I am thinking of leasing the Vaynol arms in Nant peris . How much business could I create there ? It’s possible that this pub could be closed down . So historical value also included .
If you can provide simple but good, hearty food and a couple of well-kept ales, (by which I mean better than recent years, on both fronts) you'll have my undying gratitude, as well as my custom whenever I'm in the area. Very best of luck, please keep us posted
+1 decent beer and basic food! Not sure that makes enough money but attracting a climbing/outdoor client base would be great! Good luck!
It's always been a) utter crap and b) rammed when I've been. I reckon if you do a decent job, you could do well..
Crap in what way ? Apart from Robinsons, I've always thought the place was OK. For drinks, at least, not eaten there for a few years.
Lukewarm indifferent food, bland beer, noisy, surly staff.
Leasing it from Robinsons? Well I'd concentrate on food then as their beer is grim and that's all you'll be able to sell presumably?
I’m pretty sure Robinsons now own Jennings which may be available on request. It is good beer.
Most of us only see places like The Vaynol on Fridays and Saturdays; I wonder what the trade would be like to keep it ticking over midweek?
Maybe they allow for a guest pump too (isn't this the law now?). I used to live by the Robinsons brewery and it's a great building with a mix of fancy modern automated brewing and traditional open square fermentors. Their beer taste fowl even in the bar there tho. It's a case of getting the minimum viable product out to their hundreds of pubs. I'd honestly not lease the vaynol without having a solution to having to sell only their beer (and whatever contract they enforce for the keg lines).
It has a big underused dining room and a large kitchen. It may be a goer if you are/get a good chef. Build a reputation as a gastro pub. That is where the money is rather than selling beer as a tied house
I've been quite a few times off and on since since the '80s; last time about 7yrs ago. It'd be my last stop before heading to the porch of the car park lavatories just up valley for a dry bivy. Don't knock it - it's a good spot!
Anyhow, what I yearned for was good food, good beer, a decent coffee to finish with, friendly bar staff - I was always disappointed.
So my recommendation would be just that: good food, good beer, good coffee, friendly staff. And a distinctly family-friendly vibe if you want to keep it busy during lunchtimes.
Other revenue streams? Bunk house, perhaps? Showers? Cheap car parking - free for patrons of course? Campsite with lockers for kit when out on hills?
May I suggest that you watch the Tom Kerridge programme https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000pb9g
Personally I would never ever take on a pub, however if I did that business model would probably not, no definitely would not revolve it around climbers. There was a series of programs about running restaurants by a bloke, possibly he owns the Ivy, but anyway he was very very good at running restaurants and what was clear was that it was all facts and figures. How many people could you fit in, how much could you charge them and and could the position generate that footfall. If these sums did not add up, forget it.
Google Pubco and Private Eye.
What do you mean "historical value".
Value to who.
If it is a tied house to Robinson's, good luck.
They are a skilled brewer. Man has been brewi g beer for millenia, yet they manage to make it unpalatable, that takes some talent.
Outside of the beer. The pub is very much "captive audience" it will always be busy in peak season and do fairly well outside given its location, the campsite over the road, the climbing hut next door, its reputation as a climbing pub. Dependent on the terms of the lease, which may be pricy due to the above, you maynot need to do much. In a captive audience environment, if you upset someone there is a queue of people to take their place.
The last 2 times I have been in there, I have left half of my beer and gone back to Ynys for a less toxic brew and more comfortable surroundings.
If you take it on and manage to do something about the beer, please let the world know. I am not alone in my thoughts.
> I’m pretty sure Robinsons now own Jennings which may be available on request. It is good beer.
Jennings are owned by Marstons, not Robinsons (fortunately).
Marston's bought Jennings in 2005. They're now merging with Carlsberg. No connection with Robinsons that I can see, other than both have somehow survived despite making terrible beer.
Didn't Robinsons buy Hartleys? Is that where the confusion may have arisen?
I've always like the Vaynol, even the Robinsons, but not been there for a few years. I think trade is hugely dependent on walkers and the bunkhouse & campsites in the vicinity. I would say people want good hearty food (and good beer obviously) plus tes & coffee. I don't see Gastro pub making it there (too many outdoor types and not enough upmarket clientele) I've seen too many pubs die a death through turning themselves itot posh (read cold and clinical) restaurants. But if you do your market research you will get a better idea.
Some of these replies are really miserable. The Vaynol in Nant Peris is a perfectly functional pub popular with locals, and plenty of visitors in normal time, including a campsite almost opposite and a good position for passing trade. I can't remember the last year I hadn't visited it at least a few times. In my early days there it could be a bit unfriendly (welsh english tensions) and the beer was more variable. Robinsons is far from my favourite beer but the idea it is unpalatable is ridiculous. People are amazingly lucky these days with beer. In my youth tied houses and lazy landlords meant good beer was something you had to find, these days its the norm. Food is OK but they struggle a bit at times when busy and it can obviously be rammed at weekends. The BMC local area sometimes use it for meetings midweek. Its simply not a place to be avoided.
Nant Peris is at the heart of one of the most iconic climbing and walking locations in the entire frigging world, if it can't sustain a good pub I'll eat my hat! As someone said, back in the 80s (maybe) it used to serve good comfort food, and was invariably packed at weekends, including the large side room which I haven't seen being used for ages now. Good food, good beer and cheerful staff and it's got to be a winner (By the way, my daughter needs a job after graduating next summer, she's bilingual Welsh and also French and German and has worked in hospitality in her gap year and vacations...)
One thing: have some decent veggie and even vegan dishes. It only takes one vegetarian in a party to veto a venue because there are no options and you've lost the whole party.
long time since I've been in the Vaynol but always felt it was a pub you went to becuase of where it was rather than what it was, especially if camping & without a car.
I've never been in, I could never work out how to open the front door!😀
Where to start? The Vaynol only makes money on the weekends and the busy months of July/August, plus the obvious holidays at New Year, Easter and Whit break. Midweek the place is often empty, although there used to be a Quiz night on Tuesdays, and a Jazz evening on Mondays?
As many have alluded to, Robinson's beer is OK in Stockport but unfortunately doesn't travel well. All food is dependent on the chef and how the kitchen is run. After Emlyn Bayliss left sometime in the 90's the pub was run by a couple (Richard & ?). He was a very good professional chef and the food was excellent but perhaps to fussy for a climber's pub. The beer was terrible. Anne Cumburton took over and ran a good pub, getting the brewery to spend considerable monies updating the premises. The living quarters were were run down. After Anne left John has struggled for a number of reasons. The kitchen was run by Lynn & Aled. He left to run the kitchens at Bangor U. Getting staff to work behind the bar is not easy, especially as young people don't always have transport
Whilst Nant Peris does have 2 campsites & something approaching 11 huts in the vicinity, the winter has fewer campers and people in huts are less inclined to wander down to the pub on dark wet evenings.
But perhaps the biggest problem is the brewery. There is virtually no profit when selling beer. The brewery takes all. So the only profit for any manager is from food. If it hadn't been for the pubs desirous location and attracting climbers and walkers, it would have closed years ago.
Incidentally the only occasions when the pub is rammed outside weekends is for funerals at the nearby church, (I have seen hundreds attend) and local Sheep Dog Trials and the annual village Fete.
When Robinsons first purchased the pub the owner spotted it when on holiday, and told his accountant to get it sorted. Unfortunately there was a mix-up and he bought the Vaynol Arms in Pentir! So both Vaynol Arms became Robinson pubs!
Not an easy problem to resolve. Of course it is also next to the MR base.
I’d want to speak to the people who ran it, what worked and what didn’t.
Then I’d want to spend time nearby counting footfall in different seasons, days and times. Get the locals onboard pub theme nights, sponsor and host local clubs, small general store...
Then you need to think about what you want to offer stack it high sell it cheap and hope! Or a fancier and more expensive product.
If there is space can you diversify functions, weddings, office desk space...
Is there a market for breakfasts and good coffee? Could you provide accommodation and/or good lunches for outdoors people?
A really solid core product and finding additional income streams, i think are key.
What a great location! Good luck!
Have you run a pub before?
There are far more failures than successes, particularly so in first timers.
The summary numbers are interesting: https://www.robinsonsbrewery.com/run-a-pub/pub-vacancies/vaynol-arms-nant-peris.
Being tied, most of the beer value goes to the brewery (£75 per barrel discount to you isn't much on 40 barrels a year). It's only doing 40% of the FMT volume...and that's not Covid because you see prior years even worse.
The food value is surprisingly low. Beware climbers telling you they want good basic food. They want cheap, and cheap isn't what brings food margins,
Looks like a place that does ok on Friday and Saturday in summer months only. Limited passing trade, tiny local community, deprived area, and most weekend visitors are camping-tier spenders.
Finally, if you do have a magic wand and make it a stunning success; the brewery will make rapacious changes to terms for renewal - i.e. you're building their business, not yours.
> Some of these replies are really miserable. The Vaynol in Nant Peris is a perfectly functional pub
The last time I went in was in February 2019 when staying in the Ceunant hut next door. On the Friday evening 2 of our party ate there, one ordered "Homemade Meat and Potato Pie" and sent it back because there literally wasn't a single piece of meat in it. On the Saturday evening they had no beer except for bottles.
It was the weekend of Wales v England in the 6 Nations and after getting rained off the crag, my climbing partner and I watched the game in the Vic in Llanberis which often gets a bad rep. The atmosphere was brilliant, the beer was good (Purple Moose iirc) and they put on a load of free food at half time.As one of only handful of Englishmen, I came in for a bit of very good natured stick when Wales turned the game round in the 2nd half and won.
> Google Pubco and Private Eye.
This x 10.
It will depend on the exact contract but many pub leases are just cashcows for the landlords and moneypits for one hopeful tenant after another. Do well and improve it and instead of reaping the benefits the rent increases accordingly.
And there are plenty of climbers/walkers who will spend good money on the right food/beer combination.
Pitching a propostion at in effect climbers with no money is not really a sensible business. Might have been in the 80's but is yesterdays news.
Go upmarket is the answer.
Tom Kerridge's programme--- excellent. His point about making sure there is footfall through the pub most of the time is simple. Banging up prices because people will pay is simple.
Interesting responses, thank you . We have run many pubs / hotels/ restaurants in the past and always been successful. The problem with the Vaynol is the location. It’s a great area but footfall is limited off season , so would need other income streams . We shall ponder it further .
How would you make money in Nant Peris through the winters?
> Didn't Robinsons buy Hartleys? Is that where the confusion may have arisen?
Yes. Robinsons bought it, closed it, and moved production of 'Hartleys' to the Robinsons plant.
Maybe ask the Wasdale Head and the ODG how they get through the winters?
Good basic food and dog friendly and you'll have my business.
> How would you make money in Nant Peris through the winters?
Cafes/bars around the llanberis area that offer good food during the day and evening with reduced opening (weekend and a couple of weekdays) during the winter seem to do okay, so it could work.
I’m really fond of the Vaynol, first visit around 1980, more latterly I rented a house in Nant Peris as a base for climbing. It’s not the best beer in the world, but anyone who can remember when only ‘Welsh Bitter’ was available around there, but not on Sundays would say it’s not too bad! It’s always been a bit unloved and underachieves given its location.
I think before you take it on, it would be wise to talk to the campsite, bunk houses etc owners to see if it would be possible to work together to improve facilities generally, and make the whole Nant Peris experience a more attractive proposition. The Vaynol could be the centre of something profitable, and attractive to a wide range of visitors. I think it’s a shame, the current occupants are nice people and were very forgiving to my dog when he wandered into the kitchens and helped himself to pretty well everything 😆🐕
Good point! Less competition in Langdale though but yes I missed something obvious!
> Maybe ask the Wasdale Head and the ODG how they get through the winters?
I'd say that they have the advantage of being valley head locations, natural start/finish points for walkers etc. Get back down off the hill and go to the pub before getting in your car.
Vaynol possibly misses a lot of trade due to its roadside location.
> Yes. Robinsons bought it, closed it, and moved production of 'Hartleys' to the Robinsons plant.
Paul Theakston bought a lot of the brewing equipment from the Hartleys Brewery in Ulverston, when he set up Black Sheep.
That is the question; we would have to be very enterprising in the week, weekends would still be ok-ish I think.
I quite liked it when Anne had it, decent country boozer. It went massively downhill when it changed hands.
> As many have alluded to, Robinson's beer is OK in Stockport but unfortunately doesn't travel well.
We used to say it didn't travel well from the pump to the glass
Years ago there was an advert that said something like "Double Diamond, the best beer in a can".
Problem was, as soon as it came out of the can it was shite beer 😁
I presume it was shite whilst in the can as well but of course there was no way to test that.
The young will never understand the horror that was british beer in the late 70s. Watney's was my local massively over marketed fizzy swill. In Nottingham in the 80s CAMRA were actually defending Home and Shipstones...wth their below average beers that didn't even 'travel well' in Nottingham and tied bouses under some highly restrictive practices (I think it was Home who forced tenants to pay for pumps for guest beer and rent part of the bar). Changing a bad pint was often a socially painful experience. I left CAMRA in disgust and later celebrated as new micro-breweries filled part of the gap, Castle Rock leading the way. I'd say the best beer was up with the best in the world prior to lockdown. In Yorkshire in the 80s, the self proclaimed home of beer, John Smiths and Tetley's, the two most common, were at best OK but could often be poor. I usually found solace in searching out Taylors Landlord but these days there are many excellent alternatives.
I don't drink bad beer, the Robinsons in the Vaynol is normally OK and the one bad pint I had there from hundreds was changed without complaint. Way too many pubs don't clean the system nor keep the beer properly which makes beer bad. That's often an excuse for 'not traveling well'. Would I rather drink Purple Moose?.. sure... its why my first preference is for Plas y Brenin bar these days.
Double Diamond works wonders, works wonders, works wonders,
Double Diamond works wonders for scouring your guts.
I cant say I totally understand the pub industry and the contractual elements but, system cleaning aside, I cant understand why poor beer is tolerated nowadays.
The choice is endless with new options cropping up all over the place. Ignoring the smaller breweries who might be sporadic with supply, Brewdog, Thornbridge and Beavertown (recently acquired) all sell excellent beer. Even my brother, a lifelong lager drinker, is seeing the light. That said, there are some great lagers around now.
Back to the OP. I dont know the pub in question but the ones I make return visits too fall under two food categories. Bith uniformly sell good beer, well kept, make me feel welcome in a clean and pleasantenvironment, has a place to sit with the dog, ideally a fire. The first place is unfussy, picks a style or product such as specilising in good pizzas or pies and doesn't try too hard. Just does its simply selection exceptionally well. The second will be slightly posher, good menu and wine choice and reassuringly expensive. Neither have music or tolerate wankers.
> We used to say it didn't travel well from the pump to the glass
Back when I was doing the Roaches guide, I bought a barrel of Unicorn from the brewery (it was all I could get at short notice at the time) for the launch party and hauled it up to the Whillans hut. I was amazed at how good it was. At least back then there was nothing wrong with it when left the brewery and it survived being dragged up to the hut pretty well.
Currently, I have my beer delivered from the Wincle brewery, so lock-down is bearable so far.
> We used to say it didn't travel well from the pump to the glass
Such was always an excuse for badly kept beer and dirty pipes.
That was an excellent and civilised guidebook launch. Froggatt was more debauched as we drank the pub out of the weaker draught beers and we were left with the lethal Thornbridge Jaipur.
Some of our local microbreweries are doing well with take out trade. The excellent Black Iris in particular just down the road from the Nottingham Climbing Centre.
Past experience tells me that we disagree on a number of things, add Robinson's beer to the list.
Anything that looks good coming out of the pump, looks good when handed over but by the time you reach your table, the head has curdled and it has the vague aroma of a bull terrier with food poisoning is far from good.
All the best
Robinson's "Best" Bitter - so "good" you'd hate to think what their worst was like.
In all seriousness I've never been in there and always thought it looked like a classic unwelcoming local's pub from the outside - maybe that could be worked on to make it clear that climbers and walkers were welcome? Should be tons of potential business there if you do, though I'd imagine quiet in winter?
You do seem to enjoy silly exaggerating, fine for comedic effect but in reality it contrasts to all the many people who drink and enjoy Robinsons when its kept well. Guidebook launches have beer for a reason and those beer fans said that Unicorn in the Whillans hut was nice. I've never met anyone who said anything from Robinsons is their favourite beer but not everything can be the acme and plenty below dizzy heights is worthwhile... My old local Home ale could be OK, my problem with CAMRA supporting the brewery was their tied practices were up with the scummiest around.
> Interesting responses, thank you . We have run many pubs / hotels/ restaurants in the past and always been successful.
Thats quite an interesting response. In your OP you mentioned "So historical value also included", what did you mean by that please.
I am not a huge pub goer, but do go in the Vaynol 2 or 3 times a year and TBH I generally find it OK, I call it beer and not ale and find it drinkable, the foods OK and the atmosphere is very good, and the staff are fine. A 3 star pub in a 4 star location. Its far better IMHO than the ODG, where the atmosphere is mediocre at best, the staff vary from OK to offensive, the food is overpriced and is pretty poor, and the beer whilst OK is a bit dear unless your getting locals discount. A 1 star pub in a 5 star location.
Cannot be easy running a place where a large amount of your customers come in 2, 3 hour periods.
Some good market research you could do is look at how the people who have bought Erics Cafe have gone about running a viable business where part of the customer base are climbers.
Robinson is certainly not my favourite brew, but I've always had a bit of a soft spot for the pub personally. I've never found it unwelcoming, even when it's been packed.
> We used to say it didn't travel well from the pump to the glass
Sounds about right. I've not had lots of it but I have a distinct memory of several pints of foulness (I was a student and it was cheap ) in the Station or the Railway or whatever it's called next to Rose Hill Marple station, which really isn't very far from Stockport!
> Robinson is certainly not my favourite brew, but I've always had a bit of a soft spot for the pub personally. I've never found it unwelcoming, even when it's been packed.
As I said I've not been in - it just somehow gives that impression from the outside. Perhaps because of the old fashioned Robbie's "look". But even a sign saying "walkers and climbers welcome" would help!
What about Brew 11, brewed for the men on the Midlands.
Memory blocks such trauma!
Am I the only person on here who normally tastes at the bar (away from regular haunts) and always asks for something else if its off? Even the very best beer can go off. These days most good pubs actively encourage tasting; at some you inadvertently get close to a free half pint.
I've got to admit it is about eight years since I've been in the Vaynol, but I visited probably a couple of times a year for the twenty years prior to that. Can't say that I ever had a problem with the beer, maybe I was lucky.
With regard to Robinsons, it's not the most exciting beer in the world, but I have always found it perfectly drinkable. One of my local pubs was the CAMRA national pub of the year in 2012, a free house with a great selection of beer, but interestingly the couple that owned it also managed a Robinsons pub a couple of miles away. This place is the Robinsons pub I have drunk in more than any other, so I might have a slightly rose tinted view, but again the beer was always OK.
It was no mystery why Ansels Bitter men were so bitter
I remember one night trying all the ales in the Vaynol, in a vain attempt to find one that didn't taste dodgy. I failed. Still the only pub in which I've ever chosen to drink fizzy keg shite when hand pumps are on offer. You've raised my hopes that might change!
Like a previous poster though, I never had any problem with the pub itself, or the atmosphere. Any locals in there have always seemed pretty good-natured whenever I've been in. More so than some other haunts near climbing spots... but that's another thread!
There is really no competition for a pub with good food in the valley. Years ago we use to drive to the other Vaynol in Pentir (mentioned earlier in this thread) for a good meal before returning to the Nant Peris Vaynol for last orders
If you haven't already done so check out the three pubs in Capel Curig: Tyn-y-coed, Cobdens and Bryn Tyrch. Long ago the Bryn used to be quietest of the three but now has an excellent reputation for food and always seems to be busy. It would be interesting to visit the three mid week and see how they do.
Regarding Robinson's; the beer can be very good. I did some energy efficiency work for them many years ago with a project for a new very high temperature hot water system. The brewery is unusual in that they shun detergents relying on very hot water for sterilization, being keen on natural organic processes. I'm not sure if this makes the beer more susceptible to deterioration due to poor pipe cleaning etc.
> Robinson's "Best" Bitter - so "good" you'd hate to think what their worst was like.
> In all seriousness I've never been in there and always thought it looked like a classic unwelcoming local's pub from the outside - maybe that could be worked on to make it clear that climbers and walkers were welcome? Should be tons of potential business there if you do, though I'd imagine quiet in winter?
This would make a great article for Mash.
Bloke from Milton Keynes comments on pub in North Wales that he has never been in, priceless.
> Memory blocks such trauma!
I'll lay it on even harder with Whitbread Trophy even worse than their Tankard!
Whitbread, Whitbread trophy bitter, so bad halfs drink like a quart (those ditties do breach the trauma protection).
> I'll lay it on even harder with Whitbread Trophy even worse than their Tankard!
'The pint that thinks it's a quart’...
I've had perfectly acceptable Robinsons in Carlisle of all places, actually a very nice pint. I've also had really ropey beer from Keswick Brewery and other smaller breweries.
A lot is down to the landlord and how he keeps his beer, and also how quickly they go through a barrel. There's a pub within walking distance of my house where the real ale isn't particularly well kept, it's ok if its a new barrel, but nobody risks drinking it in case it's gone off so it festers for weeks. When I (rarely) go in I'll drink Guiness or even lager because it's hard to mess up.
"The brewery is unusual in that they shun detergents relying on very hot water for sterilization, being keen on natural organic processes."
Instead of supporting such efforts we get blanket damnation from some. It's an odd world. I get everyone is entitled to an opinion and a preference but that requires sensible tolerance with those who disagree. If you get served a bad pint just ask to change it: the financial hit for dirty pipes and badly kept beer works best when people don't accept such crap.
> This would make a great article for Mash.
> Bloke from Milton Keynes comments on pub in North Wales that he has never been in, priceless.
This is such an issue.
Although I've not been there for a while, I've never had any issues in the place, I don't even think I've had a dodgy pint there.
We took ~20 students to the Vaynol on a Saturday night, booked in advance obviously, everyone was fed and well watered, food was perfectly fine, locals friendly, some of the group even ended up chatting and playing games with the regulars in the back bar. Much of this "unfriendly locals" thing says more about the people complaining about it, People talk about the language changing and crap like that, what do they want? villages all over North Wales ignoring their mother tongue just in case a tourist should happen to walk through the door?
Thought Cobdens was closed.
> It was no mystery why Ansels Bitter men were so bitter
But Ansel's Aston Ale weren't a bad pint, before they shut the Aston brewery. In any case Ansel's was always better than Brew XI.
> If you get served a bad pint just ask to change it: the financial hit for dirty pipes and badly kept beer works best when people don't accept such crap.
This. There is a huge difference between a bad pint and even an OK one.
I'm also pretty keen to point out if they are taking the piss with their pint measures.
Most people are fine with being asked. No need to make a big scene about it.
I'd add I've not been for a while but it's always been friendly and the beer fine. I'm even quite keen on Old Tom. I prefer to the Brewdog fizzy pop style beers anyday......
To make it work I think you need good beer and really good, not just ok/good food. Doesn't have to be fancy but the quality needs to be high. The stats on the Robbie's site make it sound like there is money to be made if well run, depends on whether the FMT or the current/historical barrelage is the more realistic!
> This would make a great article for Mash.
> Bloke from Milton Keynes comments on pub in North Wales that he has never been in, priceless.
A key part of marketing a business that relies on walk-in custom is to make it look and feel welcoming from the outside so people, er, walk in. I've driven past it countless times, and it looks like a local's pub.
> A key part of marketing a business that relies on walk-in custom is to make it look and feel welcoming from the outside so people, er, walk in. I've driven past it countless times, and it looks like a local's pub.
The best sort. I walk in, buy a pint and say awreet, people look at me and think whose this prick, we have a chat, and when I leave, they probably say, he was a prick but friendly enough.
It just looks like a pub to me TBH.
I bet if I came to your local it would look like a local and if I came in I would think your all posh sounding southerners.
> Years ago there was an advert that said something like "Double Diamond, the best beer in a can".
> Problem was, as soon as it came out of the can it was shite beer 😁
> I presume it was shite whilst in the can as well but of course there was no way to test that.
Yeah, but my point was more that if you want the income from tourists buying meals (which is where the money is) you really need to make it look more like that sort of pub.
I'm sure every bloke in the village used to drink in there every night and kept it going that way, but I doubt that's true of it any more.
If you have the experience from running successful pubs, why not start one from scratch? As a tenant, the rewards for your efforts all go to the pubco.
> I'm sure every bloke in the village used to drink in there every night and kept it going that way, but I doubt that's true of it any more.
Yes it was very busy when the local quarry employed over 2000!
This is why Brewers Fayre and other corporate type pubs do so well, people want what they are familiar with, wherever they go. You even see it in France with The Buffalo grills and the like, I can imagine that French children pester dad for the Bufalo grill as opposed to the Relais Routier. You do have a point, but I would rather that a Wacky Warehouse was not attached to the Vaynol.
> Schrodingers can?
> I'm sure every bloke in the village used to drink in there every night and kept it going that way, but I doubt that's true of it any more.
That's true of every single rural pub in the country. By and large, people no longer go to the local pub to socialise. They like the idea of a local pub with real ales, open fire and nice food, but they only want to go in twice a year, or maybe now and again show it off to friends.
Sadly, (IMHO), outside of communities with a couple of thousand potential drinkers the village pub is pretty much finished. The only exceptions are if you can capture the tourist trade or are in an affluent area and can afford to go down the expensive gastropub route.
Our local closed a couple of years ago, but there is a community group (made up almost entirely of people who never put a penny over the bar when it was open) with grandiose plans for a financially unviable pub.
> The only exceptions are if you can capture the tourist trade or are in an affluent area and can afford to go down the expensive gastropub route.
Both of those would likely work with that pub due to its location on the way down from Snowdon - best have a tiled floor, though!
Just a thought - if, as you say, it's "possible this pub could close down", it might on the market to buy and re-open as a free house before long....
> I bet if I came to your local it would look like a local and if I came in I would think your all posh sounding southerners.
I can only imagine you've never been to Milton Keynes if you believe they sound posh.....
> Sounds about right. I've not had lots of it but I have a distinct memory of several pints of foulness (I was a student and it was cheap ) in the Station or the Railway or whatever it's called next to Rose Hill Marple station, which really isn't very far from Stockport!
I might be being a bit cruel, the dad of my climbing mate of days gone by had the Duke of York at Flagg on the Ashbourne Rd south of Buxton for several years and the Robbies he kept was quite drinkable.
> ... the Duke of York at Flagg on the Ashbourne Rd south of Buxton for several years and the Robbies he kept was quite drinkable.
Personally, I think that Robbies ale has improved enormously over the last decade or so. They brew some decent juice, these days.
Indeed. I know the area as it's next door to where I grew up and first worked. It's posher than Northampton though (with it's bankcrupt council.... when I moved to Nottingham it had the major industrial dereliction, now Northampton has swapped places).
I'm from Northampton and used to work in Milton Keynes. The town and the villages of Northamptonshire are quite different places. I find the town centre quite sad. So much history and architecture* but all the money is in the villages and not enough spent on/in the town.
*Town Hall, the Royal Theatre the Deco, 78 the Derngate, All Saints Church, the Market Square (it's been there since 1235). It was a sad day when the cattle market went and also when the fish market closed.
I regularly choose to stay in the campsite opposite because there is a pub next door. Always been a friendly place with decent enough beer. I’m not expecting to find a Punk IPA! Food can take an age to arrive when it’s busy but it’s not really an issue if you have a table. With that many huts around you are going to get winter foot fall at weekends if the place is welcoming. I would have thought pizza delivery to the campsite and huts would go down a treat. Take away breakfast bakery products would get me through the door in the morning as well. A few people have commented that it would need to be cheap but I think climbers/walkers on the whole are pretty comfortable. Medium priced food wouldn't put off anyone I know. Getting some better signage and making it look a bit better from the outside would seem a good move as well. Best of luck!
>but I would rather that a Wacky Warehouse was not attached to the Vaynol.
But if they did, you would have free use of Charlie Chalks climbing wall.
An excellent point.
Breakfasts definitely a good shout!
Northampton town centre is grim. It's a shame, really, as you say there's plenty of money in the Home Counties.
> I can only imagine you've never been to Milton Keynes if you believe they sound posh.....
It's more Mockney/"estuary English" than anything else. I'm actually a Northerner (Scouser by birth but before I moved down south my accent was probably just generic Lancashire) so my accent is now a bit hybrid, I've been known to be called Brummie but I've never lived in the Midlands, it just seems to be what you get if you mix north and south in almost equal parts.
If you can provide consistent good food a descent range of Ales and keep the fire burning then you will do well, the food has been inconsistent and this has been a problem. I do hope the place stays open.
Do you remember the beer pumps in the Home Ales pubs with the horizontal piston in a clear cylinder? Apart from the beer being grim, if it had sat in the cylinder for any amount of time it was flat and warm!
I do remember som Kimberley Ales pubs in Nottingham late 70s which were ok. There was one next to the brewery in Kimberley which was our stop off on the way back from climbing in the Peak, before heading to the Sir John Borlace Warren at Canning Circus
> before heading to the Sir John Borlace Warren at Canning Circus
Do you remember Angus and Marilyn the archetypal barmaid?
Those were measured and monitored pumps. If the barman spilled part of your pint there was no way he could top it up
> Do you remember the beer pumps in the Home Ales pubs with the horizontal piston in a clear cylinder? Apart from the beer being grim, if it had sat in the cylinder for any amount of time it was flat and warm!
Banks Hansons pubs also had that for a while. Not that I noticed beer having any chance of getting warm !
All I can say is, since moving back to Manchester in 1988, we've checked out all the boozers in Greater Manchester, and, I've never been back in a Robinson's pub since.
Perhaps a daft question but could you buy out the brewer? Would open up possibilities of becoming a microbrewery or gin distiller. Off season production to make up for lower footfall.
> Oh they can,
There is one near (as in not close enough to be a local but okay for an occasional visit) my dads which isnt doing too bad. No real tourist footfall but with volunteers it seems to be keeping its head above water. I think most of those volunteers were locals beforehand though.
Kimberly had better beer and less strict tied rules. Lynn and I used to cycle from the Meadows across the wasteland that is now Sainsbury's to Beeston every Monday night to go to better pubs in Beeston. In the city centre The Trip, The Bell and a few other free houses (or tied that did have guest ales) were very popular with beer fans thanks to Home and Shippos. Home didn't help itself with names... 5 star (too often more like percent !!??) . Some pubs in the early 80s were like time capsules.... I remember one in the Meadows (corner of Holgate and Beauvale?) had only a few seats for 'guests' the rest were reserved for regulars who were there every night.
Except there are plenty more examples, some in tiny villages.
> Except there are plenty more examples, some in tiny villages.
Maybe there are, although the Fox and Hounds at Ennerdale is on the list, and that community buy-out went tits up a while ago.
Some pubs are still viable, be they community pubs or not, but by no means all of them are, and the rate of closures underlines that. In the case of our local it might survive with a decent landlord with money to invest, but this particular community buy out is, to be frank, delusional.
Ah The Vaynol Arms, I had my 1st drink there at the tender age of 16 60 years back when "the climbers" were served from a hatch by the front door. I well remember when Emlym was the landlord and the best of a bad bunch he was by far, even if he did ban me for a bit. Not my fault I hasten to add, more like a wrong choice of G/F at the time. Also the same reason I got banned a 2nd time so you could say im a regular. I was in there just before lockdown and what a depressing dump of a pub it is. Still got a dark brown ceiling for gods sake!!!! I think a coat of paint would lift it up somewhat but you are still going to have the problems that have been aired so well. Your main customer base will be as mentioned the campsite's in the valley with-in walking distance. and a few locals who can afford the ludicrous prices that are charged today
Passing trade can be restricted by car parking as when the Ceunant hut next door is full and the M/R are on call the parking is full so that can be restricted. I can not comment on the state of the beer as I only drink shorts in there having given up on anything else years back.
Good luck if you go ahead your going to need it im afraid
I'm with you. It's certainly very seasonal anyway.
I lived for years in Nant Peris, nice location. There's just no community left really. Llanberis people rarely go and drink there, maybe they would but that's still not that many. But it's a drive from Llanberis to Nant.
Nant Peris lost its post office, the churches are hardly open, the pub has died, and not many locals used it anyway. The locals seemed to be dying off or moving away replaced by second homes. It certainly lacks the community feeling Llanberis has. Pizza a Pint was successful but it was between a few major villages, near the beacon.
Nant Peris is another 10 minutes further on. I'd go occasionally and rarely saw anyone I knew, if I went for a beer in the llanberis pubs or I'd almost be guaranteed to see people I knew. Mid week it was a ghost bar.
Often wondered why Anglers need a rest?
Where do you drink now? (I don't mean right now obviously!) Beeston has even better pub choice now I think, but the poppy and pint is my favourite now in terms of choice, food and friendliness and its always quieter than the vic and in my way home from kayaking at hpp!
I live in Beeston, Crown and Vic are probably best for beer but I have a soft spot for the star and the hop pole. I could murder a pint of draft bitter...
another person to have survived The Meadows!. My First student house when I was at Nottm Uni was on Woolmer Road. I was in halls on campus in the First Year and we used to pub crawl Beeston starting at The Durham Ox, and ending at a pub in Toton, I think it was The Hop Pole.
> Often wondered why Anglers need a rest?
To stop their rod falling in, obvs
I live locally and before COVID would go in quite regularly.
When compared to the other pubs in the area the ale was pretty good in my opinion, in fact better than any pub in 'beris, especially the Dizzy Blond. The food, although basic, was also good in my experience, fully homemade, with game, rabbit and other seasonals often on offer. We often went just for pints and food for a change of scene. I live in Brynrefail so not super close.
It's perfectly placed for a pint after climbing and in my experience has always had a small but decent local scene. A good roaring fire in the winter, and generally the best pub in the area.
I just think it's not been marketed very well in the past and a lot of folk have forgotten it's there. However it was always busy in the summer season and otherwise at weekends if conditions were good, and often if not!
It must have some potential, theres a dearth of good food and ale around these parts and if you can nail that without poncing it up too much so it still appeals to the locals then you could be on to a winner, albeit one that will require hard work and cunning thinking. Not a lot goes on around here and that's the key, give us something to go out for.
Trying to tie it to some of the events that happen around here and such like would also help, and as others have said, the campsite. BMC Cymru used to hold many of its meetings there, as did other organisations.
It would be a very sad day to see this pub with all its history gone or changed into something else and I'm sure you would get support if you made the effort.
I usually have trouble getting out...........
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