Cottage, 25 St Mary Street, Cardiff, CF10 1AA
A deceptively small but decorative frontage leads to a surprisingly long pub with the entrance on the side via a corridor. The shape of the pub with its narrow frontage is due to the pub being built on the footings of a medieval burgage plot, as all of the east side of St Mary Street once was. There are a few other buildings nearby built on similar foundations, the Borough pub being a notable example. The present building called the Cottage was built in 1863 and was known as the Cardiff Cottage.
The entrance hallway is decorated with colourful Victorian tiles, varnished wooden floorboards and a photograph of St Mary Street in the nineteenth century is mounted on the wall.
The many mahogany-framed mirrors on the walls of the pub make the Cottage seem larger than it actually is, a pleasant deception that does not detract from the ambience this pub offers. Despite the small size of the pub, a number of different drinking areas exist. Customers can choose from the high tables and settles at the front of the pub, where the leaded glass windows allow you to watch the hustle and bustle of St Mary Street or the bar stools opposite the bar counter or more lounge-type seats and tables to the rear of the pub. The Cottage is decorated with old prints of local scenes and old stoneware jugs. There is an intricately carved gantry at the back of the bar with a Brain's clock at the centre of the wood, surrounded by old sherry jars on either side. The dark wood of the bar contrasts with inlaid sheets of brass. On some of the rear walls there are old bell pushes which were used for table service, unfortunately these are not working nowadays.
The beer range consists of Brain's Bitter, SA, SA Gold and Dark as you would expect in a City-centre pub owned by Brain's, however this is supplemented by a guest beer which can be from another brewery such as Shepherd Neame, Breconshire or Titanic. There is a range of of pumpclips on the bar gantry from various breweries that have been served here over the years. Gwynt Y Ddraig Welsh cider is also available in bottles.
Food is served from 12 to 9pm and the specialities such as Steak and Brain's Ale Pie and Celtic Pride burgers and Vegetarian options feature on the menu, as well as a chalkboard for house specialities such as the Welsh Cake Cheesecake. There is also a Welsh Cheese Slate on the menu, which consists of a selection of Welsh Cheeses, onion chutney, biscuits and bread, a perfect accompaniment to the hoppy flavours in a pint of SA Gold.
Free WiFi as well, as in most Brains pubs in Cardiff.