Future of Porter’s secured as 20-year lease agreement signed


The future of popular independent Cardiff bar and music venue Porter's, which also hosts Cardiff's pub theatre The Other Room, is finally secure, with a 20-year lease now agreed and signed for a bigger venue, spread across three floors, at the top end of Barrack Lane.

Expected to open just after the summer following extensive renovation works, the new venue aims to maintain the character and ethos of the original Porter's - but in the words of owner Dan Porter, "do it better."

It was March 2021 when the news broke that the venue would have to leave its current home in Harlech Court, as the landlord had plans to develop the site.

Sitting beneath an elaborate chandelier, in an old velvet armchair left behind from the café that once occupied the site on Barrack Lane, Dan explained that it "didn't come a surprise to me. It would have been very easy to get despondent, but I couldn't change what was inevitable, so I just had to turn something that many people would see as a negative, into a positive."

One of the first steps Dan took was to reach out to Cardiff Council to see how they might be able to help. "They've been fantastic, I really can't fault them at all, they've been very generous with their time, helping us identify potential venues, facilitate conversations and broker meetings, being there for advice. It's just been nice to have people that I felt I could turn to, who I felt were listening, who I felt understood the situation, and what it was I was trying to do to make the best of a bad situation."

In collaboration with the Council a number of potential new venues were identified and eventually Dan settled on a venue just visible "if you stand at our current front door and look beyond the left of the Admiral building."

Currently in need of a lot of renovation work before opening for drinks or hosting its first gigs and productions, Dan has big plans for the new venue, explaining that he's keen to use the larger space to "increase, diversify and enhance our cultural offering, not just to audiences, but also to makers of art, music, and theatre."

"The new building definitely allows us to put on more things, provide more content, service more crowds, and will mean we can build on what we already have and become a real focal point, and a serious player within that grander cultural ecosystem of Cardiff and Wales."

Asked what he's most excited about for the new venue, he takes a moment to think before replying: "I'm excited to discover what we can achieve here, because even though I have an idea of what I think we can achieve, or what I'd like to achieve, I don't know, and that will be a really interesting discovery."

Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Events, Cllr Jennifer Burke, said: "City's grow and change constantly, but Cardiff wouldn't be Cardiff without independent venues like Porter's. We're focussed on enhancing the music and cultural offer in the city and I'm delighted that we've been able to support them to find a new home, where they will be able to thrive for years to come."

The Other Room Artistic Director, Dan Jones, said:"The Other Room will continue to create theatre in a space where theatre ought to not exist, keeping all of the charm and authenticity that came with our first home. And with our inimitable hosts Porter's, we are looking forward to the challenge of taking The Other Room to the next level."