CHEERS! FRIENDS VISIT EVERY PUB IN CAPITAL
And it’s taken eight years to do all 260
IT WAS an idea their wives came up with, but two friends can now proudly say they have visited every pub in Cardiff. Richard Carpenter and Douglas Friedli have made 260 visits to pubs all across the capital.
It has taken them eight years to complete their ambitious mission.
The idea started at Douglas’ wife Jo’s 40th birthday.
Richard said: “We were all together for that and we were talking about how many pubs there are in Wales and would it be possible to go to them all.
“Then my wife Danielle said ‘Why don’t you start with every pub in Cardiff’.” And the rest, they say is history. The first pub was Richard’s local, The Heath on September 1, 2009.
On the same day they went on to three others, The Gower (which has since closed), The Crwys and The Flora.
At that point, they had five categories by which they were judging the pubs.
Douglas, from Whitchurch, Cardiff, said: “We started off being quite strict and we had five criteria including atmosphere and quality of beer, but we always ended up with an average score of seven.
So they took to a different tack – Twitter.
Douglas has tweeted a summary and a score of each pub immediately afterwards.
None have scored 10 out of 10, but before it was dismantled The Vulcan in Adam Street, got the highest mark.
Of those surviving, Urban Taphouse in the city centre was one of the highest ranking.
They have tried to make monthly visits to the pubs, usually ticking off a few in a night.
They have had a drink in every pub they visited, but never a soft drink.
Favourites have included a good pint of SA in the City Arms or a craft beer.
But the whiskey-infused beer was their least favourite.
They joke that when they started their challenge, craft beer didn’t actually exist – so their tastes have got more extravagant as its gone on.
To get their master list, all stored on Douglas’ spreadsheet, they got a list of all premises licensed by Cardiff council, and discounted any where you had to be a member, or which weren’t publicly accessible.
Social clubs and anywhere you had to pay entry for were discounted, as were restaurants.
“There were some pubs we thought we weren’t going to enjoy that much but some of those turned out to be some of the best.”
In one, where they describe being the only ones wearing formal shoes, they were asked if they were the drugs squad, and in another Richard had his coat “acquired” by a regular.
When they went to the rebranded Yates’ on Greyfriars Road, they were sharing their pints with Eastenders characters Kat and Nigel.
But there was another problem, pubs kept opening and closing – so they had to make return visits.
They estimate that of the 260 they visited, 213 remain open.
Their last pub involved a speed boat ride to Flat Holm Island for a pint in the Gull and Leek.
It was a pub that was truly unique, and not just because they allowed their families along for the ride.
They loved the beer garden, which as Douglas said, is basically the whole island.
“It was a really nice, simple bar with pictures on the wall.
“It had a proper pub sign outside and a chatty bar man.
“It was a sunny day in October when we went and it was pretty much as close to perfect as you could get.” And what next? Well, as I left them, they were toying with the idea of heading to a gin bar.
Richard Carpenter and Douglas Friedli raise a pint to their pub mission
Richard Carpenter and Douglas Friedli at the last pub on their list