Dylan Thomas & the History of the No Sign Bar
To visit the No Sign Bar is to take a trip through the truly memorable history and culture of Swansea. Established in 1690, the No Sign Bar is widely regarded as Swansea’s oldest pub. The wine cellars date back to the 1400’s and in 1930 were featured as the Wine Vaults in Dylan Thomas’s short story “The Followers”.
Formerly Munday’s Wine Merchants, the name “No Sign” originated from the legislation of licencing. It was a legal requirement for each public house selling alcohol to have a recogniseable sign. However as the building was a bar and not a public house, a sign had not been allocated. This was soon rectified and the premises was officially presented with the title of “No Sign”. As for the building itself, it is listed as Grade II and was “the first site of Swansea’s Chamber of Commerce and one of the first recorded libraries in Swansea.” It has been licensed throughout its recorded history being in turn brew house, brewery, wine and spirits merchants and Public House.
The 1930s was a golden era for the City of Swansea and with musicians, writers and artists among its regular patronage, the No Sign became a significant creative bohemian hotspot. Most notably of these was the Welsh poet and beloved scoundrel Dylan Thomas. He and his creative contemporaries became known as “the Kardomah gang” and would be frequently found reveling in the image of the drunken artist. As a result the No Sign is one of the significant venues included in the cultured literary pub crawl by the Dylan Thomas Experience.
“I liked the taste of beer, its live, white lather, its brass-bright depths, the sudden world through the wet-brown walls of the glass, the tilted rush to the lips and the slow swallowing down to the lapping belly, the salt on the tongue, the foam at the corners.”