Painscastle, Builth Wells LD2 3JL
It is hard to say what is the most striking thing about this pub - the unusual name; the wonderful countryside surrounding it; its reputation for good food and drink: these are three that immediately come to mind. In addition, its location in the middle of a small village makes it a magnet for locals and visitors alike. For us, it was the stunning scenery of the surrounding Black Mountains. We had arranged to meet a friend in the village but were stymied by the lack of mobile phone signal (the pub sells this as a positive feature of tranquillity, but occasionally it's a nuisance), so we popped into the Ox for a warming drink. At 2.30 on a Sunday afternoon the place was two thirds full of people finishing Sunday lunches, who were also no doubt at least two thirds full!
We had eaten "brunch" so were not envious of the diners, but did sneak a look at the weekday menu for future reference. This revealed a good list of hearty looking pub meals.
Nick was disappointed that of the three real ales on the bar the two local ones were off, and he had to make do with Doom Bar, but a single house brandy warmed me up a treat. Recommended.