Small Bar opens in Cardiff
The well-known Bristol craft beer bar Small Bar (associated with Big Beer distribution) has opened in central Cardiff.
It is good news, even if the beer scene in South Wales seems a bit mixed at the moment. Waen have recently ceased brewing at their own premises and the future of Otley seems to be under review. On the other-hand Tiny Rebel are expanding.
The wider thought is that South Wales is a relatively low wage economy whose immediate future post-Brexit may not suggest immediate progress to the sunlit uplands. Craft beer by comparison is quite expensive and South Wales prices don’t differ a great deal from what I might pay in my favourite north-east London beard and beer bars.
The beer scene in central Cardiff has been transformed in the last 3 years. Before then it was essentially Brains or Wetherspoons. Now there is Tiny Rebel’s Urban Tap, the Gravity station just down the street, the Brains’ ‘freehouse’ the City Arms opposite and within a few minutes walk the Hop Bunker and the Cambrian Tap, a Brains’s craft bar. A little further out is the Crafty Devil shop and bar. Not forgetting of course Cardiff Brewdog and the very nearby Zero Degrees.
Small Bar is a couple of minutes walk from the Urban Tap (provided you know which way you are walking of course).
For those who know the Bristol bar it will seem familiar.
There is plenty of space over two floors (ground and first) and a range of seating styles. The wi-fi works and the toilets are fine (which reminds me, when *exactly* is the Euston Tap going to act on its promise to sort out the toilets).
There is a kitchen and a very decent and quite original food offering.
But of course you only went in because of the beer.
The beer board behind the bar is an admirable model of clarity for which I did not need my glasses or a torch.
The board lists the styles of beer on tap (as Bristol) their strength, the temperature they are kept at 4C for keg and 12C for cask, the measure they sold in- as in Bristol its halves and two-thirds not pints- and the price.
The prices seemed reasonable enough to me (but remember I pay London prices) though the fact there is more keg than cask might make it seem a little expensive to some.
To my mind it looks great, but then I’m conditioned by living more in Norf London than I do in Cardiff (usually).
The issues I might ponder is whether the pint drinking culture of Cardiff is ready for two-thirds measures without a pint option and whether in a cask drinking culture still (a good thing in my view) there is enough demand for keg.
We shall see, but Small Bar Cardiff deserves the break.