Friday, 9 September 2011
Mill Lane, Cardiff
Sodabar is currently moving into No. 4 Mill Lane, with the large venue occupying several of the original units along the lane. Refitting work is well underway, changing the decor from something period French into something brash and modern. There will be a range of event evenings and a roof terrace. The original sodabar operated on St Mary Street (between 2002-2008).
Next door to the new sodabar is Retro: “home of the 90’s vibe”. A place to party rather then to eat. I won't lie to you, it's the “home of Stacey’s Hen Night”.
Nestled between The Bridal Centre and the sex shop Private is the recently refurbished Las Iguanas (at No. 8). With another location in Cardiff Bay, Las Iguanas’ Latin American cuisine is proving very popular in Cardiff.
Juboraj comes next, part of the small Juboraj group of restaurants serving high-end Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine. They have been in Cardiff for around 20 years, also having establishments in Rhiwbina and Lakeside with another restaurant in Newport. The Mill Lane restaurant has undergone extensive refurbishment in recent years.
The nightclub called No 10 has recently been replaced by the "stylish strip club" Sugar at No. 10, one of several Gentlemen's Clubs that have opened in Cardiff recently. Next door to this doorway is The Ladybird, a brand-new nightclub whose façade has just been painted a fetching bright purple.
Gios (10-11 Mill Lane) and Ask both serve Italian food. On the ground floor of Gios is an "Italian Deli Restaurant", with lounge and bar rooms upstairs. Ask is a classier-than-average pasta and pizza chain.
Across the other side of the Wyndham’s Arcade entrance from Ask, the quirky Rebel Rebel outlet (and tattoo parlour) has moved and the unit is being turned into a new café bar/restaurant, with further details coming soon (it says).
At the St David’s end of Mill Lane was the King’s Cross pub. The owners (Mitchells and Butlers) have just closed this popular gay pub, despite protest from regular customers. They are currently doing massive refurbishments and are reinventing the place as a gastropub: The Corner House.
So, Cardiff’s self-styled Café Quarter is still clearly a continually evolving and vibrant place, although whether all the changes are for the better is debatable.