Thursday 25 October 2007

Aberystwyth - Glengower Hotel

Address: 3 Victoria Terrace, SY23 2DH. Tel 01970 626191 [gmap]
Pubs Galore page 
Last APG visit: 18/05/2012

Background: This, along with the Boars Head, Pier Pressure the Seabank and The Bay used to form a rather wonderful pre-Licensing Reform Act sweep of late-opening joints along the seafront. Alas, with the advent of late licensing, the owners bailed out of this place, reasoning that it was too far for the kids to walk when they could stay in Wetherspoons until midnight. So now it’s a huge wannabe foody lounge thing instead. 
Student factor: From hero to zero unless it’s a sunny day, when the limited outside seating gets popular with the locals, or Sundays when mum and dad are in town to buy their student sprog a square meal and venture in here because the view looks nice. 

Atmosphere: Again, not much these days – it’s just too big to sustain anything outside of Friday evenings. Also seems pretty cold, which doesn’t help. A far cry from the ‘Aber Rock Café’ of years past. In a previous visit I complained bitterly about filthy tables and falling masonry ("Perhaps the falling masonry is an ironic attempt to make the students feel at home and I've missed the joke...") - this appeared to have been largely rectified. Let's hope it stays that way. 

Drinks range: One area of massive improvement at least, with one or two relatively unique (for Aber) real ales on sale (get them to take the sparklers off the Southern ones first though) alongside Wye Valley HPA/Butty. There are also lots of whisky varieties (25+) and no more Hofmeister masquerading as Harp. Features in the Good Beer Guide 2010 - though I wouldn't recommend it particularly as a pubbing experience myself. 

TV/Music: There’s definitely music, sometimes horribly inappropriate (we ate Sunday lunch in here to sound of 50 Cent when it first re-opened). There’s also a big screen for the football, out back. 

Other stuff: Besides the view, there's pot plants and pool. Despite the wholesale refurb upstairs, the downstairs bogs are just the same as they were in the ‘plub’ days, which is hilarious, given the amount of times I saw people urinating (and in one case, defecating) into the sink. A former manager of this place a few years back had what I shall call a 'run-in' with the workers of a particular kebab house in the town and ended up through the front window of said establishment. More trivia - Elizabeth Taylor's grand daughter used to worked here back in the early 90's; to quote "she looked very similar to LT in the 1950s. She had stayed at Michael Jacksons mansion (being a girl I guess she was OK) in LA but still ended up working in the Glen (94/95). If I remember rightly she was a local not a student but can't remember her name. Was worth putting up with Dave just to be served by her." (Mr X, former UWA student and barman at the Bear in the early 90's). 

Quinno’s verdict: Can’t help thinking they threw away the Golden Goose. Maybe go here on a summer’s day (it’s the only ‘legal’ place to drink out on the seafront apparently, although that never stopped me). Sadly, I don’t really see the point of this place now - the Glen falls between two stools of not being posh enough for food but not studenty enough to be busy.


Anonymous said...

the Glen really was the first of the "modern" refurb'ed student theme bars in its Aber Rock Cafe incarnation, or at least marked the arrival in Aber of a trend that probably began 5-10 years before in the rest of the country. I went once to the original Glen Hotel
in my freshers week (1989) and liked it, after which it closed for a couple of years before reopening as the "rock cafe". I hated the place with a passion - and everyone I knew said they agreed despite somehow always ending up there on a night out - but have to admit that it was phenomenally successful. I believe the owner, who also owned a couple of other establishments in Aber including a restaurant, eventually overreached himself, hit a decline and succumbed to serious ill-health. Thereafter it was sold to a brewery and lost its cachet to the competition.

Anonymous said...

i graduated here in 05 and until the 04/05 acaemic year went there once and passed out in the toilet within ten mins, was home half hour later! in 04/05 a genius guitarist called dave ( used to do an acoustic set of requests - pretty much nay song by any band u wanted - sometimes there were 30 of us, sometimes 3! he always obliged -wed nights were amazing - he then DJ'd rco kmusic for either 5 or fifty people depending who was there! shame he left and shame they killed any atmosphere there! stayed there in late 07 and twas ok - but no more the crazy student bar of past

Anonymous said...

About 7years ago the glen used to be the best place in town to go any night of the week! GREAT FUN! I have many many fond memories. They used to hold Timeflies after parties down there on a sunday following the Sat night Flies up the Students Union. The Glen used to be awsome! there were some hot students there too!Bring back the old Glengower!!!!

Anonymous said...

The place to be around 2001 and 2002 with nights differentiated by whether it was 35p for a vodka or £1 for a treble. Absolutely rammed with talent, then they went for a makeover and lost it. Any pubs in Aber actually improve?

newcy said...

Dodgy, scruffy and notorious - this wasn't the Friday night or even the Saturday night pub of Aber's late '90s, but you still had to go in regularly.

Refurb was a bit bland when I saw it - just not the same old place anymore.