Boasting three thriving universities and a handful of international venues, it’s not surprising that Cardiff has a huge range of pubs, bars and clubs which are ready and raring to keep everyone happy on a night out. With plush pubs, busy bars and some cracking clubs to choose from, Cardiff is the perfect place for you to party. From budget beers to fabulous cocktails, rock and indie to house and dance, check out our guide to going out in Europe’s newest capital city and work out where you’ll party your nights away during your visit. Want to be close to all the pub, bar and club action? You’ll find a Premier Inn hotel in Cardiff that’s near to all the action, so you can start and end your night out in style.
Nightlife in Cardiff
Pub culture is right at the heart of Welsh social life - not surprising when there’s one on every corner! From cosy Victorian boozers to the most happening craft ale hotspots, you’ll find plenty of pubs to choose from in Cardiff - and most of them are just a short walk (or wobble) away from Premier Inn’s Cardiff City Centre hotel.
For a traditional pub which dates back to the 1880s, head to the City Arms. Nestled in the shadows of Cardiff's Principality Stadium, it’s not surprising that this watering hole is a favourite with rugby fans. But sport isn’t the only thing that’s on the menu here. Serving a fantastic selection of delicious ales, beers and ciders straight from the cask, tap or bottle, this pub goes down just as well with beer drinkers as with sports fans. The walls are quirkily decorated with pump clips of the most popular brews from all corners of the globe. If you can’t settle on one beer, you can always sample a few with the pub’s third pint tapas beer special.
Haven’t managed to bag a ticket to the big game? Take a trip to the Old Arcade. Cardiff’s premier sports pub offers you a great view of all the action - and an electric atmosphere to match the Principality! With rugby memorabilia lining the walls, there’s also a menu full of Welsh favourites. From mouth-watering Celtic Pride Rump Steak to heart-warming Welsh Rarebit, you’ll definitely get a taste of Wales at this pub. Add to the list a great selection of cask ales, a pool table, a good sized beer garden and DJs keeping the party going till the early hours and you’ll find this pub ticks all the boxes.
For a more modern take on the pub experience, check out Newport craft beer brewers Tiny Rebel. A popular hangout for beer and burger fans, this pub has a huge variety of cask and keg beers and ales and a menu full of the finest fast food - from pizza to pulled pork. Not sure where to start? The friendly bar staff are in the know about all things beer related so don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations and try some samples before you make your choice. When you’ve selected a pint, take your pick from the five different themed rooms that spread across this two-floor Victorian building and settle into the evening’s entertainment, which includes board game, quizzes and folk nights.
Traditional pubs in Cardiff
Cardiff’s compact size means you can get from last orders to dance floor in minutes flat - meaning there’s no excuse not to end your night with a boogie. But where’s the best place to throw some shapes? That all depends on what you’re into!
For a night full of nostalgia, take a trip back in time at Retro. This throwback party spot is a 90s bar where people dress to impress, channelling all the icons of fashion and film from the decade. If you’re in town for a hen or stag do, this could be the perfect place to party away your last hours of single life. With its fun retro music, regular themed nights and great drink promotions – including a free bottle of Prosecco – this venue is always a popular nightspot for bride and grooms-to-be. If you’re visiting on a Thursday, why not test your singing skills with a bit of karaoke?
Serious clubbers (and celeb spotters) should head to GLAM, known for its weekly house and dance nights, guest DJs and student nights. Split across two floors and with an atmospheric roof terrace, you can take your pick of places to show off your moves - or just sit back and enjoy the tunes. With Cardiff’s only VVIP area, The Gallery, this club is known as a celebrity hot spot. Music stars who have been seen partying in GLAM over the years include Kano, The Black Eyed Peas and Kid Ink, to name just a few. Who will you spot on your visit?
Rock and indie fans should head to Clwb Ifor Bach, a club that's great for live music. Also known as Clwb or The Welsh Club by locals, this venue has hosted some low-key shows by big names, plus lots of local bands and homegrown acts. Although the focus is on guitar music, it also has dance music club nights. If you’re visiting at the weekend, head to Clwb Ifor Bach for Cardiff’s longest running Saturday club night – Dirty Pop. No gimmicks, no attitude and quite possibly the most joyous night in the city.
If you want to get the party started, there are lots of chic cocktail places and buzzing bars to try out in Cardiff city centre.
If you’re looking for a small and stylish cocktail bar serving creative cocktails with a bit of theatre, then Lab 22 is the place for you. With luxurious surroundings and a huge selection of classic and contemporary drinks to sip, this bar is a great place to start your evening out. Why not try regulars’ favourite the Smoky Jack? This delicious mix of whisky and vermouth is smoked with maple wood and served with lapsang souchong tea and dry ice. Feeling indecisive? Lab 22 offers a fantastic seven-course taster menu of bespoke cocktails, so you don’t have to choose!
For a bar with a great view of the waterfront, head to The Dock. Perched on the water’s edge at Cardiff Bay, the great terrace and balcony at this bar mean it’s the perfect spot for whiling away the evening with a glass of wine as you watch the sun setting over the bay. If the weather’s being unpredictable and you need to sit inside, the expansive floor-to-ceiling windows mean you won’t miss out on the view in this spacious, light and airy bar. Whether you want to have a quiet drink with some flavoursome international cuisine or get your evening off to a great start with some large sharing cocktails, The Dock is the place for you.
Retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city centre and sip delicious drinks in the Vanilla Rooms. Located in the basement of Cardiff’s grandest gothic building, Park House, this cocktail bar has award-winning mixologists on hand, ready to create your favourite cocktail. With over 100 different cocktails in their repertoire and one of the most extensively stocked bars in Wales, you’ll not be short on a choice of drinks at the Vanilla Rooms. With its own discreet private entrance, this bar creates that exclusive feel, making it perfect for birthdays, anniversaries, engagement parties and any occasion you want to celebrate.