Mathry sits on a hill about six miles from Fishguard off the A487 between Fishguard and Saint Davids. There has been a settlement here since the iron age and the village is very popular with visitors to Pembrokeshire.
Mathry has one pub, The Farmers Arms which has just been taken over by Anna and Mike Goggin who have big plans for this busy little hub.
I asked Anna if this was their first experience of running a pub.
She laughed, “It’s quite bizarre really. we discovered that we had both kept pubs in Swindon some years ago, but we didn’t actually meet until April 2017 when we were both working for a delivery company here in Pembrokeshire.”
In early October of 2017 Mike took Anna to St Ishmaels. “ He told me that this was the church we would be married in. It was breathtaking. ” A few days later he proposed with a haribo ring and Anna said yes.
Eleven months later the deed was done and the couple began to look about for a joint venture. They had thought to take on the Lobster Pot at Marloes, but it wasn’t to be. When the owner Jason Slater made contact to say he had another pub for them, they were delighted.
“ We were asked to do a cooking demo.” Anna explains, “ The Farmers Arms is very busy, particularly in the summer, and is well-known for its excellent food. We needed to prove we could maintain its excellent reputation.”
They went to the Masons Arms and made use of their kitchen. Anna asked that instead of cooking what was on the menu, they attempt something different. She wanted to show them what they could do. Her own choice of dishes were chicken and mushroom risotto, Mexican enchiladas, prawn cocktails, and Mikes buffalo steaks. Her own signature dish, a cottage pie proved such a hit that a guest in the pub asked for a serving.
The dishes were highly praised and they moved into the Farmers Arms in February 2019.
I asked Anna what plans they have for the future of the pub.
“We have kept most of the staff,” she tells me, “and they are wonderful. Chloe, the excellent chef who has been here for five years, is staying with us, so our regulars are delighted. We have added some real ales, Double Dragon, Directors, and Doom Bar. White Shield is coming soon. We have a whole shelf of gins, many of them from Wales and we also sell traditional Welsh ciders.”
There is an extensive range of bar snacks ( Non of your cheap nasty crisps, Anna insists.) with more coming in and a good range of hot drinks.
Anna explains that the menu will remain the same for the time being as it has been designed to ensure any of the guests who rent holiday homes here each year can enjoy a different meal each night of the week.
“The specials change every week and 90% of the food is home-made, from garlic bread to tartar sauce.”
Have they encountered any problems since they moved in?
“We have had to undertake some building work. The original garden room was built over a well and had sprung a leak. The water is now draining away but a new floor is planned along with a new roof. We are waiting on planning permission but anticipate the work being completed by Easter. When it’s completed it will be available for functions.”
Anna adds, “ There are some steps at the entrance to the pub but please tell people there is disabled access through the garden room.”
The pub also has an outside patio with ten tables for what will hopefully be a glorious spring and summer.
The first big event for the new landlords will of course be Mothers day on Sunday 31st March.
Anna tells me “We will have three sittings on the day, at 12 , 3 and 6’o’clock for a two or three course menu. We anticipate being very busy so booking is advisable.”
What else is in the offing?
“We will be organising beer and cider festivals throughout the year and we are bringing back the Pool team, the Darts team , Quiz nights and Cocktail nights. Disco and live music are also planned. Later in the summer we will reinstate the Mathry Family Fun Day with a barbecue, lots of real ales, a bouncy castle, face painting and so much more.”
Sounds like a full programme. I just want to ask if dogs are welcome at the Farmers Arms?
Anna laughs, “Of course, she says, if they bring a well-behaved human with them.”
To find out more: The Farmers Arms Facebook page
Call : 01348 831284
The Farmers Arms is open 7 days a week from 12 until late.
Food is available: Monday to Friday: 12 to 2.30 and 5.30 to 9 p.m.
Saturday 12 to 9
Sunday 12.30 to 3 and 5.30 to 9