Royale/Jesters|
|Yr Hen Orsaf (The Old Station)||JD Wetherspoons, on converted part of the railway station|
|Pentre Jane Morgan bar||Student village. Closed.|
|The Plough||Converted into flats (was near Mill)|
(And sorry, but the Welsh Fudge Shop has closed down too.)
- Nice little seafront pub in my first year, then closed down for a long period and re-emerged as...a shitehole! With pages ripped from Q magazine on the walls to justify its claim to be the "Aber Rock Cafe!"
The Glen eventually proved the template for many of the other refurbishments that have often turned plain little boozers into cavernous student theme pubs, usually staffed and filled with trendy tossers. Meanwhile, the original "Rock Cafe" has declined in both fashion and decor, until it is now close to becoming a worthy option again, particularly during the day when it is very quiet and good for a beer with a sea view.
- Originally lounge and public bar, with "join in" folk evenings and fiercely competitive "winner stays on" pool table. The pool table's still there. Infamous for their yards of ale, a fun way (for spectators) to end any
lifenight. Back street location means most freshers can't find it twice.
- Used to have nice cool tiles in the toilets to lie your swimming head on, I (vaguely) recall. Specialised in "Orbitals" - a "cocktail" pint, now joined by a whole host of garish liquid combinations. Now like a barn conversion in reverse.
- White Horse
- Two great bars; downstairs public, upstairs like someone's front lounge with huge games room at rear. Lovely wallpaper.
- Locals boozer, completely unpretentious - in marked contrast to current form.
- Dingy dive, tables made out of beer barrels.
- Briefly extremely popular, with its movie star posters and American-style breakfasts. Went rapidly downhill both in customer numbers and appearance. Dodgy played here. And Doctor and the Medics, when at a similar stage in their own career.
- A real Sharon 'n' Tracy club, but also hosted RocSoc on occasion.
- The Bay
- Very few will now recall its original form as a genteel, and utterly dead, hotel bar ("Gin and tonic if y'please, Fawlty!"). Became popular on Sunday nights for a quiet drink and a usually empty pool table. Sudden growth in student popularity wrecked most of the furnishings so, following the recent example of the Glen, it was gutted and turned into a strange nightclub wannabe complete with throbbing dancefloor at rear for the podpeople, and a very good indie/rock club in the cellar.
- Bit of a dump but more tolerable than the Glen and good for outside drinking. Enjoyed a brief renaissance before the Big Plyn Fire.
- Good beer, large vodka selection, excellent jukebox and decent food. One of the first to try art nude pics in the lavs. Unknown if any of this still holds true since Tony left.
- Crystal Palace
- A "front room" type bar, complete with aquarium (and local girls who enjoyed cruel sport with callow freshers).
- TJ's Video Bar
- Unbelievably hideous - before its time, in other words. All hail the cleansing power of flame!
- Outside lavvies
- An alley round the back, the cool night air, perhaps a little rain on your face - these used to be standard features of a trip to the urinals in many pubs, notably the Mill, Castle & the Angel. Sadly all modernised into respectability, AFAIK.
- Least changed pubs
- Likely to be: Rummers; Cwps; Mill; Castle; Fountain; Weston Vaults.
How to modernise an Aber pub
- Throw out all existing tables and chairs. Don't buy new ones.
- Remove all internal walls (hope none of them essential to structure).
- Lay cheap wooden flooring, preferably second hand and pre-stained with vomit.
- Mythologise worthless staff ("Rob! Nick! Llinos! And Sue! They're all SO FUCKING GROOVY! (and much too busy preening to serve you)")
- Turn the music up to 11 and use a microphone to exhort everyone to dance on the tables like a Budweiser ad.
- Serve Budweiser.
- New: Aberystwyth Pub Guide in blog format; good reviews, more up to date.
- Aberystwyth pubs & clubs
- BBC guide to Aber pubs (with comments)
- Aber Pub 'n' Grub Guide (outdated but the reviews may bring back memories)
- AberInfo guide