Friday 12 February 2010

Halfway, Pontcanna, Cardiff

From Drop Box

Halfway, 247 Cathedral Road, Pontcanna, Cardiff, CF11 9PP

The Halfway is an attractive two-story building on the corner of Cathedral Road and William Street. In the summer the outside features a colourful display of hanging baskets and over the corner entrance door looms the unmistakable trademark of the rampant Brains dragon, along with a copper-framed lantern. The Halfway has an interesting heraldic pub sign as well. The pub was built in the nineteenth century, as was much of this area and has been serving pints of Brains beer for over 120 years. The original brickwork of the pub has been refaced in modern times, resulting in the off-white fa├žade that is visible today. The pub used to have a sign outside showing a dog yelping after a case of Brains beer had been dropped on it's tail, with the caption “Brain's Honest Ale” above the unfortunate mutt. Say it out loud, it can still raise a laugh after almost 90 years. The pub name appears to drive from the fact that the Halfway is halfway between Llandaff and the City Centre or between the Cathedral and the Castle to be more accurate.

The interior of the Halfway features a wooden bar, gleaming brass handrails and is attractively decorated throughout, with a varnished wooden floor, mirrors and a choice of seating from traditional dark-wood chairs to modern leather settees. Despite the Victorian street-corner appearance to this pub there is a modern and well-designed look to the interior.

There is good choice of real ales available in the Halfway with Brains Bitter, Dark, SA, SA Gold and a regular changing guest beer all served from the gleaming brass handpumps. A recent guest beer was from Elgood's brewery in Cambridgshire.

The central island bar layout allows easy access to the various sections of the Halfway, with a skittle alley available for private hire to the side of the building.

Food is served all day until 9pm and there is an extensive chalkboard menu with a good range of deserts including a chocolate and raspberry clotted cream pudding.

To the rear of the Halfway is an enclosed courtyard, providing smokers with a pleasant place to indulge their pastime.

Plasma television screens showing sports programmes are in the bar, but the Halfway is large enough to allow customers to move to a different, quieter area if they so wish.

The Halfway is a deservedly popular Brains pub, a community local offering good beer and good food in a comfortable environment.

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