Best Student Bars in Cardiff
Check out our picks for the best student bars in Cardiff!
With students now making up a fifth of Cardiff’s population, it’s no surprise that the city is home to some cracking student bars. With everything from old school boozers, retro music joints and craft beer temples, Cardiff’s top student bars mean you’re guaranteed to have a good night out regardless of your musical and aesthetic preferences. Here’s our favourite student bars in Cardiff where you can rave to the sublime lyrics of the Spice Girls, sip a funky imported brew or catch one of the city’s up-and-coming bands before they get famous. Here we go. It’s our picks for the best student bars in Cardiff!
Pen & Wig (£)
Located right next to Cardiff University and the student union, the Pen & Wig is one of the best student bars in Cardiff thanks to its welcoming vibe, massive beer garden and hearty food menu. Come the summer months the place is heaving with students working on their tan in the city’s largest walled garden and enjoying a game of outdoor pool over a reasonably priced pint.
When the weather is less cooperative, the cosy interior makes for a great spot to hangout with your mates and pick from their selection of board games which you can play for just a £5 deposit. You’ll find a great selection of local real ales on tap which are changed regularly so there’s always something different to sample, and the bar has even been included in Camra’s Good Beer Guide for the last five years so you can rest assured that these guys know their brews!
Regular events include their weekly Tuesday night pub quiz which is hugely popular with Cardiff students. The quiz kicks off at 8pm and costs just £1 per person to enter. Best of all, you can take advantage of their £2.95 offer on craft beers throughout the evening to keep you and your team on top form.
Craft beer fans will love Cardiff’s shiny Brewdog bar where there’s always something interesting to try from their thirty on-tap brews. Inside the aesthetic is bright and clean with an industrial chic vibe and plenty of comfy seating as well as a small selection of tables outside just in case the sun comes out.
While the focus is on Brewdog’s own wide range of beers like the citrusy Dead Pony Club and their legendary Punk IPA, they also boast a constantly-changing choice of guest brews from the likes of Mikkeller and Anchor. If you love trying new beers, make sure to ask the staff to find out what’s new and to get a personal recommendation.
If you’re feeling peckish, Brewdog also offers a fab choice of handmade burgers, hot dogs and snacks like Mac N’ Cheese, chicken wings and sweet potato fries. Try their amusingly-named Cluck Norris southern fried chicken burger or their Clucky This Time version which is veggie and vegan friendly. Those with bigger appetites and smaller wallets will love the Wings Wednesday offer when punters can reserve a two hour slot to consume as many chicken wings as they can for just £10!
The 90s might get a bad rep, but the folks behind this funky themed bar know all too well that everyone loves a light-hearted night out with cheesy tunes and old-school dance moves. Spread over three floors with three bars and two dance floors, Retro is one of Cardiff’s most popular student bars thanks to the fun vibes and chance to really let your hair down like it’s 1999.
If your ideal night out plays to a soundtrack of the Spice Girls, the Backstreet Boys and a dash of Britney, don your denim dungarees, channel your inner Christina Aguilera and head down on a Thursday night for their weekly Karaoke session. Another favourite Cardiff student night out is WTF Wednesdays when you can take advantage of 99p drinks offers! They also stay open late, until 4am, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays so you can party all night long.
Although drinks prices are reasonable, budget-conscious students will be delighted to know there’s a whole host of cheap offers to stop you getting thirsty while you’re dancing. For £15 you can get four bottles of cider, lager, or WKD if you fancy a real 90s throwback, or drop by between 5pm and 9pm to score £2.50 pints of Fosters and Strongbow and £3 on single spirits with a mixer.
Gwdihw Cafe Bar (£)
Those in the know flock to the tiny Gwdihw bar for their dynamic live music scene which regularly features some of the city’s most exciting up-and-coming bands. Tucked away behind the Motorpoint Arena, this intimate, colourful space is very popular with both locals and students thanks to the comfy living room vibe, top entertainment programme and well-priced drinks.
The busy gig line up includes everything from hip hop, funk and ska to indie psych and post punk as well as regular Monday night open mic music and comedy sessions for those keen to show off their talent. Monday nights are also when students flock to Gwdihw to take advantage of the bar’s generous 50% off drinks offer!
Behind the bar you’ll find a good selection of spirits, beers and wines to keep thirst at bay as you dance the night away to some cool tunes. If it all gets too much, escape out the back door to the covered cutesy garden which is strewn with bunting and comfortable vintage couches where you can while away the hours with a pint or two in a more relaxed setting.
Porter’s Cardiff (££)
Just a short walk from Cardiff University and right by the Motorpoint Arena you’ll find this buzzy bar which is one of the best student bars in Cardiff thanks to a combination of decent drinks prices and quirky entertainment options! Step inside and you’ll find a mini cinema, a crazy-golf course in the courtyard and even a cute little theatre attached to the pub which focuses on supporting Welsh and Wales-based creatives.
The bar also offers regular live music, comedy and cabaret nights which feature local independent acts and always draw a diverse crowd of music and culture lovers as well as plenty of students as there’s rarely an entry fee to pay. Sunday nights are reserved for Porter’s revered weekly quiz night which costs just £1 to enter. Another favourite is the Bandoake night when anyone can become lead singer of a real-life band, if only for a song or two!
With their homely vibe and philosophy of “Good People, Good Times”, Porter’s is the kind of bar where there’s literally something for everyone. Sip on a reasonably-priced £3.30 beer while you listen to some live jazz, challenge your mates to the vintage horse derby arcade game or order a pizza to eat in the beer garden when the sun’s shining.
Coyote Ugly (££)
For something completely different, try out this kitsch bar in the centre of town that’s themed around the cult film of the same name. Known as “the most famous bar in the planet”, this American-style boozer certainly isn’t for the faint of heart with its high energy vibe, crazy bartop dancing (and that’s just the waitresses!) and loud tunes.
The main feature in the vast saloon is the enormous bar which takes up the whole length of the back wall and is double the size of any other bar top in Wales! If you don’t fancy dancing, there’s plenty to keep you entertained including a special craft beer bar with 24 draught brews, a mechanical bucking bull to test your cowboy skills and a hearty American barbecue menu available every day from midday to 10pm.
For a night to remember, book one of their 40 booths for birthdays or wild celebrations with the girls and choose from their reasonably-priced drinks and food packages. If you’re feeling brave, you can even opt to learn a dance routine from the Coyotes themselves in the afternoon which you then get to perform later that night on the bar top!
Gassy Jacks (£)
Gassy Jacks is one of Cardiff’s top student bars thanks to a combination of unbeatable prices, the homely common room vibe and great entertainment offerings including regular live music and sports screenings. Set in the studenty Cathays area just minutes from the University of Cardiff, this chilled bar offers two floors of comfy seats and tables where you can relax after lectures or even catch up on uni work over a cold one or two. They also do a fab lunch deal where you can grab a bagel or wrap and a drink for just £5.95.
During term time the bar is a regular hangout for Cardiff Uni’s Live Music Society with Tuesday nights dedicated to a popular open mic session where all types of musicians are invited to sign up for a 15 minute slot. You don’t even need to bring your own instrument as they have a guitar, drum kit and keyboard available to use on the night. If you don’t fancy showing off your musical talent, try the weekly Monday night Gassy’s pub quiz which costs just £1 to enter and boasts cash prizes and free beer for the triumphant team!
If you’re after a classier start to your big night out, kick things off at Peppermint on Mill Lane right in the centre of town. The black and green exterior is hard to miss, but once you’re inside you’ll immediately feel at home in the comfy leather booths and light, airy lounge space. Go early to enjoy a quiet drink and bite to eat with mates or revel in the raucous late night atmosphere which goes on until the 3am close every night of the week.
Frequented by a young and boisterous crowd, Peppermint is the perfect place to really let your hair down and dance like no one’s watching thanks to the carefree vibe and loud tunes. Drinks prices might be a little higher than other student jaunts with the delicious Banoffee Pie cocktail coming in at £6.95 and a pint of larger costing £4. Make your student loan go further by dropping in during their Happy Hour between 4pm and 8pm from Sunday to Thursday when you can get two-for-one on their classic cocktails. You can also get your hands on a Mint Card for a very modest £3 which gives you great offers like 30% off food, selected beers for £2 and access to the two-for-one cocktail special all day everyday.
There we go! That rounds up our picks of the best student bars in Cardiff. We hope you’ve enjoyed your read, check out some of our other posts to explore the nations favourite student bars in other cities.