After a five-year closure and £1.4m major revamp by Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars, Cardiff residents and Cardiff Gate workers and visitors have a reason to celebrate this week as The Unicorn, near Cardiff Gate Retail Park, officially opens tomorrow 26th October at 12.00 noon.
Local political and community representatives, who have been keen for the pub to reopen, met the new licensee, Gemma Morgan, and were given a sneak preview of The Unicorn. The upgraded once-derelict building has been transformed into a fantastic country style pub with a more contemporary look and feel, serving great food and drink and offering regular live entertainment and TV sport.
20 new jobs have been created on the back of the investment, with Gemma commenting on the fact that “the majority of the team come from the local area which will help give the pub a great community feel.”
Gemma herself is from Pontyclun and recently has been working at her mother’s pub, The Windsor in Pontyclun. She has now moved into the Unicorn and will be supported by her husband Gavin and daughter Ella who will be front of house supervisor.
She adds: “I’ve been helping out in my parents’ pubs since I was 15, so hospitality is in my blood. I’ve always wanted to run my own pub, but the time wasn’t right as I was bringing up my family. Taking The Unicorn on a Star Managed Operator Agreement gives people like me, who haven’t got the financial background or resources, the opportunity to do so.
“My plan is for The Unicorn to become the beating heart of the community and to support local businesses and charities. We want it to be the life and soul of the area; a safe, friendly place for everyone to come together. We’ll show live sports in the bar and, once we’re established, we will start a Sunday evening quiz. Our weekly live entertainment will kick off in December to get people in the festive mood. I’ve already booked bands and acoustic singers. We’ll also be hosting two ‘Breakfast with Santa’ events on the 9th and 16th December for young children.
“I am looking forward to becoming part of the community. I am really touched that our church next door, St Edeyrn’s, will be marking our opening day and welcoming us by ringing the church bells. It’s been lovely to have so many messages from people saying how much they are looking forward to the pub opening.”
The revamped pub now has a fantastic garden room with sharing tables and chef’s table for dining, with bi-fold doors onto the terrace, a lounge/dining area and a relaxed locals’ bar.
Outside there’s a choice of seating on the new terrace in timber booths or at high tables as well as picnic benches and parasols at the front.
The menu at The Unicorn will consist of traditional pub favourites. Food will be good quality but reasonably priced and there will be a special menu for children.
The drinks will include cocktails and a wide selection of premium wines, spirits, and beers as well as cask and craft ales and Heineken 0.0 and all-day barista style coffee. As part of the upgrade the latest dispense technology which improves the quality and consistency of draft beer and cider, is being installed.
Says Tim Galligan, Operations Director for Star Pubs & Bars: “We are delighted to have brought The Unicorn back to life – it’s now a stunning pub inside and out. With so much housing on its doorstep, local offices and a retail park, and a lack of quality pubs in the vicinity, the area is crying out for a pub like The Unicorn, which will offer something for everyone. With so many local residents I am particularly excited about the role our pub can play in bringing the community together.
“With her local background, Gemma is the ideal person to run The Unicorn. She’s passionate about pubs, about delivering great service and about making it a focal point of the community. We wish her, her team and the community many happy years ahead.”
“The Unicorn brings the investment that we have made in Wales in the last three years to over
£4 million and demonstrates our commitment to the Welsh economy.”