The Bargeman’s Rest is a nautical-themed pub in an unusual inland waterside location. It’s easy to see but fiddly to drive to (you will undoubtedly get lost in the one-way system of the nearby industrial estate); why not take a pleasant stroll to it along the quayside instead?
The pub is very accommodating and has a large family room and a splendid terrace, ideal for observing passing boats on a sunny day. The spacious pub still seems quite intimate, with sails and ropes draped about and plenty of nauticania to knock your head on. In the summer Matt and Cat like to sit in the garden and enjoy their meals by the quayside – although at low tide this is more of a mudside view. On Tuesdays, one can be enthralled by the spectacle of thousands of geriatric holidaymakers clambering gamely in and out of coaches and rummaging through the souvenir tea towels on sale at the quayside opposite. With the accompaniment of a good pint of ale in the comfort of the Bargeman’s beer garden this is an attraction which could almost become a compulsive spectator sport. If the daytime parade of oldsters doesn’t interest you, most evenings there is live music and the place can get pretty lively.
Matt & Cat often eat at the Bargeman’s; for today’s review they had arranged to meet some old friends there for lunch. After bagging one of the many tables, Matt and Cat started their visit at the bar where a good selection of real ales indicate that this really is a pub as well as an eating-house. The welcome was businesslike. Once the whole party had assembled the menu was considered. It bore the usual pub favourites including a range of snacks and light meals. When you have tired of the menu’s vast selection, there is always plenty to choose from on the specials board. Matt chose his favourite chilli burger, whilst Cat more demurely selected a light meal of goat’s cheese tartlet with onion marmalade.
The meal came quickly and looked great. The Bargeman’s always presents its food well, on large well stocked plates (which leave no room for any doubt that this is going to be a good feed). Matt’s burger came with piles of chips, heaps of very fresh salad, and a big helping of home-made chilli con carne with chilli relish and soured cream. A real feast, which Matt wasted no time in attacking. Cat’s tartlet was an enjoyable combination of flavours which she found very acceptable. There was a generous helping of goat’s cheese although the foliage was a bit meagre. Nonetheless, it was very tasty. The soup of the day was a vast tureen-full, served with two mighty hunks of bread and the salad nicoise was, again, a very generous portion.
This big pub can cater for many diners, but is still quite definitely a pub. It manages to retain a lot of atmosphere and keep the prices low and the quality high. For these reasons Matt and Cat commend it as one of the best places in Newport for a good meal and a drink.