on July 7, 2013
We did struggle to find a good real ale pub for our weekend’s stay in Caernarfon, although we know there are some good local breweries around (waves at Great Orme Brewery in nearby Llandudno). We felt our best chance would arrive with the very characterful Black Boy Inn in the old town of Caernarfon. The pub dates back to 1522 and so is one of the oldest pubs in North Wales. The inside of the pub is suitably dark and stone flagged and it is a very atmospheric place. Apparently the ghost of a nun can be seen in the pub (although whether that tale is as "true" as that of Gelert the dog is unknown). In the olden days, the pub was in the centre of the red light district which formed to serve the sailors that dropped by each evening. I didn’t see much sign of that tradition following through to the current time. The Black Boy name may have one of three origins; it was near a black buoy out to sea, it was a place where Royalists met (King Charles was referred to as a Black Boy on account of his hair colour), during the English Civil War or it referred to the colour of some of the sailors that visited the place. We also rather liked the jukebox; anyone that has the Velvet Underground playing at the point we enter a pub earns a brownie point from me. The jukebox was heavily indie, rock and alternative.On the downside on the day we visited the beer was truly terrible. It was a very musty tasting local beer; to be fair to the pub, I don’t think it was off, but it was a poor choice of beer and meant we only lingered in the bar for one. I wasn’t sure if they were changing the barrels as there only really seemed to be a choice of two beers when we visited. The poor drink was rather a shame, as we had quickly managed to nab a table despite it being a very popular local drinking hole. The possession of the table meant we could have dined here, although my beloved concluded it was too early to eat. Instead I stared wistfully at the plates of wonderful looking and smelling food pass us by (and the portions looked truly massive). There was quite a lot of interesting choice on the menu and I’m sure there would have been something to suit everyone. The Black Boy Inn offers rooms that are well rated on a popular rival website, but of course we were staying elsewhere.Summing up, the Black Boy seemed like a most promising place; plenty of atmosphere, great looking food and a super jukebox. Unfortunately it might have been an off day when we visited, but the drink (and the primary reason why one might visit a bar) didn’t taste great and no convincing of my beloved to linger a while could persuade her to stay. As such I must speak and rate as I found the place.
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