The oldest pub in Cardiff

“What’s the oldest pub in Cardiff then?” is frequently barked at me when other Cardiffians get to hear that I’ve a written a book about Cardiff and that it includes a chapter giving a potted history and contemporary review of every single pub/bar in the entire city.  By “oldest” they mean “oldest surviving” of course, and that means pub site not just pub name.  Also, the questioner invariably wants to know about the city centre rather than the sprawling modern county borough.  I will come back to that in a moment.  So, the answer to the question, if referring only to the city centre and traditional inner-city zones, is… the Rummer Tavern!!   Surprising, because the pub (an independent) makes nothing of the fact, and also not at all surprising, given its position at the very entrance to the Castle.  Here are the oldest 20 in chronological order (original name in brackets where different):

  1. Rummer Tavern 1713
  2. Dempseys 1720 (Globe)
  3. Owain Glyndwr 1731 (Kemeys-Tynte Arms)
  4. Model Inn 1770 (Ship & Launch)
  5. Sandringham 1792 (Black Lion)
  6. City Arms 1793 (Cardiff Boat)
  7. Goat Major 1813 (Blue Bell)
  8. Kitty Flynns 1830 (Cambrian)
  9. Bute Dock 1839
  10. O’Neills 1840 (Market Tavern)
  11. Old Arcade 1844 (Arcade)
  12. Golden Cross 1849 (Shield & Newcastle)
  13. Mbargo 1850 (Blue Anchor)
  14. Vulcan 1853
  15. White Hart 1855
  16. YK 1859 (Elm Tree)
  17. Cottage 1863 (Cardiff Cottage)
  18. Packet 1864
  19. Borough 1867
  20. Kings Cross 1872 and Yard 1872 (Albert)

But when one includes all today’s Cardiff, many of the ancient villages engulfed by the city have surviving inns which predate these.  The title of oldest pub in Cardiff therefore belongs to the 14th century Church Inn (Llanishen), closely followed by the Unicorn (Llanedeyrn).