Friday 6 November 2009

Butcher's Arms, Llandaff

On my recent post regarding Smoke Rooms I forgot to mention the Butcher's Arms in Llandaff, Cardiff, which not only has a Smoke Room etched window but also an old Hancock's Brewery monogram on another window. Anyway here is a full write-up on the pub.

Butcher's Arms, 16 High Street, Llandaff, Cardiff, CF5 2DZ
The Butcher's is an unusual three-story building with a sharp, angular roof and the name of the former brewery, Hancock's who once owned the brewery, emblazoned high on the front wall. One of the windows also has a etched glass monogrammed logo of W and H, representing the William Hancock name. The other, smaller sash window has the letters 'Smoke Room' etched into it. The central doorway to the Butcher's leads into the Smoke Room and then through an archway into the main bar area. The bar is carved out of dark wood and there is an equally impressive bar back or gantry for serving spirits from.

Three real ales are served from gleaming brass handpumps, Bass, Hancock's HB and a guest which changes regularly and was recently Wye Valley HPA. The Smoke Room features settles and tables, which lead into the rear area of the pub with more seating and a roof light. At the very back of the Butcher's Arms is a very pleasant, partly covered beer garden, unusual for a Cardiff pub and a very well-kept secret.

The Smoke Room has attractively carved cornices and features numerous pumpclips from breweries whose beers have been served in this pub over the years. The walls of the pub are adorned with framed photos of rugby starts who have visited the Butcher's over the years, as well as with newspaper cuttings and even the more unusual 'Genealogy of the Earls of Llandaff', proudly hanging near the entrance. The tables are mainly of the old cast-iron tripod varieties, painted black, apart at their bases where the countless shoes of patrons have polished the metal over the years.

The Butcher's Arms does lunchtime food and there is a blackboard of often changing 'Specials' hanging up adjacent to the bar.

The Butcher's Arms has much of the atmosphere of a country pub, despite being in a suburb of Cardiff, albeit on a historic side-street, close to the Bishop's Palace and the Cathedral. Conversation dominates in the bar and other rooms of this pub, there is a television but it is only used for major sporting events and the piped music is kept at a low background level. There is a quiz night on Mondays. The pub is called the Butcher's Arms as the building was formerly a butcher's shop, together with a slaughterhouse at the rear. The building became a pub in 1880. Today the Butcher's offers good beer and good food in a comfortable atmosphere in one of the City's more pleasant areas.

Above: the interior of the Butcher's Arms, looking from the Smoke Room towards the bar

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