The story behind the enigmatic name of the Vale’s first rooftop bar Academy 297

Academy Coffee owner Janet Morgan sheds light on the inspiration for the trendy name of the group’s rooftop bar in Barry

Academy 297 rooftop bar logo
Credit: @academy297
Intriguing in its simplicity, the name Academy 297 teases a hidden story linking the venue to the history of the Barry Docks area

The name Academy 297 commemorates the highest number of trains to ever rest in the old Barry docking station where Academy Coffee group’s new bar currently stands, owner Janet Morgan shares.

Historically, the Barry Docks area that now houses the sustainable high street Goodsheds used to be the resting place of numerous passenger trains. It was somewhat of a wasteland really, which Jan recalls walking past as a very young girl. “I remember seeing all these trains,” she reminisces. “It seemed to go on forever!”

Not all the retired trains fell into oblivion, of course. In fact, 213 of them were rescued, some even going on to become famous on-screen engines such as the Hogwarts Express. But the total body count in the “locomotive’s graveyard” reached a whopping 297 – a figure worthy of homage.

“We wanted to give a nod to the fact that we are based on the docking station,” Jan shares, as a way of explaining the name of Academy Coffee group’s rooftop bar. 

All aboard the rooftop bar

Dubbed “the first rooftop bar … in the Vale of Glamorgan” by Business Live, Academy 297 has been extremely popular with the locals, despite having to close for the firebreak lockdown a mere three weeks after its launch. 

Jan says they’ve been getting tons of positive comments from visitors, with many customers praising the lovely escapism that the venue offers and comparing the experience to “being on holiday.”

The charismatic owner agrees with her patrons, confiding that working at the bar is very invigorating.  

Whether you’re a train lover keen to check out the historic site, or simply tempted by the prospect of leaving the daily grind behind and indulging in some delicious cocktails, you’d do well to book ahead – we have it on good authority that the place gets fully booked every Friday and Saturday.