DJs defy cost-of-living crisis to put their spin on cherished venue

Stalwart Cardiff DJs Esther Taylor and David Bull aim to revitalise an embattled music scene by launching Paradise Garden, Wales’s first ever listening bar.

Paradise Garden is the most recent iteration of 213 City Road

Number 213 City Road has a long history as a base for independent businesses in Roath; even in just over the last three years it (and its famous yurt) has hosted vegan cafes, a bar, and a plant emporium. Now, two local musicians have overseen a new regeneration in their first foray into hosting events in a place of their own.

The opening of Paradise Garden on October 7 saw Local DJs Esther Taylor and David Bull introduce the country’s first listening bar, where the high-fidelity sound system is the main attraction and turntables replace dishes in the venue’s serving hatch.

The new venue bucks a downward trend in the hospitality sector, as industry monitor CGA reported in October that in Q3 2022, the equivalent of one licensed venue closed per hour.

Despite facing what he describes as a “steep learning curve” in the face of the cost-of-living crisis, cofounder David Bull says that the site’s long record of independent businesses gives him hope that Paradise Garden can flourish, explaining, “213 City Road has a place in a lot of people’s hearts, so it’s already got that community attached to it which we’ve adopted.”

Another help to the duo has been the owners of previous businesses Milgi, Blue Honey Local, and Eartha, who have been able to provide them with pearls of wisdom on running a business in the beloved space. “Between all of those people, they’ve given us really good insight and advice to help us hit the ground running” he said.

  • Milgi, vegan cafe — 2006-19
  • Blue Honey Local, bar — 2019-20
  • Eartha, plant shop and café —2020-22 (though opened earlier as a pop-up)

The musician cites the closure of nightlife venues such as Gwdihŵ, Buffalo, and 10 Feet Tall as motivation for opening the venue and says that the pandemic granted an opportunity for people take a step back and think about the next steps in reinvigorating the city’s music scene.