It is highly recommended that craft beer advocates visit one of Cardiff's favourite Hipster haunts, Small Bar Cardiff. With 32 beers on tap from some of the best breweries around you will be spoiled for choice. We decided to go down there and check out what our supping options were.
The first thing that strikes you upon entering is the instant warmth of the decor and atmosphere of this upmarket boozer, there's the usual hallmarks you would expect of a craft beer joint, with an impressive wall of pump-stickers, low hanging lamps, kooky staff with beards, wood paneling, and the odd bit of exposed brickwork, lovely stuff.
Small Bar pride themselves on showcasing the best local and UK beers, including local brewery faves, Crafty Devil, Pipes, Lines and Tiny Rebel, all served in measures of thirds, two-thirds and halves, to encourage punters to sample several different beers. Friendly and enthusiastic staff will also talk you through your ale options and rather animatedly discuss what their favourite beers are.
There's a great selection of fresh and hoppy IPAs, as well as fruity beers and the odd cider or two to suit all tastes. Certainly, you could spend many an evening here trying to work your way through the bar, presumably becoming more lively as the evening wears on.
Should you need to soak up your booze, there is a great selection of comfort food that goes rather smashingly with beer. Chef Paul also strives to incorporate Small Bar's beers into dishes where possible, meaning you get a double dose of your fave ales. Choose from freshly made pizzas, banging burgers, devlish hotdogs, finger licking fries and wings. It’s exactly the sort of high-end, comforting pub grub that you would want to accompany a big night on the beers. We got down and dirty with a pizza dog and wild mushroom pizza.
The pizza dog is an ingenious hybrid between two pub food classics and features a cheeky combo of smoked beef dog, tomato passata and mozerella. This is one hot mess of a hotdog and you are guaranteed to end up covered in sauce and crumbs, but hot diggity dog is it worth it! Whoever thought of adding pizza sauce to a hotdog is frankly a culinary genius. The wild mushroom pizza is also a marvellous additional to the menu, with a beautifully crispy base and smothered in tangy goats cheese, this is a heck of a pizza my friends.
You can also treat yourself to a proper roast dinner on a Sunday, choose from IPA brined chicken, rare roast sirloin or portabello & veggie haggis. All come smothered in the most delicious, rich and flavourful gravy that will frankly rival your nana’s.
In a city that is often accused of being very ‘chain heavy’, Small Bar is a wonderful, independent addition to Cardiff’s nightlife scene. Like it’s ales, it’s small yet perfectly crafted, we really recommend you stop and have a sup.
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Portia Jones is a Cardiff based food and travel blogger usually found near or on food. Find her writing here