Biggest Wetherspoons in Wales now even bigger after £1.9m makeover

The Prince of Wales pub has re-opened with 120 more seats and 30 more staff jobs 

THE Prince of Wales in Cardiff city centre has reopened its doors to pubgoers after an internal and external refurbishment that cost £1.89 million. 

The work done on the Wood Street pub, which Wetherspoons say is their largest in Wales, has helped create 30 more staff jobs with the addition of 120 more seats on the ground floor.

New features are noticeable at the bar, where the original T-bar taps that served nine different pints per tap have been upgraded to serve 13 different drinks. This allows more drinks to be poured at the same time, which will help given the increase in the pub’s capacity for customers and staff.

The bar at the Prince of Wales now offers more space for orders made through the app. It also now has T-bar taps that serve 13 different drinks. Credit: Caleb Tutt.

The pub’s manager, Andy Greenhill, said that the “new front seating has gone down well” and the redecoration has turned the pub from one resembling a “garish bookies” to one that “draws people in from the street”. 

“It’s nice to reopen at Christmas time and welcome people back,” he said, describing the reopening as “good for the city”. 

The pub has undergone a “full interior redecoration” with new “decorative features on the ceiling”, says pub manager Andy Greenhill. Credit: Caleb Tutt.

Among other additions to the pub are a new kitchen and cellar as well as improved staff areas to accommodate the extra 30 employees the pub has taken on since closing on October 27.  

The pub, which reopened last Monday, has also dedicated more bar space to preparing orders from the Wetherspoons app, as the number of orders made digitally has increased over time. 

So, what do the pubgoers think? 

Formerly the “Prince of Wales Theatre”, the pub still has remnants of its history as a theatre where Laurence Olivier and Richard Burton once performed. Credit: Caleb Tutt.

When The Cardiffian popped in on Tuesday lunchtime, customer Jeff told us: “What really impressed me was that [the refurbishment] was done in a way that doesn’t disrupt the historical décor of the building.” 

Dave, another regular, said “it’s fine”, and “bright enough”. 

Paul noted that it’s “very nice” but that he “tends to go to the Great Western more as it’s closer to the train station”. 

The history behind the Prince of Wales pub

The pub occupies a Grade-II listed building that began its life as the New Royal theatre built in 1878. The theatre rebranded to the Prince of Wales theatre in 1935.

The theatre played host to lots of stage productions as well as famous performers such as Laurence Olivier, Richard Burton and Ivor Novello.

The Prince of Wales continued to host live stage performances until 1965 when it became a cinema that later became notorious for showing erotic films.

The venue had stints as a nightclub, casino, bingo hall and laser-quest arena before becoming a Wetherspoons pub in 1999.

The Prince of Wales prior to refurbishment, with a Coral betting shop occupying the corner of the building. Credit: Xiquinho Silva.