A slightly strange RIPub this time. All of our RIPub’s to date have been about pubs with some history that we’ve really liked. The Allensbank is a newer pub that we aren’t fussed on, so why mark it’s closing?
Two reasons, nostalgia and intrigue. The Allensbank was the first pub that Mogi and Gez drank at regularly- admittedly only for a relatively short period of time and only for the pub quiz on Sunday. This was before the crack down on underage drinking but your options when you were 16 or 17 were still limited if you wanted a quiet pint and the Allensbank weren’t as conscientious as other venues!
Back in those days, it still had a Charlie Chalk area for the children and it was never likely to threaten the Good Pub Guide, but we were 17, it had Strongbow on tap and was in walking distance, which at the time made it heaven. Those memories give it a special place in our hearts but the number of incarnations and renovations it went through was extraordinary.
One of Great Paul’s pleasures in life was to hide away in the Arches bar on a Sunday afternoon with a pint, the weekend newspapers and a few small cigars. This all came to an end in 2006 with the pub smoking ban leaving him standing outside in the rain and on the lookout for the closest exterior equivalent to the Arches bar interior experience. The raised decking and enclosed space with overhanging roof around the entrance to the Allensbank now the Grape and Olive was the perfect choice.
Paul arrived at the G&O in 2007 when the pub seemed to be going through an identity crisis, the Charlie Chalk children’s play area in the basement had been closed, quiz night was no more and along with the name change the pub interior looked more like the showroom at the nearby Maskrey’s furniture store. The emphasis was now obviously on fine dining, with the kitchen on show to the public through a glass window behind the main bar. Paul found this rather disconcerting as a customer and a little cruel to the poor chefs who seemed to have very little space to move around in but if the kitchen was now theatre and the food flying out expensive performance art then he never saw the same customers returning for an encore.
While Paul was more than happy to pay the extra for a pint sat outside on the decking to fuel his Sunday afternoon newspaper and cigar habit but not so much for the view… of the pub car park or indeed the pub surroundings that consisted of a household recycling centre, Cathays Cemetery, the University Hospital of Wales and the busy A48 duel carriageway – not exactly the hanging gardens of Babylon. After three winters sat outside at the G&O Paul was finally frozen out in more ways than one, the pub closed in 2016 and presumably the chefs released into the wild or Coyote Ugly. He have since given up smoking and stopped buying the newspapers but the good news is – we will always continue to drink beer.