what's on in cardiff

What's on in Cardiff

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nightlife in cardiff

Cardiff Nightlife

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Cardiff's reputation as a good place for a night out dates back to the 1840's when the crews of the ships loading coal in the Marquis of Bute's new east dock flocked ashore to the pubs and dives of Butetown. They were greeted with enthusiasm by the locals who soon found they possessed a natural talent for parting sailors from their money, a tradition that was to last for over a century. But the docks are no more and the last drunks were thrown out of the Casablanca and North Star Club donkey's years ago.

So where do you go these days for a night on the razz as we locals say?

Leaving aside the city centre for a moment, you may like to consider a stroll around some of the city's suburban pubs. There are a lot of them still - and unlike the town centre pubs, many haven't been tweaked and modernised to increase revenue - you can still find strip lights, ripped vinyl seats and formica if you know where to look.

There are a few new pubs and sadly many, many that have called 'time' for ever - from the New Sea Lock in the Docks (Cardiff Bay) via The Mitre in Llandaff to the Radyr Arms. Closed Pubs of Cardiff are shown in Grey text.

The City Centre

Cardiff is a popular destination for Hen and Stag nights and the catchment area for Cardiff's city centre pubs and clubs covers the whole of South Wales and beyond giving it a reputation for being lively especially on weekends.

If you're from outside the UK or Northern Europe, this can be startling at first as, unlike their continental cousins, younger brits do not believe in pacing themselves where alcohol is concerned and usually go all out to get drunk as quickly as possible.

When there are Rugby Matches on at the Millenium Stadium, the pubs in the town centre are very busy but the atmosphere is great. Cardiff is relatively small and the influx of thousands of supporters for both home and away teams makes a noticeable difference.

The mood is always good-humored even when Wales lose. ( Just as well then! )

The partying and drinking culture tends to attract the most publicity as it makes good copy for the media, but it can overshadow everything else that goes on in town at night.

Less thirsty visitors will be glad to hear that alongside the bars and clubs, there are also many great restaurants, cinemas, casinos and top concert venues.

While often noisy and boisterous, a night out partying in Cardiff is as safe as any big city, safer than most , and very few vistors experience violence or crime.

Cardiff's famous Pub Crawl

The Canton Mile - Start at the top of Cowbridge Road East and drink your way into town. Drink sensibly and keep off the shorts untill you've passed the Corporation or you won't make it!

All these hostelries are on or visible from Cowbridge road with the exception of the Insole which is down a side street on your left just after you pass Canton Post Office.

Ty Pwll Coch Take an Ely bus or a city line train to Waun-gron park. On leaving the station turn right and cross over Western Avenue at the traffic lights and follow the footpath through the small park into Lloyd Avenue. At the bottom of Lloyd Avenue, turn left then first right into Windway Road. The Ty Pwll is at the bottom of Windway Road. As it's closed since we first published, your first stop will be the Victoria Park.
Victoria Park Hotel

         man having a beer

Not far to go...

The Clive
The Maltings
The Insole
The Corporation
The Canton
The Canton Cross
The Goscombe
The Ivor Davies
The Admiral Napier
The Lamb and Flag Now an estate agents
The Crown Also an estate agents!
The Foresters  
The King's Castle  
The Royal Exchange  
The Wyndham Now an office
The Westgate

Traditional finishing point - although if you're still spitting feathers you could always go on to gain bonus points by visting Millers and the well hidden Mitre in Riverside. Or you could head north up Cathedral Road and try the Cricketers or siarad cymraeg in the Cayo Arms or the Mochyn Du - 'Peint o Stella os gwelwch yn dda' should get you started..

  Alas - since this crawl was first published, Millers Tavern (or the 'Coldstream' as it was in my day) has hung up the towels for the last time.

Cardiff Pubs ( external site - opens in new window)


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Cardiff Partying

Cardiff-based Photographer Maciej Dakowicz has produced some great pics of revellers in Cardiff.

If you've never been out for a night in one of the UK's party towns, it might come as a bit of a shock but don't let it worry you. Most of the pics are taken in a relatively small area and pretty late at night. The city centre extends over a large area and most of it is not quite this wild! It's practically compulsory to top off the nights drinking with a Kebab or curry n' chips in Caroline Street or 'chip alley' as it's familiarly known.

Fings 'aint what they used to be though. Could todays kids manage Club Mont-merence (Monty's), Smileys and the Moon, followed by a stroll under the bridge, for a bracer at the Casablanca club and a night-cap at the North Star?


Just over the bridge from the Castle, the areas of Pontcanna, Riverside and Canton converge on the Westgate Pub, traditional finishing point of the 'Canton Mile'. The Ale pilgrimage made by thousands of thirsty Cardiffians and visitors since the first tram clanked its way to Victoria park is still popular with students and stag do's.

The closure of some of the hostelries en-route has been at least partially offset by the welcome appearance of a couple of new refreshment spots and participants are also encouraged to wander off-piste and try the delights of such places as Chapter or The Butchers (in Market Road behind the Corporation).

Less frantic than the city centre, Canton is a popular area for a night out without the noise.

You can set the ambience yourself - either stay solidly working class with a pint and a game of darts around Cowbridge rd or wander north over the border into Pontcanna for a glass of Chablis and a chat in Cardiff's very own mini Hampstead.


Canton has a great selection of of restaurants and fast-food joints, including Italian, Chinese and some brahmin Indians!

Most are open late especially on Friday and Saturday nights.