Douglas Arms Hotel

North-West Wales - Bethesda

A historic pub interior of national importance

Listed Status: II

High St Bethesda (A5)
LL57 3AY

Tel: (01248) 600219



Real Ale: Yes

Real Cider: Yes

Public Transport: Near Bus Stop

Bus: Yes

View on: Whatpub

Built as a coaching inn around 1820 to serve Thomas Telford’s new road to Holyhead, the Douglas Arms has been in the hands of the Davies family since 1913. It is little changed since the 1930s and has four public rooms. A projection into the entrance corridor, once a hotel reception area, is now incorporated into the billiard room. This acquired its full-sized billiard table c1934. The public bar (rear right) was once two small rooms until a partition was removed in the 1950s. It has a bent-wood bench, a red leather bench and two old settles: the (probably) Victorian bar-back contains many drawers and a display of spirit jars, although the counter has modern refronting. At the front are two rooms, a function/dining room (left) and a smoke room with a 1930s Art Deco fireplace.

A coaching inn built c.1820 to serve Thomas Telford's new road to Holyhead. It has been in the same family since 1913 and is little changed since the 1930s with four public rooms. Tradition is the order of the day here – it was possibly the last pub to convert to decimal currency and even today staff can quote you the cost of your round in £.s.d. In the spacious corridor there is an old servery facing the front door. The public bar lies to the rear right and until the 1950s it was actually two small rooms but then a partition creating a separate snug was removed. What looks like a hatch on the left was actually the door into the snug and to access it from the hall there was originally a short passage across the corner of the servery. The splendid over 100-year-old bar-back contains many drawers, a display of spirit jars and 25 malt whiskies. The public bar has two bentwood benches and a red leather bench; the now disused fireplace dates from the 1920s. Near the counter, which was re-fronted in recent times, there is the old speaking tube (now painted over), which was used to give instructions to the kitchen below. Originally access to the public bar was via a door on the right-hand side of the building.

On the rear left is the billiard room, which is the combination of the former hotel reception and a room/lounge. The full-sized table was moved to here from an upstairs room in c.1934 and the rare game of Snooker Plus is played here. It was invented by Joe Davis in 1959 and includes two extra balls - an orange (scores 8) and a purple (scores 10). This means the possible maximum break is 210, something not even 15 times world champion Joe could score! (but it is believed to have been achieved by Jimmy White, date unknown). Other Heritage pubs still with full sized billiard tables are the Lamb, Eccles, Greater Manchester; and the Malt Shovel, Spondon, Derbyshire.

The room has old bench seating, an early 20th-century tiled fireplace (there was another behind the seating) and a hatch to the back of the bar. At the front are two rooms - on the left a small function/dining room which has a tiled and marble surround fireplace; on the right is the smoke room with a 1930s Art Deco wood surround fireplace that has a new tiled interior on a Welsh slate base, antique settles and lovely benches. The inside toilets were added in 1955.

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