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  • Writer's pictureSi Everitt


Hope you've all had nice weekends,

In the final part of this war of attrition, we have the two final fixtures before trying to whittle the eleven winners down to one super Glamorgan 'must visit' pub for you all to add to your lists. Money back if you don't enjoy it, a BRAPA guarantee.

Fagin's Craft Beer House & Art Cafe (Glan-Y-Llyn) v Grange (Grangetown, Cardiff)

Up there with Stourbridge's Red House Boutique in terms of 'names which don't match the pub', this place smacks more of 'Fagin's Uncompromising Road Side Dosser' but what do I know? Canton's Chapter Arts Centre, now that does scream art, the only art going on here was a pissy one (artist). That's a compliment though, despite the horrid probably Covid-era covered entrance, a low roof, cheerful staff and a few serious drinkers make for a pleasant environment just north of Cardiff centre. Six pints into my 'accidental strong percentage beer day', I see Thornbridge Jaipur. "Oh not Jaipur at this time, I cannot believe it, when will strong beers leave me alone?" I rant to the non-plussed but polite barmaid, before talking myself into it. A man eating crisps keeps noisily sucking his fingers, he has a random pile of logs doing nothing behind him. Funny what you remember isn't it? A child looks guilty, and the rest of the punters look like retired Cardiff strikers from the 90's. But in spite of the challenges, I didn't dislike.

Daddy BRAPA arrives in town for this pre-match staging post on the Saturday lunchtime, a chunky basic unremarkable community boozer, which surprisingly never filled up with football goers despite the proximity to the stadium. Two main disappointments to report. All three ales where just standard bitters, nothing remotely pale, nothing remotely dark. Ended up on a chocolate crafty thing, big improvement. Everyone else on Madri. Two pints of cask and two bags of crisps costs £13.40, so shocked were we, Daddy B asks if we've been charged incorrectly, we haven't. £4.40 for my Jaipur in Fagin's for context. Just didn't feel like a clientele or location that could justify such a price. A second dartboard, just outside the gents, was the most popular feature. Took us a while to warm to this place, and 'time to improve' was a luxury that no other pub this holiday had, but we stayed for three, and Daddy B's late deep fried onion ring purchase was an inspired move, but had it done enough?

No it hadn't. Fagin's 2-1 Grange.

Our final fixture takes us uphill to the mean streets of Caerphilly .....

Malcolm Uphill (Caerphilly) v Fox & Hounds (Aberthin)

There are two types of Saturday morning 'Spoons. The chaotic sticky breakfast plate hellhole, and the quiet shuffling coffee refill / disabled loo loving tranquillity, and I'm glad to report that this was the latter, at least until just before I leave at 10:40am. Not the uphill struggle I feared (thanks!) No need to tread caerphilly (thanks!) Not much trust going on re my 50p Mudgie Vouchers as I'm forced to display my CAMRA credentials, which never happens. Proper serious scrutinise too. I wonder if Caerphilly is full of untrustworthy fakers? Carpet a majestic 9/10. And the Portobello APA was a punchy 5% for £2.

A mile outside weird Cowbridge, my only criticism of this super Welsh village bubbler was a reluctance on the part of the staff to want anything to do with me! This was BRAPA's 10th birthday, and the theme was 'cash only'. How do I know? A sign on every window and every door. And the main barmaid tells me too, like she seriously doubts I carry the stuff in 2024. The BRAPA Emergency Taxi Fund means I'm never without. I'm the only customer for my lengthy nursed pint and a half and I just don't get anything back from them .... even when the replacement card machine arrives right on cue, and because I feel invested in the narrative, I volunteer to stay for an extra half to be the guinea pig, but even that doesn't raise a smile. A succession of staff appear at the main bar, glance over, and through me, like I'm a solid ghost! Then the bus fails to show. A pub experience which could've been great, but was slightly tepid and frustrating.

Full time - Malcolm Uphill 1-2 Fox & Hounds

Boring Bit to a Conclusion Which You'll Skip if You Have Any Sense!

And then there were 11. Slightly too many for a quarter finals, too few for a last 16.

So we'll need to play three 2nd round fixtures and give the other 5 byes to the quarter finals:

Butterfly Collector, Barry 2-1 One Town Hall Square, Cowbridge (atmosphere the decisive factor here)

Fagin's, Glan-y-Llyn 2-3 Queen's Vaults, Cardiff (despite being very lively, too lively(?), the QV's superior pubbiness won the day here, not to mention dirt cheap prices!)

Whitcombe Inn, Aberdare 2-1 Gwaelod-y-Garth Inn, Cardiff (great staff both, good pint both, but Whitcombe's superior boozy backstreet local hubbub wins the day).

Then there were eight.

Quarter Finals

Queen's Vaults, Cardiff 1-3 Whitcombe Inn, Aberdare (both tired from their second round exploits, in a Coventry on Wednesday night kinda way hopefully, Whitcombe's superior strength in depth shows.

Red Lion, Penderyn 2-1 Barry West End Club, Barry (something about that location, roaring fire and rural Welsh outlook that just gets Red Lion over the line with a late winner).

Fox & Hounds, Aberthin 1-2 Head of Steam, Cardiff (shock win for HoS, but when I think how nice staff were late on and how good that Verdant Stout was, it did enough despite Aberthin's superior pubness).

Butterfly Collector, Barry 2-2 National Tap, Aberdare (Butterfly wins 2-1 on pens / dice roll). (Wot drama here in the micropub derby, Grey trees stout in both, superior in Aberdare, staff excellent in both, but Butterfly the cosier, warmer, vibrant space to enjoy a pint. Could've gone either way).

Semi Finals

Red Lion, Penderyn 2-2 Whitcombe Inn, Aberdare (Red Lion wins 4-1 on pens / dice roll). (Couldn't separate the sides, Whitcombe led early due to superior staff n punters, but Red Lion fought back as the Bass was better than the Butty Bach, and ultimately nicked it. Personally gutted for Whitcombe!)

Head of Steam, Cardiff 3-3 Butterfly Collector, Barry (Butterfly wins 6-4 on pens / dice roll). Both had great staff, HoS had better beer, Butterfly had a bit more hubbub and comfort, the dice has done well I think on balance!)


Red Lion, Penderyn 2-1 Butterfly Collector, Barry (a cagey scrappy affair, Butterfly led at half time due to ever so slightly more welcoming people, but the Red Lion fought back with better beer, and that magical ancient atmosphere nicked it at the end).

Bonus photos for you poor folk who suffered through that ....

See you tomorrow where we'll do a more sensible review of Buxton.


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Martin Taylor
Martin Taylor
Apr 21

Can you do the next one in a darts format please Si.

Si Everitt
Si Everitt
May 10
Replying to

Good thought! Am more a snooker man myself. But I could maybe make it work. Which pub is Luke Littler?

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