Swing City shows Bar 46 at its best
It’s come a long way in the month or so it’s been open
A few weeks ago the Tab went to Bar 46, a couple days after opening. It was an all round forgettable experience at a bar that felt unfinished, and we were in no mood to go back any time soon.
Still, we ended up there Saturday night, as we had heard about the return of ‘Swing City’. It’s been a while since Swing City was a regular event in Aberystwyth, but it was always a good time, so we decided to check it out.
We actually arrived a good hour or so before Swing City was kicking off, and so got our first round or two in and sat down, watching the Swing City decorations go up. The fine veneer of what seemed like plaster dust was gone, and it was obvious that some work had been done since our last visit. The music had improved, as had the service (which was already one of Bar 46’s strong points). Having gone in expecting it to be a bit naff, it was a very pleasant surprise.
People started flowing in very quickly – probably in part due to the joint pulling power of both Swing City and Tipsy Dragon (who helped organise the event) – and whilst it got busy, it never got uncomfortably heaving the way Yoko’s, or even Angel, can sometimes get. It was now that the previously criticised layout made a bit more sense – rather than encouraging you to just sit with the group you came in with, as happens just about everywhere else, people were mingling and chatting.
After going out for a smoke, we paid our entry fee and came back in. With the decorations up, the attractions (ball pit, popcorn machine) running and the music going, it was a bit like being at a tamer, more civilised segment of BlackHouse. The entertainers were fantastic, and the fruit going round was a wonderful touch. It was distinctly very ‘un-Aber’, and entirely the sort of thing that just wouldn’t often happen in Aberystwyth, and whilst that made for a surreal experience, it worked.
One thing that has to be mentioned is that this wasn’t set up as a for profit event. The proceeds at the door went to charity, raising over £700 for the mental health charity Student Minds. At no point did it particularly feel like a charity event though, with no self-aggrandising reminders that it was “for a good cause”.
I said in my previous review that some good events “would bump up Bar 46 from a forgettable hobby project of a bar into something great.” and that’s exactly what happened Saturday night. In all the years I’ve been in Aberystwyth, and the perhaps hundreds of events I’ve been to, this was definitely one of the most memorable.
Of course Bar 46 still has some teething issues. Whilst Swing City showed just how great an events venue Bar 46 can be, it also showed how necessary a late license is, and a little bit more work could be done on the decor. But it’s certainly come a long way from where it was when it first opened, and I’m excited to see what else will go on there.
Pasi Chi from Tipsy Dragon, who helped organise the event, said “The thing that makes us love any venue is the experience they create for our patrons. We heard some of our guests say Tipsy Dragon’s Carnival in Bar 46 was one of their best nights in Aber. For us, that says everything we need to hear. Bar 46 was very accommodating from the start, allowed us to do a lot and really customise things to match our theme. We couldn’t be happier for what was all round a great experience.”
Will Bar 46 become a regular staple on my nights out? Probably not. I’m a creature of habit, and generally like to be able to sit down with my drink. But I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for future events there, and you should too.