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‘Fancy dress priests’ barred by pub end up with a free round

A group of trainee priests were surprised to be turned away from a pub after a member of staff thought they were on a stag do.

The seven seminarians were initially barred from the City Arms in Cardiff on Saturday 29th July despite insisting their clothes were not fancy dress.

But they managed to get their celebratory pints on the house after the bar manager realised they were the real thing.

Fr Michael Doyle said the seven went to the pub in Quay Street to celebrate the ordination of Fr Peter McLaren at Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral of St David near Queen Street.

He said it was a double celebration because Fr McLaren was the second to be ordained to the priesthood in a week.

He added that the City Arms was a favourite of his colleagues including the Archbishop of Cardiff, George Stack.

Fr Doyle said: “They arrived at the City Arms and they were dressed wearing the clerical collar.

“The doorman basically said something along the lines of, ‘sorry gents, we have a policy of no fancy dress and no stag dos’.”

The doorman was good-natured but firm, and the students had started to leave when they were approached by the bar manager.

“He basically said, ‘you’re real, aren’t you?’,” said Fr Doyle.

“He invited them back in and when they walked back in the entire pub burst into a round of applause, and they had a free round off the City Arms.”

Fr Doyle said the group stayed in the pub most of the afternoon chatting to locals, and discovered that one of them shares the name of one of Brains’ brewery’s most popular ales.

“Fr Rob James decided to buy the barman a drink and, of course, one of the Brains’ beers in Wales is the Reverend James, so the Reverend Robert James bought a Rev James for the barman,” he said.

City Arms assistant manager Matt Morgan said: “At first one of our staff members thought the group were a stag party in fancy dress and suggested they might want to try another pub, as we generally have a quieter crowd of drinkers than others nearby.

“When we realised our mistake we quickly apologised to the priests and thankfully they were all great sports and saw the funny side of the situation.”

Fr Doyle said that such mix-ups were not uncommon and a drinker in another Cardiff bar had also asked the group whether they were on a stag do the previous weekend.

Picture: The City Arms in Cardiff where a group of trainee priests were surprised to be turned away from the pub after a doorman thought they were on a stag party.