Our last stop was in Carmarthen, given short shrift by the new “Rough Guide to Wales” so obviously a vital stop for us.

Actually we stopped in Johnstown, right outside the Friends Arms. Mrs RM sent the boys ahead to buy laver bread, leaving the crisps and nuts for ourselves while we nipped in for a half. The entrance sets the tone for the pub, which is wonderful.

That’s how to do it

The greeting was warm and chatty from a young chap keen to promote the very local beers, including Mantle (NBSS 3.5) which had been a regular sight on our trip recently.

This is an essential stop on any tour of Welsh basic pubs, though the beer range and slight hipster feel (unintentional I’m sure) were straight out of London E2.

Proper seating, proper carpets

I was in proper pub heaven, even contemplating the juke box but clearly didn’t know how to use it. It’s likely I’d have wasted 50p on one of the worst musical efforts of recent decades (you know which one I’m talking about).

Just pack it in Ian

We attempted to catch up with the boys as Johnstown’s handsome boulevard gave way to Carmarthen’s slightly shabbier coaching inns, many of them with Felinfoel livery. I had a superb Double Dragon near Usk last week, which rather suggests it’s the pubs to blame if the beer is often a shadow of its former self.

Mrs RM marching towards the Spoons

The Queen’s Hotel is a traditional town centre pub with smart gentlefolk enjoying toasties, and with a decent 6X.  Gorgeous wood panelling throughout.

Queens Hotel

We failed to find the laver bread on the market, which frankly could have been in Harlow. Plenty more on the Spoons tomorrow. Onward, via the usual Bethel church trail.


  1. When I was in Carmarthen last year I definitely thought the Queen’s was the pick of the pubs. On the other hand, the Plume of Feathers, which is a regional National Inventory entry, was awful – as a pub, not as a piece of architecture.

    Carmarthen is certainly not a tourist hotspot, but probably all the better for that.


    1. Queen’s was very pubby, if a bit quiet Tues lunch. Spoons had all trade. Did there use to be a basic pub called Red Lion there or was that’s Cardigan. I realise there’s lots of Red Lions !


  2. When I went to Carmarthen, I was only 16 and pub ticking wasn’t even a twinkle in it’s daddy’s (my) eye. I rated it a grade A dump but seeing it through these new eyes (your blog), am desperate for a re-visit. First pub looks fantastic, love it when they seem to have more beers on than pumps! Is it Stone Roses who you were referring to?


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