Sunday, 17 July 2011


21-23 Wyndham Arcade, Cardiff [map]

Of all the enclosed shopping spaces in Cardiff, Wyndham Arcade is surely the most peculiar.

This Edwardian corridor between St Mary Street and Mill Lane accommodates a Christian bookshop, an army surplus outlet, a tobacconists, an inline skating store and - what we're really interested in here - an extraordinary little inner-city boozer called Kiwis.

Despite having a decidedly ramshackle-looking facade - their idea of an embellishment is taping an A4 print-out of the bar's name over the door - inside it has all the trappings of a regular pub, alcopops and all.

Although how many bottles of WKD they ever shift remains to be seen.

It's a weekday afternoon (this is the same day we visit Walkabout) but there's a steady flow of customers.

Your instinct is to think that Kiwis isn't the most salubrious of joints - after all, the one concession to exoticism is a string of Jägermeister bunting along the top of the bar.

But you wouldn't catch someone wearing a sports coat to visit a branch of O'Neill's, would you?

Plenty of nattering and drinking going on, plus more suit-jacket action. We're warming to the place already.

We take a pew at a low table through an archway, from where we're afforded this view.

Difficult to tell whether that bloke at the opposite end of the bar is in the process of getting up or falling down. Perhaps it's both.

Tantalisingly, just to the right of where we're sitting is this locked gated door.

On the other side, it's just an extension of the main bar area but apparently it's transformed into a late-night club at weekends. Verily, the mind boggles.

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