The infamous Swansea Kingsway pub to be redeveloped into a live music venue
It’s a venue that’s no stranger to live music – but after being taken over by veteran rockers, it’s set to become the 11th.
The Hanbury has survived the slings and arrows endured by the Kingsway of Swansea over the decades, from an era when the street was the center of the city’s nighttime party scene to the tough years for the country’s main streets, then the pandemic.
Earlier this year, Admiral Taverns advertised a new licensee to take over the venue, and now the keys have been handed over to a couple who rubbed shoulders with Def Leppard, received Guns ‘n’ Roses moments, and have scoured the continent in search of raw punk and heavy rock.
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Jay and Kelly Jones have become the new licensees of the pub which opened in 1959 and was once the favorite haunt of white-collar professionals.
And they are planning to create a new concert hall in what is the Kingsway’s last pub.
âWe’ve always loved music,â Jay said.
âKelly is a rocker, so I love punk music. We used to travel around Europe to see bands in my van. Berlin is my favorite – it has some of the best bars with a lot of character.
âOne of my fondest memories of live music was being on the Def Leppard tour bus in 2015 and taking the stage at Motorpoint Arena.
âI owe this memory to Kelly’s friends who worked on this tour.
âThey even went on tour with Guns’n’Roses and gave Kelly a signed drum skin for her 40th birthday. The whole band signed it except for Axl Rose, who declined. nevertheless gave him one of his picks.
âIronically, we didn’t meet at a rock bar, we actually met at Popworld on Wind Street 8 years ago.
âBut you usually won’t find us there. The office was no longer on our street and when it changed owners we, along with many others, started drinking at Hanbury instead.
âThis place is fantastic. Great music, great beer – this is a real pub. It is owned by the same brewery as our other two pubs in Llantwit Major. We told the brewery that if it ever became available, we would take it.
“So here we are. Two months to receive the keys.”
With the Kingsway undergoing a dramatic transformation, including a five-story building and Â£ 33million for up to 600 tech jobs at the site of the former Oceana club – plus high-rise student accommodation popping up all around downtown – Jay and Kelly hope they are in a good position when the last pandemic restrictions are lifted and life returns to something near normal.
The pub has already hosted live music, but there are now plans to convert its abandoned first floor, which currently houses perched pigeons, into a performance hall.
Jay said: âWe are planning to transform the pub but we will stay true to its roots. The Hanbury is a Swansea institution, and it has a special charm, we must keep it.
âThe previous tenants stopped the live music, but we relaunched it as soon as we could. We didn’t make a lot of money because we were limited by the number of people we could have here.
âIn fact, we sometimes lost money, but we wanted to show that we still support live music. It was also difficult for the artists because they haven’t been able to perform for 18 months. In fact, c was probably good that some weren’t playing in front of a big crowd because they were a little rusty!
âI was a carpenter before I became a homeowner so one of my first jobs was to build a stage for the pub so that we could host some great concerts of rock, punk, ska and all that is a little different.
âThe music scene is strong in Swansea with great venues like The Vault Swansea, The Griffin, Swansea, Jack Murphys and The Bunkhouse Swansea which is the other pub and concert venue on The Kingsway. We want to add to this big list.
âAs part of the transformation, we are also creating a craft beer bar, to the left of the main entrance.
âOur long term plan for the first floor is to convert it into a second live performance hall to accommodate live bands, comedy nights and potentially drag nights.
âIt’s such an exciting time for us, and we can’t wait to get off to a good start. “
Remember, if it’s too strong, you’re too old.
The Hanbury is a member of Swansea BID and is supported by the Big Heart of Swansea.