Thursday 20 October 2011

The Robin Hood, Pontcanna

Robin Hood, 16 Severn Grove, Pontcanna, Cardiff, CF11 9EN

The Robin Hood is situated on a quiet back-street in the leafy suburb of Pontcanna. This time of the year, the pub sign is almost hidden by a large tree and with the upper floor of the pub painted dark green, together with a large green canopy it almost seems that Sherwood Forest has moved to Cardiff! The pub was built in 1901 and a few years later expanded into the adjoining property. A tiled frontage was built when the properties were joined and that frontage exists today with  'Hancocks Ales & Stout' emblazoned across it, after the name of the local brewery that owned the pub. The pub is set back from the road and this small area has tables and chairs together with a large canopy that provides shade to the outside seating area as the summer sun slowly sets over the Western suburbs of the City. Unusually for Cardiff, the Robin Hood still retains a separate bar and lounge, with the bar on the right-hand side of the tiled fa├žade and the lounge on the left. The large windows in the lounge open up to allow customers to enjoy the weather in the summer.
Despite being over 100 years old, this pub has a contemporary feel to the place with wooden floorboards and a choice of seating in the bar, with traditional benches, lounge seats and bar stools in this lively section of the pub, where conversation dominates despite the flat-screen television and eclectic selection of piped music. Above the bar hang dimpled pint jugs, once popular with customers, although the straight pint glass is more likely to be used to serve drinks today in.
Behind the central bar servery is a the dark mahogany back-shelving or gantry which serves both the bar and lounge areas. A doorway to the rear of the bar leads to another section of the pub with more seating and this in turn leads to a surprisingly large rear garden with tables, a smoking shelter and even an area for playing boules. The pub is decorated throughout with pictures of Welsh sporting heroes, happy customers enjoying themselves at the pub and old photos of the surrounding area.
The lounge area is well-lit and features plenty of seating as it is mainly used by diners in the lunchtime and early evening. Food is served 12-3 and 7-9pm from a traditional pub menu together with chalkboards announcing the daily specials.
Two real ales are served from the wooden bars, Hancock's HB and Reverend James, both brewed in Cardiff by the local brewery with a penchant for advertising on railway bridges, SA Brain.
The Robin Hood also offers free WiFi and is a popular pub that appeals to everyone, from the lunchtime diner to the local customers just popping in for a pint and a chat, to the ever-popular karaoke singers during the night. 
A nice little pub that does does not stink of fish as a certain place nearby does.

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