When it comes to pubs the Campaign for Real Ale is pretty picky about what’s good and what isn’t, so the award of Cardiff pub of the year to The Lansdowne is quite an accolade.
The self-styled “new/old pub” on Lansdowne Road, Canton, has just reopened after renovations with an interesting take on the traditional boozer.
The main bar is simple and airy, with a plain wooden floor and a reasonable number of slightly scuffed and battered wooden chairs and tables.
Thankfully, unlike some genuinely old pubs, it doesn’t reek of the smell of stale beer. On the contrary it’s clean and bright, and the scruffy furniture adds a bit of authenticity, although that’s probably exactly what is intended.
As you would expect from a CAMRA pub of the year winner there is an abundance of good beer available, with five cask ales and a perry as well as Weiss beers and the standard commercial lagers.
Beers from Otley, Tiny Rebel and Wye Valley breweries were all being served and the superb Vienna red lager brewed by Pipes in Pontcanna was also on tap.
At £4.05 a pint the red lager was a little pricey, but if it means they don’t have to run tacky theme nights to keep the balance books in the black then it’s a price worth paying. No pub in the modern day is worth its salt without serving good food and The Lansdowne had that covered with a traditional range.
Wednesday night is curry night, Sunday afternoon is reserved for roasts and tonight (Friday) is the night for a barbecue, even if it is only February.
The Lansdowne is almost the perfect pub. Good beer, good food, simple décor and no TV as well as pickled eggs behind the bar mean it ticks almost all the boxes.
The only downside of note was when pop music started blaring out at 8pm. It had been the dream boozer until then, before someone went and spoiled it a little.
Still, if that’s the only complaint then it’s not bad. For a couple of quiet pints in a relaxing atmosphere where you can talk to your friends without shouting (or drink alone without having to listen to inane chart hits) The Lansdowne is the ideal choice.