Thursday, 18 October 2012
The Friary, Cardiff [map]
What better way to commemorate an armed revolt that took place on a Caribbean island in the 1950s than with a themed drinks emporium in the centre of the Welsh capital?
It's billed as a 'rum bar'. Or, as we used to call them back in the day, a 'rough pub'.
Despite this, the staff are, in fact, pretty friendly. Indeed, rather than being told, "I don't really think this is your sort of place, lads," in a threatening tone by the barman, he instead cheerily alerts us to the cocktail offers.
The whole thing is done with a lot more panache than Bar Cuba (now The Live Lounge), which used to be over the road.
It's spacious without giving the impression that you're sitting in a huge warehouse that just happens to be full of mismatched furniture and random signs in Spanish.
Although those sofas are so low that if you get carried away with the cheap cocktails, you have pretty much zero chance of subsequently resuming a vertical base.
The aesthetic is let down somewhat by the fact of the flooring being more Carpetright than Cuba, but there you go.
There's live music on Friday and Saturday nights, when they also hand out trilbies and false moustaches to enable punters to complete the, erm, look. They must be Havana laugh.