Monday 29 October 2007

Aberystwyth - Cambrian

Formerly known as The Commercial Hotel

Address: Alexandra Road, SY23 1LG. Tel: 01970 612446 [gmap]
Pubs Galore page

Facebook group
Ceredigion CC historical pub info page

Last APG visit: 04/03/2011
Background: Originally a comfy boozer back in ‘97, this place went for a full-on refurb and emerged blinking into the daylight as a binge drinkers paradise – an IKEA cocktail bar. Became massively popular and has remained an integral part of the circuit ever since, though it's starting to get rather tatty round the edges.

Student factor: 75% student. Some younger locals on a weekend, not that you’d notice.

Atmosphere: Veers from dead at 7:30pm to major crush at 8:30pm. Some evenings it will take you five minutes to get from one end of the bar to the other which is lethal if you’re desperate for a slash. Quieter outside of term-time.

Drinks range: Star Wars and University-themed cocktails, with their ingredients, are plastered all over the walls on slate discs; don't be a tool and ask for a menu at the bar. Cocktails are pretty much the only reason to go in. They’re not cheap, but they’ll do the job and they are big – most come in pint glasses. Biggest of them all is the Death Star – two pints of what looks like muddy water from the River Rheidol and one of those will be more than enough to get you bouncing off the walls. Service is normally pretty sharp, the staff in here earn their biscuits. Token real ale (Pride or Hancock's HB) not that it gets drunk much.

TV/Music: No TV, but ‘pumping’ music gets progressively loud during the evening, often ending up at unnecessarily ear-splitting levels after 9pm.

Other stuff: Pool table, which is permanently booked after 7pm. Food is served during the day, Sunday lunch is rumoured to be decent. Toilets often poor. Cambrian was the scene of the infamous hit-and-run egging incident of Halloween 2006 - hopefully the management have learnt to lock the side door on that particular night now.

Quinno’s verdict: Probably the best student bar in Aber. Notice I said ‘bar’, not ‘pub’; this a place for vertical binge drinking only. Don’t expect to make interesting conversation with the person on the next table (or indeed, opposite...). The interior and exterior are now getting pretty grubby, perhaps this is attempting to an invent a new cocktail genre.


Anonymous said...

First place I stayed in when I came for an Aber open day in 96. Arrived on the late train and the landlord cooked me up some grub and served me a few pints even though he knew I was underage. Got chatting to a few students at the bar and had pretty much decided that this was the place I wanted to move to by the end of the 3rd pint. Frequented it a lot in the 1st year and was distraught when it got refurbished and (in my opinion) ruined. Favourite Cocktail: Cambrian Sunrise. Favourite Cambrian News Headline: "2 bar stools stolen from Cambrian Hotel" (front page news none the less!)

Anonymous said...

Mike Fisher the landlord used to be my landlord as I lived just round the corner at the GlanAber. Loved this place and the numerous lock in's we had. We left in 1997 and were distraught when we came back and saw it refurbished. Mike came over and asked what we thought and I gave a big fake smile and said it was great as he seemed so chuffed with it but it was all I could do not to cry. Mike Fisher is a great landlord though!!

Anonymous said...

Just read the food comments that said it does an okay Sunday lunch- I think you need correcting. It does an awsome SUnday lunch- the biggest Yorkshires you've ever seen- 3 types of potatoes, meat cut from the joint and all prepared fresh by Paul who gets into work at an ungodly hour to cook it all. Moved away now but can't eat pub sunday lunches anymore- they just can't compare!!

Anonymous said...

Back in the early 80s when the licensing laws were very different - not only no such thing as all-day opening, but also Dyfed was "dry" on a Sunday with only hotels, members clubs and the Student Union bars open - the "Cambrian Monday" was the only all day drink in town. I think the licence was extended as something to do with Market Day and whilst being fairly spit and sawdust at the time, was a popular venue for the hard-core to start the week as they meant to go on!!

The man from Stanley Road said...

The most heartbreaking change to any Aber pub.

During my Aber years (94-97), the Cambrian was easily our most beloved watering hole. It was always popular with students, yet attracted plenty of locals too. The atmosphere was a wonderful, relaxed, cosy, easy-going one that was warm and welcoming, and yet a lively, fun place to go to. Many, many nights out in Aber had an early stop in the Cambrian and some nights we never left the Cambrian. It was absolutely a fantastic pub.

Imagine how heartbreaking it was to discover this place after it's 'revamp' - all open plan, loud, rowdy and, as the review says "a place for vertical binge drinking only". Whoever the unthinking person was who did this absolutely ripped the heart out of the Cambrian. It has none of its old charm now, absolutely none. Of course, any student now starting out in Aber would have no idea what a gem of a place this used to be and will probably find something to enjoy here, but all I can think of when I see it now is how a maddeningly short-sighted revamp has destroyed the Aber pub that I and so many others loved the most.

Anonymous said...

I visited this bar last year and had a drink named "Ace Rimmer" Could someone PLEASE tell me what the ingredients are in it?!?!?! I would would be ever so grateful.

Anonymous said...

What a pub.

Amazing staff.

Anonymous said...

In my Aber years (1992-1995) it was a marvellous place and they served an infamous drink here made with blackcurrant and something similar to (but even more dangerous than) cider - what WAS it called?

Retromummy said...

An Orbital - barley wine, cider, blackcurrant (optional) and a straw. Lethal!