Tuesday 2 October 2007

RIP – Aber pubs of the past

Thought that opening a pub in Aber was a guaranteed way to make money? Not all succeed…

(Please be aware that these are places that mainly existed before my time - please let me know of others that I may not have heard of and memories of venues that have now morphed into a new venue e.g. the White Horse into Varsity. Any picture submissions for this section in general would be hugely appreciated. Please email bluemondayuk@hotmail.com)

Yr Albion - High Street, Aberystwyth SY23 1JG
Ceredigion CC historical pub info page

The Albion used to be a pub/hotel up until around 1991-92. A man called Jimmy Wood used to run/own it, according to one of the comments below (thanks Ystwythgirl!). Any more info available out there?
The Bay/Y Bae - 35-37 Marine Terrace, SY23 2DX

No longer a pub and is being converted into flats after a long period of closure.
The Bear Necessities (Marine Hotel cellar) - Marine Terrace, SY23 2BX

Grubby dive, played host to live sets by Doctor and the Medics and Dodgy* amongst others. Occasionally spasmed back into life during the late 90’s but now more dormant than Roy Castle. Home of the legendary free pasta specials, run by Jock (now of Kanes) where he used to do free pasta as a promo on Monday evenings which must have cost him about 2-3p a portion - but succeeded for several weeks to get good crowds into the pub at six on a Monday spending good money at the bar (students will always pay for a freebie!). **
Bluebell - Terrace Road, SY23 2AQ
Ceredigion CC historical pub info page

Thanks to Jeremy for this one. The building that is now a small corner 'The Local' offy opposite Boots (older readers will remember it as the Threshers/Victoria Wine), used to be a pub called the Bluebell. It looks pretty awful currently. Being painted in May 2012 so might be coming back into use as something. Would be grateful for any further info... 
Boars Head; Streets; Po Na Na - Queens Road, SY23 2HT
Ceredigion CC historical pub info page

Now being turned into flats

Small gay-friendly ‘plub’ that got changed by some berk who had less business sense than Gonch from Grange Hill into a Po Na Na; full of fibreglass sand dunes which halved the already small capacity and which subsequently went bust within 12 months (around 2001). Stood idle, save for a short period in the summer of 2006 when a squatter-run community centre emerged under the name Palas Y Bobl. Situated behind the Glen, just down from the infamous cottaging glory-hole cottaging toilets, now also boarded up demolished!
Bottle Bar - 19 Bridge Street, SY23 1PZ
Sold only bottles of drink. Brilliant idea, back in the day when Hooch, Reef and Bacardi Breezers ruled the roost. Sadly way too small and had only three seats so no one ever hung around and subsequently the place often had no customers, barring the occasional pub crawl. Genius idea though, just badly executed. Now a hairdressers.
Farmers Arms/TJ's Video Bar - Great Darkgate Street, SY23 1DW
Burnt down. Apparently was the pub next door to the Angel. According to a chap here, the Farmers was adopted by bikers, some of whom came by bus all the way from Machynlleth. The Angel was the hippy pub.
Glue Pot/John James - 32 and 43 Terrace Road, SY23 2AE
Ceredigion CC historical pub info page

"So named because so many holiday makers were stuck there en route from the station to the beach. Only pub in Aber in the day that sold draught Bass." (see comments). Located where 24 hour Spar is now!
The Gunners - Mill Street Street, SY23

"Next to the Mill..." (see comments)

"hidden down a back alley basically the back of the court royale which used to be called harleys..." (See comments)
Kings Hall Terrace Road, SY23 2AP

Large hotel*** and later a gig venue. Led Zeppelin played there back in the day, as well as Marillion, Free and Slade (wouldn't get that now, eh?). Demolished in 1989. Now a low-quality restaurant carvery (update - the carvery has gone bust. It was quite shit though) and flats. (pic courtesy of Charlie Downes)
Orangery/Talbot Hotel, Brady's, El Retro - 10 Market Street, SY23 1DL

Now an Italian diner.
The Plough 13 Mill Street, SY23 1HZ
Near the Mill and subsequently converted into flats. Thanks to Aqualung for the following:

"I recently found an old CAMRA guide to South and Mid Wales from I would guess the early 1980s or late 1970s, I couldn't find any year on the publication.

It lists the Plough at 13, Mill Street as serving Cask Banks's Mild and Bitter, so it was almost certainly one of their pubs."
Rumours (Belle Vue rear bar) – Marine Terrace, SY23 2BA

“Dingy dive, tables made out of beer barrels*” Anyone have any info/stories on this place?
The Seabank - Marine Terrace, SY23 2BX

"The Seabank was the only seafront pub in 1990 (the Glen was closed and the Bay was just a hotel bar) and was arguably the most popular pub in the seafront summer of '92 (before the town pubs forced the council/police to stop the seafront pubs using the prom as one vast beer garden). There was a small outside area to the front on two levels with a door to the hotel lobby with a dreadful 70s style bar on the left and games room on the right (which was converted to student accommodation when the decline set in). Can’t remember where the toilets were but the seawall sufficed for many. With the ban on drinking on the prom and the Bay, Glen and Bear intercepting most punters before they could get to the Spermbank the pub went from hero to zero and closed." ** Alas the Seabank then disappeared completely (quite literally) after the Great Seafront Fire of 1998.
(pics courtesy of, top: Nick Barnes, Cardiff and beneath: www.aber.ac.uk) 
The Talbot
See here: http://aberpubs.blogspot.co.uk/2007/10/orangery.html
Victoria Inn - 14 Baker Street, SY23 2BJ
On the current site of Treehouse (the rather super organic shop and restaurant) once stood a pub 100-odd years back. Commemorated by a small plaque on the wall.
Defunct student bars

The Outback (Llanbadarn campus student bar) SY23 3AL

Comedy Australian theme (corrugated iron etc). Usually empty except on bar clearance nights, which were the best out of all the campus bars. Toothbrush and I got so ruined during the Xmas bar clearout in ’98 I actually lost the use of my legs for 15 minutes. Place got so mad that by 22:30 the staff started bring free drinks on trays over for punters. Heady days.

Pantycelyn student bar - Pantycelyn Hall, SY23 3BX
"Pantycelyn Bar closed around 1988ish, as it only had one fire exit, being the 'official reason'. It was said that the average grades in the hall rose the following years, from a 2;2, to a 2;1......got a chance to go there with one of the deputy wardens when I was at Panty in 2001 - it's a complete time warp, with posters from the 80s."****

PJM student barPJM Student Village, SY23 3TE

Soulless shithole (much like the rest of PJM really) full of third years getting depressed because they were in their final year. Never saw more than 10 people in it. Good riddance. Now appears to be a cleaners store.

Rosser student barRosser Halls, SY23 3LH

Dubbed the ‘airport waiting lounge’ this was basically a superior version of PJM bar and often had quite a few customers in, especially when the football was on. Legendary landlord Dave Willis (aka Nordic Viking/Walrus Willis) ran a tight ship. The only place in Aber to sell the long-forgotten Carling Premier, pour Dooley's and serve Hot Nuts. Also had a flirtation with Hancocks HB, but that was vile. Sunday quiz in 2005/6 (immaculately hosted by a David Baddiel impersonator) and pool table (complete with bar team) were always a winner with my friends. Never my cup of tea personally but I think it’s a genuine loss now it's gone.
(pic courtesy of www.aber.ac.uk) 
* Hat-tip - Big Bubbles (No Troubles) 
** Hat-tip - Former Aber student, Andrew Buckland 
*** Hat-tip - Jonathan 
**** Hat-tip - Anonymous!


Unknown said...

the kings hall used to be a huge hotel which also had a roller skating rink and dodgems (as told to me by grandparents) used to take up the room where the horrible shops and carvery are, plus the skaters steps and pavement area, huge place.

yes its true Led Zepp played there, they also played up on the castle.

it was demolished as it was deemed *unstable and unsafe* but when they cant to knock it down the girders holding it were so strong they had to bring in more wrecking balls and tnt(grandparents again!) it was then made into a carpark which i remember then around 10 years ago made into the flats and shops that stand there now.

Anonymous said...

Hi, there was the Albion (accross the road from the Shit and Hassle (Ship and Castle) on the corner. Its an OAP place now. It might even say the Albion on the side of it still (its thr big building on the corner)

Ive never seen it open as a pub, but i think it must have only been turned into granny flats as the pub crawl list we had at the start of term had it as a point-of-call.

I remember the look on the old peoples faces when near on 300 students tied together in a 5 legged pub-crawl tried to get into their flats. Class of a first weekend in aber

Anonymous said...

The Farmers Arms was a lively locals pub and an essential stop off on the weekend pub crawl which started in the Central and ended in the Ship.

Boars Head (aka Whores Bed as) was always a dive and always felt uncomfortable being so close to the cop shop opposite.

Kings Hall had a large amusements arcade downstairs (with dodgems) and the main hall had a fantastic sprung floor (so I'm told). This hosted roller discos in the later years. Believe the Stones played Aber too but not sure if this was the King's Hall.

Seabank (aka Spermbank) was usually full of OAPs.

Manon said...

Albion was definitely a pub/bar thingy in 1991 when I did my first Freshers pub crawl at Aber. Had a friend who stayed there for a while, so must have been a hotel too. Can't remember very much about the inside.

Btw, where's the Footie Club on this site? Or did I just miss it. Used to have "club" mights with exciting things like a dancefloor and a DJ. Memories include slapping locals for putting their filthy hands up my micro-mini (oh gawd, the 90s), drinking 5 Rusty Nails and not quite remembering my name for at least 45 minutes afterwards, and making Caroline do up my 'body' in the lavs (sorry Cara).

Anonymous said...

The Kings Hall was never a Hotel - just a concert venue etc.

The story about Led Zepplin was that Robert Plant, who was living near Talybont at the time, was not allowed in to a student concert in the Great Hall. To get his own back the next time a big band was booked for the University Led Zepp put on a free concert in the Kings Hall - don't know if that was true or just an urban myth

Phil Hollington

ystwythgirl said...

The Albion used to be a pub/hotel approx 30 years ago. A man called Jimmy Wood used to run/own it. He knew my grandparents very well as they were all licencees in Aber at the time. My grandparents ran the The Castle Hotel, The Black (Llanbadarn) and finished up in The White Lion, Talybont.

The Kings Hall was never a hotel, but prior to the construction of the Kings Hall there used to be a hotel on the site.

Hope this helps.

ystwythgirl said...

Met my husband in The Angel backroom. Now happily married with two kids. Hey, fond memories!

Anonymous said...

I was a student (in Plyn) from 83-86 and I am going back next weekend so was checking out your site.
I practically lived in the Boars. fantastic local, Dai Boars (RIP) and afterwards Pete, gave us plenty of lock-ins. 2 bars the Plyn bar (front) and the Ceri bar (back)with a restaurant that became the 21 club (21 pints had to be drunk in a session to become a member). It is criminal that it is empty, so many fantastic memories.

Anonymous said...

Po Na Na or the Whore's Bed or whatever, was for a short period in the summer of 2006 a squatter run commuinity centre under the name Palas Y Bobl. They had film nights and tat fests and were allied with the extremist group CIRCA, and hosted well attended free party on the last night before their eviction by the Tyranical moron who plans to turn it into executive flats (who bought the building while the lease of the bankrupted Pos chain was still valid, and so technically had no right to evict anyone anyway).

Anonymous said...

Pantycelyn Bar closed around 1988 ish, as it only had one fire exit, being the 'official reason'. It was said that the average grades in the hall rose the following years, from a 2;2, to a 2;1......
Got a chance to go there with one of the deputy wardens when i was at panty in 2001 - it's a complete time warp, with posters from the 80s. Its a good thing it wasnt open during my time there , or that great 2;2 i got would be a 3rd or a fail!

Ade said...

Boars Head was mid-demolition this weekend; the entire rear is now rubble.

(Also, the Castle was covered in scaffolding but didn't get close enough to see what was going on.)

carl said...

The Kings Hall was built on the site of THE WATERLOO HOTEL which was Aberystwyth's largest hotel before being destroyed by a fire and having to be pulled down!!! THE KINGS HALL SHOULD HAVE BEEN KEPT!!!!

Pete, Gloucester said...

Spent a lot of time in Rosser Bar with Dave Willis and the pool team, me and a mate kept Dooley's going throught the difficult first winter. Really enjoyed Brady's for the few months that it was open, pool tournaments on a Monday and lock-in every night, John & Mo were a great laugh.

Anonymous said...

Many others sadly no More. The pot of Glue was sited where the Spar is in Terrace road (Ffordd Y Mor).

The Gunners which was next to The Mill in Mill street.

The Windsor Castle which was in Northgate street.
There are others but I am too young to remember them.

Anonymous said...

John James - Glue Pot was so named because so many holiday makers were stuck there en route from the station to the beach. Only pub in Aber in the day that sold draught Bass.

Anonymous said...

hi aberpubs.blogspot.com-ers happy christmas to all of you - matt-mays

Aqualung said...

I recently found an old CAMRA guide to South and Mid Wales from I would guess the early 1980s or late 1970s, I couldn't find any year on the publication.

It lists the Plough at 13, Mill Street as serving Cask Banks's Mild and Bitter, so it was almost certainly one of their pubs.

I first visited Aber at Easter 1976when we believed we visited every draught outlet in the town, and most definitely covered all the Banks's ones. It means we must have included the Plough. I can't remember anything about it as our favourite was the Weston Vaults which was a great traditional two bar boozer. Strangely it isn't listed in this old guide.

Anonymous said...

I remember going to The Plough a handful of times in the early-to-mid eighties. Small place. One thing that sticks in my mind is its reputation for serving decent pasties. Very vague memory of an upholstered lounge-like interior but may be wrong. Recall it being several of my friends' favourite Aber pub at the time though. Must've been around the mid-eighties when it closed.

Anonymous said...

Cwrt Mawr bar closed down a few years back. If I recall correctly it was officially done to drive up union turnout, with the excuse that nobody used Cwrt Mawr bar anyway (Yeah you're not the only one to spot the problem there). For the record the bar was pretty popular right up till the end, and anecdotally it seemed like the year after it closed was the quietest the union has ever been, at least since I got here.

Anonymous said...

(I personally blamed the closure of the bar for the reduced union turnout. A lot of people used Cwrt Mawt as a stepping stone to the union, it even used to have a deals designed to funnel people into the union).

Anonymous said...

I saw Dodgy in the Bear: it was free although they were quite a big band at the time with 1 or 2 top 20 hits in the bag. We chatted to them for ages at the bar afterwards.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Cwrt Mawr from 1974 to 1977 and Cwrt Mawr Bar was on the doorstep. Always packed especially on a Sunday. In those days, Ceridigion was still a dry county so no pubs were open on Sundays (hard to imagine today eh) so the Union bars (3) were the only places to get a drink. Guild card was essential to get in though. Still remember building those towers with the plastic glasses and good old Albright Bitter at 18p per pint.

JJ, Aber said...

The Albion was already flats when I came to Uni in Sep. 1980 - definitely not still open in '91 as Manon said. Maybe she's thinking about the Ship & Castle on the opposite corner to it? (still going strong). The Bay isn't being converted into flats, it's being renovated as a Premier Inn, due to open late autumn 2016. Bluebell has reverted to council ownership, been done up, currently available for lease - has been a pop-up shop a few times since renovation. Flats development at Boars incorporates former car park & loo footprint. Kings Hall site - restaurant now Baravin, very popular pizza place / wine bar. Talbot - now Medina, a Mediterranean restaurant / shop.

Steve Hudson said...

Memories from 1979 when I did my first year:
Banks's pubs were our thing - Downies Vaults, Weston Vaults, Nags Head and Pier Hotel were basic boozers with good cheap beer. Talbot Hotel also Banks's but a bit less basic.

The Albert across the road from the Talbot (later the Court Royale I think) was run by a fat alcoholic racist so we swerved that usually.

The Unicorn was almost completely townie and student crawls used to miss is, but it was a decent pub all the same.

The highlight of our year back then was the end of year Milk Race - an all round test of fitness involving a high speed crawl round 18 pubs; pint in the first, pint in the last, halves in between, starting at 11am. The route as far as I can remember was Westons (nice pub), CP (run by Ronnie, sound feller), Whore's Bed (ok), Seabank (full of bedwetting lawyers), Marine (old people), Belle View (very old people), Pier (empty barn), Pier Hotel (nice pub), Downies (nice pub), Prince Albert (unpleasant),Tavern in the Town (characterless soul-vacuum), Farmers (ok), Angel (watch your manners), Ship & Castle (nice pub), Castle (nice pub, mayhem allowed/encouraged), Plough (strange place), Cambrian (good for a Monday all-dayer).

Record finishing time was 33 minutes. I did 40, and was third.

David Evans said...

You forgot jesters hidden down a back alley basically the back of the court royale which used to be called harleys. I remember the outback bar well when I attended college in 98 decent little boozer with the essential jukebox and pool table good for a lunchtime pint.

David Evans said...

Ha sounds like the good ol' days.. me and few mates used to do the alternative route on a Thursday starting at the castle , rummers, mill, lord beeching (99p treble vodka era) , Cambrian, vale, western vaults, Cwps (Cooper's) , crystal palace now scholars, central , white horse, Kane's, court royale downies then it was choice to go left towards angel or right towards pier if anyone was still standing 😆😆

Anonymous said...

The Boars Head was opposite the old police station when I went to uni between 1979 to 1982. It was the only place in Aber you could go for a lock in. Was frequently there until 3 or 4 in the morning. The police turned a blind eye providing the landlord slipped them a few drinks.

Anonymous said...

The Bear was run by Iain and not Jock. It introduced vodka jellos to Aber as well as Blastaways and alcoholic milkshakes. Had a brilliant video jukebox and happy hour every day.

The kings hall replaces a huge hotel which burned down, in the latter years it was mainly popular for the amusements in the basement.

Boars Head became streets night club early 90s. Always a good place for under age drinking.

Jonno said...

Am I correct in saying that the central has gone, but white horse still survives? Also national milk bar (best hangover breakfast) now a cocktail bar?

ralph said...

The central opposite the white horse called it a few other names before it became a coffee shop. Remember the bottle bank fondly, started pub crawls there at 5 pm most Saturdays unless we were down the bae watching 5/6 nations those nights I can't remember very well.