The Angel Hotel is one of Cardiff’s oldest “grand hotels”. In the 1960s its cocktail bar was popular with Cardiff’s gay community, though the management preferred them to frequent its Castle Bar.
Though, the present building is late Victorian, the Angel Hotel can trace its history back to the 17th Century, when a hotel of that name stood on what was then called Angel Street. It’s hosted some famous names over the years, including Gregory Peck and Marlene Dietrich, but it made the headlines in 1989 when Anthony Perkins, star of Psycho and onetime lover of Tab Hunter, was arrested there for possession of marijuana. What is perhaps lesser known is that in the 1960s it was a place where Cardiff’s nascent gay community met and socialised.
“The cocktail bar was very popular. Management preferred the gay guys to go in the Castle Bar. After closing time we would often go back to each other’s houses and dance to Doris Day and Alma Cogan records whilst dragged up.”