Wednesday 10 March 2010

Blue Anchor, East Aberthaw

The Blue Anchor is an historic pub on the coastal road from Barry to Llantwit Major with a useful bus stop outside. The pub is an unmistakable stone-built building and features a thatched roof. A fire destroyed the roof back in 2004 but the pub has been carefully and sympathetically restored by the family who own this Grade II* Listed Building.
The entrance doorway is on the side, with a sturdy blue-painted wooden door opening into a small wood-panelled lobby, made from wood salvaged from a ship that ran-aground on the nearby coast. The lobby is taken down in the summer months, to create more room in this pub. The lobby leads into the central bar with its gleaming brass beer engines offering real ales such as Wye Valley HPA, Theakston's Old Peculier, Brains Bitter and Wadworth 6X. An additional handpump is used for a guest beer, Tomos Watkin Cwrw Idris was a recent beer to feature on the bar. A range of bottled ciders and perries from Gwynt Y Ddraig are also available.
Above the bar hang glass and pewter tankards belonging to the regular customers of the Blue Anchor. Around the bar area black timber beams contrast with the grey Jurassic limestone stonework and there is a large fireplace, lit in winter, with a roaring coal fire. Tree trunks support the wooden beams above the bar and against one wall rests a high wooden settle, where the black varnish is wearing off on the handles due to the continued use of customers using it over the years. The flagstone floor is also wearing a bit thin in places, a testament to the age of the Blue Anchor, 1380 is the date traditionally associated with this inn. The name of the pub comes from the connection to the once busy port of East Aberthaw, once a thriving commercial centre, now overshadowed by the cement works.
A blocked-up lancet arch is in one wall of the bar, whilst a low-beamed doorway and separate spiral staircase lead off the other end. The low doorway leads through to another drinking/dining area and an upstairs restaurant. The Blue Anchor has been extended over the years and blocked-up doorways and windows which now look into other rooms of the pub all add to the charm of this ancient building. Towards the front of the building there is another couple of rooms, with the old walls acting as a divider.
Food is served from 12-2 and 6-8 Monday to Saturday and features an excellent range including locally shot pheasant and River Exe Mussels. There are also vegetarian and options for children on the menu as well as an upatairs restaurant open 7-9.30 Monday-Saturday.
The Blue Anchor is an award-winning freehouse and is recommended by CAMRA, the Which Pub Guide and Michelin Guide to name a few.

Blue Anchor, East Aberthaw, CF62 3DD, 01446 750329
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