|| Cardiff has so many bars and pubs in the city centre – and now in the swanky Cardiff Bay area – that you will be hard pushed to choose where to start. So to help you on your way we’ve picked out our best of the bunch to give you a taste of what to expect when partying in the Welsh capital.
Let’s start off in the city centre where you’ll find an array of bars and pubs in the café quarter district.
The Welsh are great lovers of rugby so it’s no surprise that one of the busiest pubs in Cardiff is the Scrum Bar [map] on Park Place. With giant TVs at every turn this bar is dubbed as the next best thing to being there, so you'll have to arrive early as it's standing room only on big match days.
But on non-match days the bar becomes a hotspot for partygoers and clubbers and the upstairs area boasts a small dance floor and tables with private TVs. If you want to take the weight off your feet, while you're there, try sitting in one of the novelty seats around the bar, including the backseat of an Italian Job Mini.
Also on Park Place you’ll find Incognito [map], a café-bar that plays the latest sounds and offers fun drinks in a lively atmosphere. Converted from a Georgian house, the bar still retains the outside features, while inside the decor is young and funky with wooden tables and chairs, comfy sofas and a conservatory.
For a drinking experience with a difference check out one of Cardiff’s many theme bars such as the Oz Bar [map] on St Mary Street. Here you can grab yourself a ‘tinnie’ and join in the fun as the Australian beer and wine flows endlessly. The bar also boasts a mural of the Australian outback, life-sized kangaroos, loud dance music and huge TVs, which help to create a great atmosphere.
Close by is the Spanish theme bar Champers [map], which boasts a wine list of 120 different wines that go perfectly with the tasty tapas also on offer here.
If it’s a swanky, upmarket bar you’re after try RSVP [map] on St John Street, which has a bar and dance floor on the top floor, trendy seating, giant TV screens on every free wall and an extensive bar menu. This place attracts a younger, trendy clientele, especially on Fridays and Saturdays when the dance floor is packed and filled with sounds from the dance clubs and the charts.
Bar Med at The Friary is another of Cardiff’s classy bars with a wonderful Mediterranean feel, giant TVs, a dance floor and a great cocktail menu.
Or you could try Metropolis [map] on Charles Street, which has a brasserie style, a separate bar and regular happy hours on cocktails.
To enjoy a pint in the surroundings of a traditional pub, why not head to the Prince of Wales [map] on St Mary Street, which is part of the JD Wetherspoon chain. Set close to the city's bus station and built within an old theatre with many of the original features still in place, this is Cardiff’s biggest pub to date.
But, despite the big crowds it attracts, you can enjoy a surprisingly peaceful pint, as there’s no music and no big-screen TV. There is, however, a good menu offering light meals at reasonable prices.
If you’re planning your night out in the newly restored Cardiff Bay area of town then you’ll be pleased to know there is a good choice of trendy and traditional pubs here.
Located in the basement of the Cardiff Bay Hotel on Atlantic Wharf, Breezers [map] is a simple but upmarket bar with a regularly changing menu of pub grub.
In the heart of the posh Mermaid Quay complex you’ll find the Terra Nova bar [map], which is named after the ship on which Captain Scott set sail from Cardiff docks for Antarctica in 1910. The decor here has a nautical theme and there are lots of big sofas around the place, with newspapers and glossy magazines to flick through. There is also a restaurant on the first floor.
Rosie’s Bar [map] on the Atlantic Wharf complex is a modern, relaxed eatery by day, but at night there is an exciting buzz about the place as the music blares and the young clientele arrive dressed up to the nines.
Finally if you’re looking for a traditional pub in the heart of the Bay then check out The Packet Hotel, which is a popular haunt among the tourists and businesspeople staying close by. This pub, which is furnished with a late 19th century dark wood bar and old photographs of the docks, retains an old-fashioned feel despite the extensive modernisations going on around it.
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