Saturday 10 April 2010

Capel, Gilfach Fargoed

Capel Hotel, Park Place, Gilfach Fargoed, CF81 8LW

On bus routes X38 (Pontypridd-Bargoed), 50 (Newport-Bargoed)

Also close to Gilfach Fargoed railway station on the Rhymney line, limited service though.

The Capel Hotel is a large, imposing roadside pub with floral displays outside in hanging baskets. The unmistakable pub sign features 5 hop cones, a clue as to the beer quality and variety to be found inside. The word 'Capel' is Welsh for 'chapel' but the pub was actually named after John Capel Hanbury, a local landowner. The family also gave their name to the abundance of pubs in South Wales with the name 'Hanbury Arms' in Caerleon, Pontypool and Aberbeeg (now demolished). The Capel was built by the Phillips Brewery of Newport in 1912 and is a good example of an Edwardian pub with many original features still intact. This may have something to do with the fact that the pub has been in the same family for almost 50 years. Phillips were taken over by Simonds of Reading, who were themselves swallowed up by Courage Brewery. Today the Capel is a tenanted pub, owned by a Pub Company.

The interior of the Capel features an impressive carved wooden bar with gleaming handpumps offering a choice of real ales including the Caerphilly-based brewery Newman's Red Stag bitter to guest ales from further afield such as Sharp's of Cornwall and Tring of Hertfordshire. Beers from Rhymney brewery also feature on the bar regularly and there is a choice of draught cider and perry from Gwynt Y Ddraig in Church Village. The interior also features a mixture of old, possibly original wood panelling and pumpclips from the various guest beers that the Capel has served to customers over the years. The ceiling is decorated with dried hops and the beams have quotations about drinking on them from people as varied as Benjamin Franklin to Oscar Wilde and Samuel Johnson supplies a quote on the outside of the pub.

The Capel also serves food with baguettes, Cornish pasties and chips available Monday-Friday 12-2, 6-8.30, Saturday 12-8 and Sunday 12-4.

The etched glass windows of the Capel are also worthy of a mention, with long-forgotten terms such as 'Jug & Bottle”, an old term for off premises sales, and the more intriguing “Commercial & Smoke Rooms”, which today would be illegal because of the smoking ban. The Capel still runs 'Jug and Bottle' off-sales, with customers able to purchase carry-out containers of their favourite ales or ciders. Other windows are home to a collection of annual CAMRA Good Beer Guide stickers and the Capel is a former Mid-Glamorgan CAMRA Pub of the Year. The Capel also runs an annual beer festival in May.

As well as the extensive bar area with a pool table, there are also a number of rooms off the main bar area, including the 'Singing Room' accessed via the bar, where the old pub piano used to play. Today it is used for more modern musical delights but it does offer attractive views to the rear of the pub, across the Rhymney Valley. Old cast-iron bar stools allow customers to sit at the bar or there is a plentiful choice of seating at one of the many tables that are available in this pub.

Conversation dominates in this Valleys' pub and it is popular with drinkers of all ages.
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1 comment:

Richard said...

That looks like a great place. I love the old stained glass windows. We have very few left round here (Blackburn) and even the ones that are left tend to be taken out to avoid them being smashed. :(


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