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The Ponsonby Arms, Llangollen

Mill Street
LL20 8RY

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 9 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

John Bonser left this review about The Ponsonby Arms

Occupying a Grade 2 listed building close to the centre of Llangollen is The Ponsonby Arms, saved from dereliction several years ago by the owners of The Sun Inn (on the A5 on the other side of town). The Ponsonby Arms is referred to as its sister pub.

It’s a rather understated exterior with no hanging pub sign and in need of a lick of paint or two to make it look a bit more noticeable and welcoming. It’s next door to a council car park on the railings of which we see a large tarpaulin banner encouraging us in with the strapline “traditional food and cask ales done well”. On the back of several recent September 2015 visits, I can vouch for the latter. Notably, those using the car park can obtain a free parking token from the pub when ordering food and/or drink.

Once inside, we find a comfortable single lounge bar with the servery down the right hand side. It’s a pleasant, but unremarkable interior with, seemingly, no original features of note. One area houses an old style brightly coloured wurlitzer / juke box and another area (curtained off in the evening) apparently used for lunchtime meals. The pub is popular with staff and volunteers from the nearby Llangollen steam railway terminus and a cosy corner is decorated with a collection of old railway photos and prints.

The principal attraction here is the extensive range of real ales, probably the best in Llangollen by a country mile. There’s 2 banks of 6 pumps with 2 of the 12 pumps dispensing ciders. Virtually all of the other 10 pumps were in use of each of my three visits, with beers on including Ulverston Elephant, Elland Porter, Goose Eye Chinook, Bollington Long Hop ( Macclesfield ) and Rooster All Star. Notably, beers from 2 Sheffield breweries were on – Kelham Island Pale Rider and WSB Alder, the latter being from the Hillsborough Hotel brewery. Beers sampled were in great form and the pub has made the CAMRA Good Beer Guides in the past few years. It seems churlish to be critical, but I’m going to say that it would have been good to have had at least one Welsh beer being showcased, as was the case with The Sun Inn, where, with a smaller beer range, I had earlier in the evening been able to sample a Purple Moose beer.

As expected, beer prices vary according to strength, with Ulverston Elephant ( one of the regular beers ) being £3 and stronger beers such as Kelham Island Pale Rider ( 5.2%) and Elland Porter ( 6.5%) being £ 3.50p and £ 3.60p respectively. A Happy Hour ( rather naffly referred to as a “Hoppy Hour” ) takes place between 6 and 7 pm on Fridays, when there is £1 off all pints of cask ale. Notably, and unusually, there doesn’t appear to be any such promotions on other days of the week, when you might ordinarily have expected a greater need to get people through the door.

Tuesday night is quiz night and Monday night features “an evening with the Ladies Singing Group” – a small group of ladies of advancing years singing, without accompaniment, a medley of assorted well known songs. There is also some advertising, notably on the menu, for music events at The Sun Inn.

Although close to the town centre, it is on what would appear to be the “wrong” side of the bridge to pick up much passing trade from visitors to this attractive town with, in consequence, much more of a local feel than perhaps you might expect. It’s a friendly welcoming place and, although they appear to have difficulty in getting staff, those I came across were helpful and eager to please.

You should definitely seek this one out when in town.

On 5th October 2015 - rating: 8
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Al Bundy left this review about The Ponsonby Arms

A cracking pub just as you come into the town. A fine selection of real ales to chunner over if you're a Camra type. Beer garden at the side and although it overlooks a car park (you can't really see the river unfortunately) it is a pleasant place to drink. Watch out for the pubs family of chickens strolling around.

On 19th January 2015 - rating: 10
[User has posted 3389 recommendations about 3302 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Bucking Fastard left this review about The Ponsonby Arms

Named after one of the "Two Ladies of Llangollen",the pub offers an impressive range of real ales.To the left of the front door there is a front section with some dining tables and a Victorian fireplace thankfully lit on a chilly evening.The two chalk boards here recount the story of the Ladies and the history of Llangollen Station,whose railway line used to run through what is today the carpark.Beyond the bar there are two pleasing bay windows with seating and a juke box to the side.
Clearly food is part of the package here and the specials looked good but our focus was on the ale.Besides two ciders,the choice included Ulverston Laughing Gravy,Abbeydale Brimstone,Purple Moose Dark Side of the Moose and Snowdonian Bitter,Purity UBU and Kelham Island Easy Rider which sailed through the three pint test.Ale quality was superb and much more precise that at a much decorated pub a few miles away.Needless to say it's in the 2014 GBG.
The interior looks to be ready for an upgrade and it's position at the edge of town meant that it got quieter into the Friday evening we were there.However if you are looking for a quality pint of real ale this should be your first call when in town,it ticks all the right boxes.

On 15th September 2013 - rating: 9
[User has posted 2089 recommendations about 2089 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Alan Hurdle left this review about The Ponsonby Arms

12 handpumps serving 10 Real Ales and 2 Real Draught Ciders! A permanent beer festival!
"Hoppy Hour" Friday 6-7, £1 off all Real Ales.
Also serves a range of bottled Belgian Ales.
Lined glasses are used. Draught beer can also be bought in one-third of a pint glasses for people who wish to sample a larger range of the ales without over endulging!

Accommodation is at present being refurbished. Hot snack meals are served at the bar with full meal menu now available.

The pub consists of a single room with two off-set areas. A beer garden is available that overlooks the white water River Dee.

From the town shopping area, just cross over the famous Dee bridge and turn right. The pub is just 100 yards along the pavement or the attracive Deeside path.
Open all day.

On 29th August 2013 - rating: 9
[User has posted 675 recommendations about 625 pubs]