Gareth Bale has announced his involvement in a new bar opening soon in Cardiff city centre. Par 59 – a unique entertainment venue encompassing a restaurant, bar and mini-golf course – will occupy an 18,000 sq ft site beneath the Capitol Shopping Centre. Once complete, it will boast two mini-golf courses (for adults only) as well as two large bar and dining rooms.
It marks another step into the hospitality industry for the Welsh football star, after the opening of Elevens Bar & Grill in 2017, which saw him partnered with Brains Brewery. In an interview with Buzz, the Wales and Real Madrid forward revealed his excitement about this new project, in partnership with Cardiff brand The DEPOT.
“I enjoyed being part of the development of Elevens, and seeing it grow,” Bale told Buzz. “And I love my golf, everyone knows! It’s just something that we thought would make a great match for the city of Cardiff. It’s another spot for people to hang out and have a bit of fun over a game of golf!”
The Cardiff-born footballer was also keen to “give something back to the city”. “It’s become one of the best cities in the UK,” he said. “And [Par 59] is something we think could make Cardiff that little bit better.”
“We’ve been running the DEPOT for the last five years,” said Nick Saunders, founder and Managing Director of The DEPOT. “I’ve teamed up with Jamie [Humphrys], who is the director of Elevens with Gareth. Over a game of golf, we came up with the idea for Par 59, and have been working on it for the last 6 to 12 months.”
The venue will also host two independent kitchens, Sushi Life (offering Japanese food and sushi) and Dirty Bird (serving buttermilk fried chicken). “With DEPOT,” added Saunders, “we’ve been quite closely linked to street food over the years. As this is going to be a premium offering, we really wanted to hone it down to some of the best in the city… This gives an opportunity for smaller food outlets like Dirty Bird and Sushi Life to have a city centre location.”
Gareth Bale is famously teetotal, and so will be working with the venue’s head bartender to develop a range of alcohol-free cocktails. “Everybody knows I don’t drink,” he said. “But nowadays, some people are a bit more health-conscious, and don’t necessarily want to drink so much. To have the option of non-alcoholic cocktails, I think it’ll cater for everybody.” And what’s Bale’s favourite tipple? “When I go out, I always love a strawberry daiquiri – a non-alcoholic one, obviously!”
His love of golf is also no secret, but would he ever want to go into it professionally? “I’ve been up close and watched the professionals playing golf, and they really are at another level,” he replied. “Obviously I’m nowhere near that. After football, you never know… But no, I haven’t got any plans to go into it professionally.” What about crazy golf? “Well, I’ll have to see good I am when it opens!” he laughs.
Nick Saunders is building up something of an empire of vibrant venues across Cardiff. When asked what his advice to aspiring entrepreneurs starting out in this sector, he said: “The best advice would be to just push yourself and see… When you’re young, you’ve got nothing holding you back.”
As for Gareth Bale, it seems that his advice, whether in terms of sport or business, has the same core principle. “The most important advice I’ve ever been given is always to work hard,” said Gareth. “I think there’s no substitution for hard work. You get out what you put into whatever you do. With football, if you don’t work at it, you’re not gonna get any better. The same applies to business: if you don’t put your effort, time and care into it, it won’t be as good as it could be.”
To visit Par 59’s website, click here.
words SAM PRYCE