Friday 8 February 2013

Fire Island, Cardiff

Fire Island, 25 Westgate Street, CF10 1DD

Open all day

Fire island opened shortly before Christmas in the two-storey red brick Victorian building on the corner of Westgate, Quay and Womanby Streets. The building had stood empty for about 5 years and was previously home to the Glamorgan Councils Staff Club for around 50 years, a club which had a good reputation for real ale despite its somewhat lively atmosphere and interesting clientèle. Have a look at Maciej's photos to see for yourself what the place used to be like.
There is a building on this site on Speed's map of 1610 when it was next to the river and by the nineteenth century the town slaughterhouse was on this site. In the latter part of the nineteenth century the cattle market that was sited opposite, where the multi-storey car park is today, moved to Canton and the slaughterhouse was demolished with the building we see today replacing it. Originally this building was the house of the town and later in 1905 city treasurer and the small barred windows on the Womanby Street side once held the strongroom.

Today Fire Island has two entrances, the original one on Westgate Street and a new one with a ramp on Womanby Street. The interior of the pub has been stripped back to the brickwork in a New York warehouse style of refurbishment that shows off the unusual vaulted ceiling in one part. However, some original features remain such as the sash windows, wood panelling and ornate ceiling design in the room facing the stadium. The central staircase, finely carved out of wood is also an original feature.

The large bar features 18 gleaming chrome handpumps in three sets, although not all are used except during busy periods. Chalkboards above the bar back show which beers are available together with tasting notes. The house beer is Beat Box, named after the company that runs Fire Island and this 4.8% American Pale Ale is brewed by Tiny Rebel Brewery of Newport. The rest of the cak ales change regularly but may come from breweries such as Dark Star, Buxton or Waen from Mid-Wales. All are served in handled tankards. There is an extensive bottled beer range with American imports such as Flying Dog, Brooklyn, Anchor and Sierra Nevada alongside Coopers and Little Creatures from Australia. There is also a local cider on handpump and in bottles. A free loyalty card gives money off the price of a pint and other offers that change monthly, all advertised in a free monthly magazine that the owners produce.

Fire Island features an eclectic mix of furniture with wooden tables and school-style chairs with one room even featuring a grand piano. Upstairs there is a another bar with more rooms running off from it.

Food is served all day, with an American-style menu featuring pulled pork and ribs alongside favourites such as a full English breakfast.

WiFi is to be installed soon.


arn said...

I'm actually in a middle of a draft post about a night out in cardiff which ended up in Fire island a couple of weeks ago, great place, great beer, we had a top time there.

you can get free wifi there if your signed up to 'the cloud', as i was busy uploading to untappd when there!

btw, been to zero degrees and had their 'stormin norman' the dunkelweizen? i really recommend it.

Brew Wales said...

Stormin' Norman will be reviewed in my Echo column tomorrow (Sat)


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