Centuries-old Welsh pub remains as popular as ever

by cannaorganicgreenscam

If you have ever spent the day or gone on a night out in Caernarfon, it’s hard to avoid The Black Boy Inn. The pub and hotel is located only a stone throw away from the east gatehouse, which was once the primary entry of the walled town.

This imposing building stands at three storey high, with its name and flags emblazoned on the front. Inside, it feels like you have stepped back in time with its exposed beams, low cut doorways, feature fireplaces and low lighting which gives it a candle-lit feel.

Over the years, the inn has become the place to go for a Sunday roast, a place to meet up with old friends over the Christmas period, a place to show what Caernarfon has to offer for visitors during the summer months. Impressively, it’s one of the oldest inns in Wales but remains as popular as ever.

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Built in 1522, the building initially consisted of two separate inns – The King’s Arms and Fleur de Lys, until they were merged into one as The Black Boy Inn. The precise origins of the name appear unclear, with theories suggesting it could be a reference to a visitor of the inn, a navigational buoy or a nickname for Charles II, which was used by royalists who would meet up there during the 17th century.

On a Friday evening, a friend and I decided to visit the inn. It was very busy and we weren’t able to get a table at the front. Luckily for us however, the pub is a lot bigger than what it looks like from the outside and there were plenty of tables to be found in the coach end of the venue. We were able to find a table for two there and were given menus soon afterwards.



It is said to be one of the oldest inns in Wales

The pub offers an extensive menu with a page dedicated for starters, light bites, fish, dishes from the grill and main meals, which meant there were something on offer for everyone. For starters, you could have your usual pub classics, such as chicken liver pate (£9.25) or a prawn cocktail (£9.75), but you also had dishes such as mussels mariniere (£13.95) or buffalo hot wings (£9.75).

For main courses, we had choices such as a steak and ale pot pie (£17.95), braised lamb shank (£24.95), or beef lasagne (£17.95). As my friend and I knew how generous the portions would be, we decided we’d both go for a main meal and a pudding to share. For the latest restaurant reviews, sign up to our food and drink newsletter here.

We were able to order our food and drinks on our phones, which worked out well. My friend ordered the ribeye steak, while I ordered the chicken curry. As we waited for our meal, we had a look around the coach part of the pub.

Although this didn’t have the same feel as the rest of the inn, it did have a sense of character. I particularly liked that they had impressively painted the walls with notable attractions in Caernarfon and Gwynedd, such as the Caernarfon Castle and Eryri mountains.



Although the coach end of the inn felt differently to the rest of the building, it did have a sense of character

We didn’t have to wait too long until our drinks and our meals arrived. The staff were really friendly and attentive, and made sure we had everything that we wanted for our meals.

My friend’s ribeye steak was served with a good portion of chips, onion rings, a grilled tomato, mushroom and peas. She got a medium-cooked steak as requested, which was succulent and tender.

Meanwhile, my chicken curry also came with a good portion of chips, two pieces of naan bread and a bowl of rice. The sauce was rich and earthy, with a slight spice to it which added a nice touch to the meal overall. We both agreed that the scrappy chips were cooked to perfection, they were thick cut that had a crispy shell and a soft centre to them.



The chicken curry came with scrappy chips, rice, and naan bread

And as we expected, both meals were of generous sizes. Although it did look like a lot on our plate we were both able to finish our meals. And last but certainly not least was the dessert.

Although we were full after our main courses, as is usually the case, there was always room for dessert. My friend and I struggled to make a decision quickly on which dessert we would go for as they all looked nice.

At one point, it was a toss up between caramel meringue clouds, three scoops of ice cream or the sticky toffee pudding. We decided to go for the latter, which was served with butterscotch sauce and a scoop of ice cream.



The sticky toffee pudding was beautiful served on a plate

The dessert was beautifully presented on the plate, and dessert tasted as good as it looked – the cake was light and fluffy, the butterscotch sauce was smooth and rich, and the coolness and creaminess of the ice cream complimented the sweetness of the dish very well.



Inside the inn, it feels like you have stepped back in time with its exposed beams, low cut doorways, feature fireplaces and low lighting which gives it a candle-lit feel

At this point, we were very full but also very pleased with the experience we had. Our bill came at a total of £60.75, which we were more than happy to pay considering the quality and portion of the meals that we had. On top of that, the atmosphere in the pub added to the whole experience.

As we left the pub via the bar, we realised that it was busier than it was when we arrived. There was a real buzz in the inn, and it was nice to see an independent boozer of its kind brimming with locals and visitors alike.

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