Monday 22 October 2007

Aberystwyth - Salt CLOSED

Formerly known as Central Park; The Central; Bar E; Bar Essential
Last APG visit: 20/05/2011

Background: This place has had more guises than Carlos the Jakal over the last 15 years. Salt is the latest - and best - incarnation so far. It's had a radical overhaul and looks damned good for it, with a slightly 'wine bar' feel; but don't let that put you off. So, over to APG Agent Toothbrush to describe the new look: "Think Animal surf shop in bar form. Think stones in circle on beach greeting card. Sky blue and brown interior. Tasteful. Chrome bar top. White trim. Pine 'driftwood' dividers. Skylight sacrificed for image, it just doesn't fit the new décor and the bar does appear to benefit by breaking with the flapper-era frappery that the light foisted on the place. Happily though, the lethal stairs remain. Beach pics on walls upstairs. Some nice marine-theme touches."

Student factor: A few, mainly from the more respectable end of the spectrum (there's a student discount card available, for a quid). This still retains the air of an upmarket locals pub outside of Friday and Saturday evenings.

Atmosphere: Nice and chilled, more open and airy than previous. Still not exactly busy, but then again, too busy would kill off a part of the ambience they're striving to create. You get the feeling the new owners are more than happy with the University rugby club getting plastered over the road in Varsity than in here. It's also trying to be a bit of a café-bar during the day - not quite sure they'll succeed seeing as Yr Hen Orsaf is so stupidly cheap but you never know.

Drinks range: Beer range - 3 Brains handpulls (Rev. James, Brains SA and a guest from the Brains range)  just one Brains ale last visit (Friday evening). They can do a lot better here on the range if they tried - this is the sort of place that could thrive on it. Prominent coffee machine at the right of the bar. Decent range of spirits. Prices not bad.

TV/Music: Relaxing muzak and MoR classics (expect Texas to get an airing).

Other stuff: A see-through floor in one part of the lower floor, with bits of flotsam and jetsam in. A huge picture of Aber-by-evening- plastered across the upstairs wall (see pic below) - nice touch. Comfy sofas upstairs. Fish menu and usual other foody fayre - food is reasonably priced, good tasting though portions are on the small side. No quizzer- too posh in here for that! The magnificent old skylight upstairs is no more, sadly - architectural vandalism? As mentioned above, the lethal stairs remain in place to keep Claims Direct in business. The first floor area can now be hired out for private functions.

Quinno’s verdict: There's plenty to like about it but it is underacheiving. Perhaps a place to take your partner for a relaxed date if you think the Orangery is just a little too upmarket or perhaps for a couple of quiet pints with a few mates.

And for posterity, here's the original 2007 review for Bar E below...
Background: Opposite the Varsity on the Terrace Road junction, this was a dark and shabby two-level joint 10 years back, haemorrhaging customers like Aber Town do goals. Had a makeover when taken over by Brains but has now slid back into shabbiness.
Student factor: Generally students during the week, the locals tend to avoid this place except on a Friday and Saturday, when they come out in big numbers.
Atmosphere: It can have an excellent atmosphere when busy, especially upstairs. Unfortunately that is a rare occurrence – this place can be half-full on a night where all the other pubs are rammed.
Drinks range: Not much to write home about, but enough to keep most people going for a round and the ale is of decent quality compared to nearby outlets. Used to be renowned for employing female staff who were too busy preening themselves in the reflection of the lager pumps to actually serve anyone, but seems a bit better now.
TV/Music: TV’s upstairs, but mainly relies on slightly dated pop music.
Other stuff: The stairs to the top floor are a health and safety hazard. Once there, you can see a very pretty a glass dome in the middle of the ceiling, which casts a nice glow during the summer. Upstairs also good for people-watching. Food is served, fairly good value and good quality. Quizzes on Monday’s and Saturday’s (apparently the one on Monday is 60 seconds behind the bar. Has anyone attempted to open the till and take all the money out yet?). Child-friendly, which is unusual for the town centre.
Quinno’s verdict: A good pub, but a pub that has never really had a unique selling point, which in Aber is a rarity - hence why it suffers. It tried being a poor mans Varsity for a while, then tried to be the Cambrian but without the cocktails. Has the potential to be a great pub, if the right landlord takes it on with financial backing from the brewery. For now it bumbles along in a pleasant but forgettable manner.

Old comments 5 comments:  

Anonymous said... is the amazing coffee table with glass lid and lots of sea related stuff inside it still there? Good place to have a quiet drink and read a book. Will check it out when next back in Aber
23 January 2008 08:43

Anonymous said... crap servcice. dis-interested staff who do not give a toss. food average but over priced if you get a meal at-all ! very slippery pebbled floor. nice deco tho
22 March 2008 10:18

Anonymous said... I miss the old Bar E! With snakebite £1.50 a pint on tuesdays, the Ski Club would usually spend most of the night in there before heading to Pier. Now the bar staff give you a pretentious little napkin with your drink and drinking games are out of the question! On the plus side though, The Mill has subsequently become one of our favourite haunts :)
13 June 2008 04:40

Anonymous said... There's a new guy running it now. He seems to be full of ideas and is really chatty, i think he's done a good job of turning the place around - it's much livelier now than it was 3 months ago!
15 February 2009 07:59

Anonymous said... New management. Very friendly bar staff now. Relaxed atmosphere and good for a quiet drink with a group of friends. Prices are quite fair and varied promotions
6 November 2009 05:40


Beer,Pub's&Footie man said...

This could really be a good Pub if they looked after there Beer better,as the Staff are chatty and friendly.Downstairs could cater for the drinkers by adding Bar stool's in the Day when it is quiet.

Claire Pritchard said...

You can get 2 cocktails for around £7 from a choice of about 8 cocktails, and undoubtedly the best chilli-nachos in Aber! That has to count for something! :)