The Dinorben Arms

The Dinorben Arms, Bodfari, Denbighshire

Although from the front it appears fairly modest, this pub had been greatly extended at the rear. For many years it featured in the Good Pub Guide and enjoyed a reputation as a destination dining venue.

Edit 8 June 2017: As reported in the comments, this pub has now reopened under the auspices of Brunning & Price.

38 comments:

  1. This pub holds great memories.
    As a child our family would meet there and enjoy the "smorgesbord". hot and cold buffet that was revolutionary at the time (70's).
    Through to mid-life I made a habit of of travelling there(often hundreds of miles) for this childhood treat.
    Through the years the quality of the food, upkeep of the building/grounds and popularity of the pub greatly decreased and sadly the pub is now closed and unlikely to ever be re-opened.
    A small part of my life has been lost, but great memories last forever.

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    1. It has now reopened after being shut for 10 years ,it opened in April after a 2million pound renovation

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    2. I understand from a Brunning & Price insider that, in its early days, the Dinorben is smashing its budgets.

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  2. What a coincidence!
    The only post is today and I too remember this pub.
    In the 80s the huge car park was always full but throughout the 90s and early 2000s it was in steady decline.
    We visited in 2005, and the "buffet" included cold baked beans!!
    Yeah how the mighty have fallen as they say.

    :-(

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  3. I never went in it myself - once tried to about twenty years ago but concluded it was a bit overpoweringly foody. It still features as a "Lucky Dip" in the 2006 Good Pub Guide, although the interior is described as "well worn". Perhaps a classic example of a once renowned pub that started to rest on its laurels and then went steadily downhill into oblivion.

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  4. I was a cook at the Dinorben in the 80?s early 90's,Saturdays was always busy could do over 300 meals.
    I would love it to be reopened

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    1. I too remember this place from my childhood. The memories of climbing the steps to the kids play area to reach the sand pit and swings then the clamber over the stone wall to the tiny but picturesque graveyard adjacent. I had my first alcoholic beverage here when I was 14 (a snakebite and black supplied by my brother) so that is a worthy of note mention.

      To the ex-chef - is there any truth to the reports of ghostly apparitions and goings-on that are well-documented on the web?

      P.S. If I ever come into some money or win the lottery I will re-open this pub under the JD Wetherspoon banner as it would thrive that way in my opinion.

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    2. I hope you dont , Wetherspoons ugh! Terrible pub......they are the ones that are closing the small independent pubs

      Cant belive you would consider it......

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    3. Any chance of the recipe for the chicken rough please Chef? My father in law used to take my wife here when she was a kid and would love to re-live the taste!!

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    4. It reopened this April and looks very smart

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  5. I ate here many many times in the 1990's and even held eating competitions with my friends as it was an all you could eat place, I am very sad to see it now gone..

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  6. As a family we were regulars at the Dinorben from the early 80`s right up to the end,travelling from Chester.
    Sounds boring but our order was always the same, 3 chicken curries and 1 steak pie and chips,great food.
    Saw a steady decline in custom in the last few years though and it came as no surprise to turn up one night to fing it closed,sad but great memories.

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  7. Pissed off!!! Earlier today on way home to Chester was going to call in to try to re-live some of our great 80's memories and found site hidden behind some new houses and shut. As a Pub owner myself I understand what does or can happen to many venues but still it's a sad time when somewhere as iconic closes - for whatever reason. RIP Dinorben Arms.

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  8. Was just talking about the duck a la orange, my fave from the smorgasbord c.1979-82. Googled the pub as an idea for a spring trip (if winter ever ends!) What a big disappointment .. another fab old pub lost :-(

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  9. This pub hold many memories for me and my family too. My parents were the first to go before I came along and it is their 40th Anniversary in a few weeks. I remember the old wishing well and "home made veg soup and Chicken rough" My dinner used to be served by the same 2 people every time, I think his name was David and a nice lady with a limp. If I was a good girl and ate my dinner I got to exchange my flag in my chicken for a dessert. Sad to see the old place in rack and ruin. Just wish I could buy it and bring it back to it's former glory.

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  10. I remember this place going back to late 60's and 70's. I remember it as the old original pub and when it was extended and became commercialised, it had a number of owners and alterations over the years. In the early days it was famous for its "Chicken Rough" Chicken & Chips in a straw basket, later health & safety prevented the old basket so it was served in a dish, the food range increased over the years, the place was full, we all travelled from the Wirral on a regular basis, happy days. J.

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  11. How sad, I stumbled on this site, intending to make a visit for lunch. I also travelled from the Wirral firstly with parents, then hubby and then with children. Loved the "scampi and chicken rough", the well in the bar, the collection of whiskeys and the gorgeous desserts. So sorry it closed. Thanks for the memories.

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  12. What a pity it has closed. Was a great place to eat. Good food, good value. Had a good reputation. We used to go in big groups from the Wirral on a Saturday night.

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  13. How sad this place has closed down ,I have very happy memories going there with my mum dad and young family in the 70,s,is there anyone out there willing to take a chance and reopen this once popular venue

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  14. My mother and father used to take us there quite regularly as kids. I'll never forget their prawn cocktails and chicken and chips (in a basket), followed by a mint chocolate bomb with a blob of artificial cream on top! Oh and the wishing well.

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  15. We used to go here with my mum and dad when we stayed at the caravan site so sad its closed down remember it as being a fab pub never ate there as used to go the pub on the main road but had many a drink

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  16. Anyone remember that the Dinorben Arms sponsored Richard Peacock's formula Ford racing car in the 70's? He was a quite successful driver and went on to set up the Aintree Racing Drivers school, and later ran the Anglesey Racing Circuit. Ah, memories!

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    1. I certainly remember it well, just as you describe it. I am hardly like to forget the place as my former wife used to meet her paramour there ... say more!

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  17. Does anyone remember that the Dinorben Arms used to sponsor well known racing driver Richard Peacock and his Formula Ford racing car? He was quite successful and went on to set up the Aintree Racing Drivers School, and later ran the Anglesey Racing Circuit. Good memories!

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  18. Had my 21st birthday celebration in this pub. Good memories.

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  19. Visited here many times in the 90's and early 00's for my birthday with family the smorgasbord was great my family has been going to the pub for yeArs for the food. Sad to see it shut now

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  20. I have spent many a time in the Dinorben arms enjoying a lovely meal.
    It was a smashing place to take a young lady, all we have now are the likes of weatherspoons or real ale pubs that are lovely but don't do grub :(

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  21. I'm a Liverpool novelist and having just had my latest book accepted, decided to have a go at writing my memoirs, which today included that time in the late sixties when my husband was a diving officer with Liverpool Subaqua and we'd go with a group to Anglesey. Most times on the return journey we'd stop off at the Dinorben Arms for a pub meal and a drink. Happy memories. I just googled to see if it was still there. Alas, it's gone, just like our old street in Liverpool. Never expected to read so many people's memories of it.

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    1. Reopened April 2017 why not revisit (2millionpound revamp)

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  22. My husband took me there for our first date, we had quite a few there afterwards, always had a lovely time, such a shame it's closed :(

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  23. in the days I remember it early nineties it was beautiful. i really wish I could get photos of it view from tbe car park side. I remember it all lit up. on tbe hill the fountain tbe. Suit of armour. Of prince Henrys. The little alcoves where you could sit. Privately. The log fires in winter whar a gorgeous place when i went tbere the food gorgeous the histiry the atmosphere what happened. There in bodfari i went there once before it closed. And. People had gone and carved graffiti in those gorgeous oak benches. In tbe alcoves. Thetr was non to equal it around here in the days i remember it first class. Tragic there are no photos of inside tben and out from tbe other side thete are only obe or two of tbe church side i have searched the net but cant find any photos. Of how it was then shame it has special memories for me

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  24. one of the fondest times here was one Christmas with all the family here for Christmas day dinner and afterwards sitting in the alcove and giving presents out to my grandchildren as Santa. .

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  25. You lucky people, the Dinorben Arms is reopening!

    Props to Brunning and Price...

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  26. the pub was redesigned by my Dad Roy Croft DipArch RIBA in about 1969/70. It ran successfully for years after the renovation and was, as some have noted, well-known for 'chicken in the basket'... was a must-see on the way from Prenton to my sister's boarding school in Denbigh (Howells)... forget the owner's name, Hopgood maybe or something like that?

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    1. The owner's name was Gilbert Hopwood,he bought the pub off his mother in 1966.He owned it all the way through until late '90s/2000 when he sold it to the idiot who ran it down

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  27. I always knew it would re-open and was just waiting for the right people to recognise it's potential again. I grew up in the village, it was our family local and my first job during school hols and weekend was waitressing there, in fact it put me through Uni. I'm pretty certain I will have served many of the folk posting here. Wonderful that you all have such good memories. Roll on April for the re-opening!

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  28. It's open again and is wonderful. Had chicken and chips in a basket there two days ago....a definite 'must go really soon'

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  29. I still have the old menu in perfect condition from the early eighties I will be taking it with me when I visit in a couple of weeks time it's not far from my home in Wrexham

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