The 10 Best Bars In And Around Cathays, Cardiff

India Leigh

Cathays is on the edge of Cardiff’s city centre and is where the majority of students live. Among the Victorian terraced houses are many great pubs and bars which cater to both students and locals – here are the 10 best.

The Woodville

1. The Woodville

Bar, Pub, Vegetarian, Pub Grub

The Woodville, affectionately known as The Woody, lies in the heart of Cathays. It is en route to the university, and is a student favourite. With two beer gardens, two pool tables and hosting a Sunday pub quiz, this bar always has something going on. On Mondays it hosts ‘Quids In,’ where people gather to enjoy rock-bottom priced drinks in return for the measly sum of £1 on the door. Any other day of the week, customers can enjoy the two meals for a cheap price while watching live sport on one of their many screens.

2. The Taf - Cardiff University Student Union

Bar, Pub, Pub Grub

Cardiff University Students Union
Situated in the student union, The Taf claims to sell the cheapest beer in Cardiff. With pints starting from as little as £1.50, their claim is hard to challenge. On rugby days, the place is heaving with students drinking double pint snakebites and taking advantage of the bargain food menu. With new deals everyday, the pub also hosts a bar exchange, open mic night and a Sunday carvery. The most recent addition is a burrito bar, open for lunch everyday.

3. KoKo Gorilaz

Bar, Pub, Restaurant, Pub Grub, Mexican, Chinese, Indian

KoKo Gorilaz
© Courtesy of KoKo Gorilaz
KoKo’s in Cardiff is one of the city’s most popular student venues, situated directly across from the university. This coffee lounge, bar and restaurant is open seven days a week, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, which makes it an ideal place for to chill out in.

The bar boasts all day sports coverage and an impressive selection of draught lagers and beers, as well as bottled world beers and a great range of cocktails. Whatever your taste, you’re sure to find something delicious to eat, too. The menu features everything from traditional breakfasts and pub food to some of the best Mexican dishes in Cardiff. The bar can be booked for private functions as well, so whether you want a few drinks with friends and a lively night out, or a more intimate meal for two, KoKo’s is a great shout.

4. Vulcan Lounge

Bar, Pub, Italian, Pub Grub

Vulcan Lounge and Bar
This inviting and cosy pub is made even better by the friendliness of the staff. The Vulcan’s beer garden is heated and colourfully painted. It is a great place to enjoy a happy hour pint. The very reasonably priced food menu is basic but tasty, with a takeaway option available. Sports matches are shown on a projector screen. The highlight of the pub is a large pool room, which has two tables and a darts board. Sink into one of the large leather sofas and watch the world go by through the large windows which flank both sides of the building.

5. Y Mochyn Du Pub

Bar, Pub, Pub Grub, British

Y Mochyn Du Pub
© SjaakKempe/Flickr
Although not strictly in Cathays, Y Mochyn Du is well worth the trip across Bute Park. Translated as ‘The Black Pig’, the pub is located opposite the Glamorgan Cricket Ground. The walls here are lined with cricket memorabilia. On tap you’ll find at least four Welsh ales, with a range of guest ales to suit every taste. The menu complements the distinctly and proudly Welsh atmosphere, but if you’re nice to the staff, they will speak to you in English. Sit in the cosy bar area or the open plan conservatory area at the back and immerse yourself in the history of the cricket club, and of Wales itself.

6. The Mackintosh

Pub, Pub Grub, British

The Mackintosh
Fondly known as The Macky, this traditional pub was formerly a stop-over for horse riders. Although more popular with locals than students, competitive food prices and a popular pub quiz make it a gem in the heart of Cathays. With some cask ales on tap and a pool table for entertainment, this pub is worth having a look in if passing by.

7. The North Star

Pub, Pub Grub, British

North Star
© GoogleMaps/WikiCommons
Although venturing slightly away from Cathays, The North Star is worth a visit. Inside you’ll find a warm, friendly atmosphere with a quiet beer garden which you access through the pub. Although the drinks aren’t as wallet-friendly as in other pubs, the food menu makes up for it. It serves large, tasty portions and two-for-one deals. Visitors will often find a live band playing. More often than not, someone will be dancing along too.

8. Pen and Wig

Pub, Pub Grub

Pen and Wig beer garden
Courtesy of Pen and Wig

The Pen And Wig has managed to embrace its edge-of-city-centre location while still retaining a local pub feel. A good selection of ciders and ales can be found on tap, and this refurbished yet traditional pub also serves some tasty dishes. A range of board games can be rented. On the weekends there will usually be a live band playing. In their beer garden, blankets are provided for chilly nights.

9. Crwys - Brains

Pub, British, Pub Grub

The Crwys is renowned for serving decent pub grub and real ales. Being a Brains pub, you’ll find a range of drinks from the brewery in the menu. While this is a pub which shows major sports matches, zoned audio allows for those who prefer to talk to be able to do so. Their family-friendly beer garden is worth a look, and they offer cheap meal deals. Brains | ©WaltJabsco/Flickr

10. The Heath

Bar, Pub, British, Pub Grub

The Heath
© DomAtreides/Flickr 
Located towards Roath, The Heath is a large pub which attracts locals, students, and staff from the nearby Heath Hospital. With various architectural eras being united in this pub, you have the option of sitting in the Tudor, wood-panelled lounge, the main lounge, or the front bar. The real ales complement the grill menu, and there is the option to order pizza to take away until 10.30pm.

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