Thursday, 5 May 2011

Golden Hart, Newport

Golden Hart, 38 Cardiff Road, Newport, NP20 2ED

Situated opposite Newport Central Police Station, once the site of Hancock's Brewery in Newport, the Golden Hart is a three-story building set in a Victorian terrace. There has been a pub on this site since 1872 but the present building dates from 1894 as the date and a Golden Hart appears in a niche on the front of the building. The pub was built on land owned by Lord Tredegar and the Morgans of Tredegar House had a stag or hart's head on their coat of arms. The pub was owned by local brewers Lloyd and Yorath, who sold out to Birmingham-based Ansells Brewery in 1951 but today the Golden Hart is a free house, despite the old Ansells sign on the front. The white-washed rough hewn stone-built upper stories of the pub contrast strongly with the black-painted woodwork surrounding the windows and doorway on the ground floor.
The Golden Hart is most likely the smallest pub in the City and the entrance doorway features two original etched glass panels with 'Bar' and an intricate pattern on them, rare survivors from the Victorian period. The cavernous interior stretches back to reveal a narrow but welcoming interior. To the right is a dark wood semicircular bar with tapering sides. Mounted on the bar are three gleaming handpumps, this being a true freehouse, the beer range varies and behind the bar, on the rear shelving or gantry as it is known are pumpclips from some of the breweries that have featured here in the past. Beers from Cairngorm Brewery of Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands have been on the bar, alongside Brains SA and Reverend James which are not seen too often in Newport. Recently the pub has become a rare and welcome outlet for beers from Wye Valley Brewery. Other rare drinks are draught perry and cider, made by award-winning Troggi Seidr in Shirenewton, Monmouthshire. The cidermaker is a retired pathologist from the nearby Royal Gwent Hospital, so expect the cider and perry to be full-bodied and bone-dry! The cider and perry are in containers behind the bar, served straight by gravity.  
Despite its small size, the Golden Hart has room for a dartboard at the front part of the pub and two fireplaces along the left-hand wall. Low leather-backed seating and gleaming copper topped tables also feature in this pub. Beaten copper table tops are also mounted on top of old whiskey barrels and provide extra space to put down a pint glass. The interior decoration of the pub has a traditional feel to the place with the collection of brassware, old books, old photographs, railway and rugby memorabilia having been accumulated over years rather than bought in one go from a salvage yard.
A recent addition to the pub is a doorway to the rear garden, creating a smoking solution and another rare feature in a City-Centre pub.
The Golden Hart only does meals on Sunday lunchtimes but freshly-made rolls are available at other times.

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