Walking down Castle Arcade on a Saturday morning, you might not expect to find so many unusual eateries and unique, specialist stores. Many small businesses have developed their niche in this arcade, growing a loyal customer base and gaining a reputation for their unique qualities. We had a look at some of the best unique and independent stores that call Castle Arcade their home.
Starting life as a vintage clothing store, Coffee Barker has exploded on the High Street, opening sister eateries Barker Tea House, Rum & Fizz and Gin & Juice all within a stone’s throw from their doorstep. Eclectic décor reminiscent of continental Paris certainly feels like the perfect setting to cup a warm latte in your hands and people-watch from the comfort of a wingback armchair. Pair with their soup of the day, and you’ve got the perfect cosy afternoon.
If the invention of the iPad left you longing for the smell of a well-sifted book, look no further than Troutmark. A treasure trove of second-hand books, rare and familiar alike, the collection has been carefully sectioned and alphabetised so you can find exactly what you’re looking for. Still, it’s easy to lose yourself in the rows upon rows of books, comics and magazines, if you’re not careful.
The boozy brother of the famous Wally’s delicatessen in Royal Arcade, Wally’s Liquor Cellar opened after the original store ran out of room to display its ever-expanding selection. As well as stocking over 150 different varieties of craft beer, Wally’s Liquor Cellar also carries fine wines from Welsh vineyards, gin made just down the road from Cardiff city centre, and possibly the largest selection of Penderyn whiskey outside the distillery itself. Pop along most Saturdays from 12-4pm and join one of their tasting masterclasses to sample some of the world’s finest spirits.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a team more dedicated to their inventory than the staff at board-game stockists, Rules of Play. Each staff member is brimming with knowledge and recommendations, serving even the most novice of players to the ultra-hardcore. They host a number of events regularly, including D&D campaigns, family game nights, and the ever-popular BoardGameBar, held in some of Cardiff’s best bars and breweries.
Tucked away in the balcony of Castle Arcade is Buddug, an independent Welsh jeweller owned and run by Buddug Humphreys. Buddug returned to Cardiff in 2015, after studying and opening her first collaborative shop in London. She works mainly with enamel, layering materials to create a desired pattern, using her own techniques to produce stunning jewellery, prints and homeware. She also runs workshops from her shop and around Wales.
Christopher King set up the first Cardiff Violins store in the bay in 1983. Since moving into their space upstairs in Castle Arcade in 1993, they’ve expanded threefold, adding new try-out rooms and workshop areas. As well as being Cardiff’s best independent stockists of violins and stringed instruments, Chris and the team provide personal set-ups and individual expert care that will leave you a customer for life. Their list of testimonials stretched from Cardiff’s own back yard, to Rotterdam, Bueno Aires, and beyond.
With two adjacent stores in Castle Arcade, Madame Fromage is much more than a specialty cheese shop. Enjoy homemade cheese platters and locally sourced foods in their dining area, book onto one of their wine and cheese taster nights, or even have them cater to your special event. With over 150 different cheeses in stock at any one time, this is the perfect stop for foodies and cheese lovers everywhere. They’ve also announced a brand-new expansion and will be opening a retro-inspired homeware store in Castle Arcade- proving that Madame is unique in more ways than one.
If you’ve ever looked for a piece of clothing and not been able to find it, often it’s because you’ve been looking in the wrong place. Princes & Paupers, a unique treasure trove to vintage hunters and re-makers alike, salvages a great selection of vintage clothing, offers reworking/alterations and has its own line of handmade denim items. If there’s something specific you’ve been looking for, they also offer a finder’s service, and can even post it to
Since opening in 2014, unusual independent Science Cream has been named one of the Time’s top 10 UK ice creams shops, as well as being named a best cheap eat in the Guardian. The store’s reputation as the best (and only!) liquid nitrogen ice cream shop in Wales has made them a popular destination for birthday parties, corporate events and more. Watch as their expert staff whip up fresh ice cream in front of your very eyes, frozen almost instantly by the liquid nitrogen. Pop into the shop and sample their ever-changing menu of flavours, available from Spring-Autumn.
Being vegan can get a bit boring if you’re not a huge fan of quinoa and chickpeas. The good news is, Greazy Vegan are uniquely positioned to inject proper junk food back into the vegan lifestyle. Situated just outside the castle on the end of the arcade, Greazy Vegan tempts even the most carnivorous of passers-by with their mouth-watering, seriously succulent burgers and delicious ‘chickun’ wings. Where else could you possibly find a vegan kebab in Cardiff?