PENARTH gin bar Gin 64 has been crowned the best gin bar in all of Wales.

The bar on Victoria Road, just opposite Penarth Station, has won the Wales Prestige Gin Bar of the Year award.

The bar opened in October 2018 and has featured in the Sunday Times and was the subject of an episode of a BBC documentary series, Young, Welsh and Pretty Minted.

The family-owned bar was originally a butcher's, with some of the decor remaining such as parallel bars used for hanging poultry and vintage wall tiles.

It was decorated entirely by owner Jacques Avilés.

Mr Avilés said: "We are over the moon to have won this award, it's made the whole journey of starting the business back in 2018 and the ups and downs of navigating through the Covid pandemic worth it.

"To know our hard work has firstly not gone unnoticed and secondly to be voted the best in Wales makes it all the more enjoyable."

Mr Avilés said that the bar does not focus on any one unique aspect but endeavours to ensure everything that they do is of the highest quality.

He is proud that at the bar, "the service never dips" and that the bar has yet to receive a single negative review.

To that end, the bar does not serve food as Mr Avilés does not want the bar to be a place that is "good for drinks but bad for food".

This made life difficult during the lockdowns for the Covid pandemic as the only option for the business was to completely close.

Mr Avilés said that the uncertainty of the times made things hard and he feels that businesses were not given enough support with Covid rules.

"During the various lockdowns I lost two business partners and had to carry on with it on my own," said Mr Avilés.

"Whilst Covid was happening we had to batten down the hatches and made sure we got the most out of every penny - keeping morale up was the hardest part.

"When we came back after the big lockdown it was mad, we'd forgotten things we were used to doing.

"Everyone in hospitality lost staff, so there was an added stress of training staff who might not have worked in hospitality before whilst also treating the place like a doctor's surgery.

"It made a social environment completely unsociable.

"But there is a big community spirit here, the minute the doors were open people were back in here."

That community spirit is what drives business to the bar, with the majority of the clientele coming living in Penarth.

However, as the Gin 64's reputation has grown people have come from as far as Norfolk to try some of the roughly 150 gins served at the bar.

The prize gin sold at the bar is undoubtedly Penarth Gin, a dry gin launched by the bar in 2019.

It has been sold all over the world and as the bottle features Penarth Pier, is "the perfect gift from the town", according to Mr Avilés.

There are variants of the gin, such as a pink gin and a limited edition RNLI version.

£5 from every sale of the RNLI Penarth Gin goes directly to the RNLI.

The next step for the bar is to open a new venue, with plans being formed for a new bar in Christmas 2023.

Sadly the new bar will not be in Penarth, but Mr Avilés feels that the Penarth bar has proved the concept of a small, high class bar in a predominantly middle class area.

Locations have been mooted but not finalised, with Pontcanna and Monmouth being considered.