“ 82 St Mary Street / Cardiff / CF10 1FA / Tel. 029 2064 4449. Opening Times: 11-23 Mo-Sa; 12-22:30 Su. „
* Prices may differ from that shown
No doubt you are all familiar with the chain of pubs to which the Prince of Wales belongs. That being J.D.Wetherspoons. I have had problems with Wetherspoon's in the past myself but that was Newcastle and far too long a story to tell here!
On the whole however Wetherspoons have become a respected name in the pub scene. New Wetherspoons are cropping up everywhere!
As a general rule Wetherspoons adopt a policy of buying a derelict building and converting it into one of there pubs. The result being that a lovely old style building gets a much needed facelift and the pub itself has a grander feel to it than your local. True to form The Prince of Wales, Cardiff has been adapted from an old cinema to the public house you see today.
This pub is in a prime location, on Wood Street Cardiff it is just up the road from the bus and train stations (Cardiff Central) and more importantly, the Millennium Stadium - home of welsh rugby and football and if they don't hurry along with Wembley - the F.A. Cup once again.
In times when the drinking of alcohol at matches is restricted it is ideal for when the crowds spill out of the ground thirsty and wishing to celebrate or (as it is Wales) drown their sorrows!
Additionally it adjoins St Mary's Street which is one of the main streets in Cardiff, and is a mere 5 minutes fromthe City Centre. Therefore if you've built up a thirst doing your shopping you can pop in.
The pub itself
As mentioned in the preamble, this has been converted from an old cinema which affords it lots of space and ceiling height. I was certainly struck by the magnitude of the inside when I walked in.
As you go through the glass doors from Wood Street (there is a slightly less used side entrance too) you have seating areas to your right and left and see a large imposing staircase directly ahead. This staircase leads to the another of the unbelievable 3 layers.
First impressions are likely to be that it is a cosy pub where you can go to relax and enjoy a quick pint or a slow drink with your friends. I know I have! The decor is again cosy, with rich colours and rich floor/seat coverings to complement. The seats themselves are comfortable and unlike some establishments the seating is nicely spaced.
On each of the layers there is a reasonable sized bar which can be handy when it gets busy - which it does at the usual times. I don't remember having to wait a long time for drinks at the bar and the staff were always perfectly friendly.
What I liked about this pub is the fact that depending on what mood you are in you can generally choose an area to match. For example I met a friend who I hadn't seen for a while so we headed to the second layer where you can sit slightly out of the way and by the windows so there's plenty of light.
There is no problem hearing what the other people are saying either as Wetherspoon's don't have music blaring. In fact there's no music at all. Probably quite nice if you've been in all the other pubs/clubs and would like to just chill for a bit. In my experience we've not noticed as we've been too busy nattering anyway!
The opening hours are:-
Friday and Saturday 9am-1am
Sunday to Thursday 9am-midnight
Being a Wetherspoons the fare is typical of its other pubs. That is to say that you get good value for money and good quality with it. There is plenty of competition in and around Cardiff so Wetherspoons would be hard pushed to get away with anything less.
Being part of the Wetherspoons chain it is renowned for its cheap beer prices and extensive menus. The food is served throughout the day for lunchtime and evening meals. I haven't sampled the food from this Wetherspoons but have always been more than satisfied with the food I've had in the Newcastle ones.
I am informed that along with the draught lager and bitter and bottles such as Smirnoff Ice, they also have real ales which are not my cup of tea but if that's what you like it is worth knowing.
I am also informed that there are often drink deals to be had such as £1 bottles and cheaper prices if you buy a few drinks. Bear in mind that there are lots of students in Cardiff and it explains the need for such incentives.
It does have wheelchair access and with bars on each layer you'll certainly be able to get a drink on at least one layer.
There are also plenty of toilets as you would expect from such a large pub.
With so many different areas one different layers as I said before you are sure to find one that suits you, and that includes a non-smoking area. Having not been in the last few months I am not aware if the latest initiative on the part of Wetherspoons has taken affect. In case you weren't already aware Wetherspoons are striving towards making their establishments smoke-free. They have banned smoking in a number of places but whether the Prince of Wales is included I'm afraid I don't know. I believe that it is not at the moment.
I'm not a big pub goer and don't really drink so to go to a pub and enjoy it it must have something. I've found it to be a good starting point if you're going on the town as you can get off the bus/train and you're away. If you're not going clubbing you also don't have to worry about having a designated driver as you can catch the bus/train back too.
I love the over the top nature of the pub in terms of scale. It is lovely and open whilst retaining a cosy feel.
I've not struggled for seating except in really busy times but even then space soon becomes available.
I can't recall being kept waiting at the bar, but perhaps it was my alluring smile that drew the barman? perhaps not ; )
In my opinion therefore it represents a good value, good quality venue. I would definitely recommend giving it a visit if you're in the area.
if you would like to find out some more about the wetherspoons chain their website seems to be pretty informative at www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk. for example they have the full range of drinks they sell and so on.