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The Best Bars & Pubs in Cardiff for Students

Chloe Sweet
30.05.24 – 07 Mins Read

Cardiff’s vibrant nightlife scene is certainly not one to be missed, so join us as we take a trip through the bustling streets of the Welsh capital to uncover the hidden gems and popular haunts that make Cardiff a nightlife haven for students.

Yep, that’s right. Cardiff has something for every student looking to experience the city’s spirited nightlife culture, whether they’re seeking a quiet spot for a pint with friends or craving a dance floor to let loose and bust some moves.

So whether you’re already a seasoned student in Cardiff (Lucky you!) and looking for a fresh spot, or you’re eyeing up Cardiff as your potential uni destination for next year and want the lowdown on its nightlife scene, we’ve done the legwork to bring you a handpicked list of pubs and bars that are bursting with personality, great atmospheres, and, most importantly, excellent drinks!

Better still, you won’t have to trek far from our Park Place Vita Student accommodation to stop by any of these hot spots. They’re all just a breezy 10 to 15-minute walk away!

Must-try bars in Cardiff for a real Welsh Welcome!

The Woodville

Known for its affordable drinks and buzzy atmosphere, The Woodville is a traditional pub that is popular with students. It often hosts live music events and quiz nights, providing entertainment alongside its bottomless brunch and a large selection of beers and spirits. The Woodville is usually a Wednesday night haunt after sports and societies have met!

Where? 1-5 Woodville Rd, Cardiff CF24 4DW

Distance from Vita Student Cardiff? It’s around a 15-minute walk!

Porters Cardiff

Situated in the heart of the city centre, Porters is a large pub offering a wide selection of drinks, including craft beers and, of course, all of your favourite cocktails. It features regular live music and entertainment, plus quiz nights. Its relaxed vibe and comfortable seating make it an excellent spot for students to unwind after a busy day of lectures.

Where? 9 Porter’s, Barrack Ln, St Davids Centre, Cardiff CF10 2GS

Distance from Vita Student Cardiff?  Around an 8- 10-minute walk!

The Cambrian Tap

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The Cambrian Tap is conveniently situated near Cardiff Queen Street Station and offers a wide selection of craft beers, ales, and ciders. Its cosy traditional pub atmosphere and friendly staff make it a favourite among students looking for a relaxed evening to enjoy homemade bar bites such as their popular meat pies.

Where? 51 St Mary St, Cardiff CF10 1AD

Distance from Vita Student Cardiff? About a 10-12 minute walk.

The SU Bar (Y Plas)

Located within Cardiff University’s Students’ Union, Y Plas is a popular student spot that we couldn’t leave out of today’s roundup. It hosts a variety of events and themed nights, offers reasonably priced drinks, and has a lively atmosphere—the place to make friends and make new connections in the city.

Where? Cardiff University 2nd Floor, Park Pl, Cardiff CF10

Distance from Vita Student Cardiff? Just a 10-minute walk!

The Best Bar To Watch Sports in Cardiff


This quirky pub on Salisbury Road is a favourite haunt for students. With its retro gaming consoles, good food, and affordable drinks, Gassy’s offers a unique and welcoming atmosphere for socialising. And that’s not all; with 13 HD screens, everyone in Cardiff knows it is the only place to gather on match days.

Where? 39-41 Salisbury Rd, Cardiff CF24 4AB

Distance from Vita Student Cardiff? About a 10-11 minute walk!

The Best Bar With Live Music in Cardiff

The Live Lounge

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A versatile venue offering live music, comedy nights, and DJ sets, The Live Lounge is always buzzing with activity from midday onwards. It hosts four performances a day from solo artists and bands, with DJs on until 4 a.m. Its budget-friendly drinks and lively atmosphere make it popular for students looking for a fun and varied night out.

Where? 9 The Friary, Cardiff CF10 3FA

Distance from Vita Student Cardiff? It’s just around the corner!

The Best Cocktail Bars in Cardiff

Dirty Martini Cardiff

Renowned for its experimental cocktail blends, Dirty Martini is the place for beverages, bottomless brunch, and a vibe that guarantees a fun late-night party experience.

Whether you are seeking the ideal setting for a romantic date night or a lively girls’ night out, Dirty Martini caters to all your needs. With its fantastic cocktails and happy-hour drinks, it’s the ultimate destination.

Where? Imperial Gate, St Mary St, Cardiff CF10 1FA

Distance from Vita Student Cardiff? About a 15-minute walk.


Peppermint is the go-to spot for the city’s vibrant and adventurous crowd. Whether you’re looking for Banoffee Pie cocktails, a delicious burger, or taking advantage of the 2-4-1 deals, this lively hotspot is an essential destination for those seeking a memorable night out. It also has outdoor seating – perfect for those warm summer nights kicking back after class!

Where? 63 St Mary St, Cardiff CF10 1FE

Distance from Vita Student Cardiff? About a 10-12 minute walk.

The Most Instagramable Bars in Cardiff

Tonight Josephine Cardiff

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Located in the city’s bustling heart, Tonight Josephine stands pretty in pink! This venue is an unmissable gem with its striking, glamorous interior and creative cocktails. Perfect for unforgettable nights out, parties, and beyond, it offers live performances and karaoke for added entertainment.

Where? 46 Caroline St, Cardiff CF10 1FF

Distance from Vita Student Cardiff? About a 10-12 minute walk.

The Best Bars in Cardiff for Fun


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This eccentric venue features neon walls with graffiti and offers a fantastic selection of retro arcade and console games. As if that wasn’t enough, indulge in their menu of themed cocktails to complete the experience. With drinks, dancing, and various bar games, NQ64 Cardiff promises an unforgettable night out—perfect for hanging out with your course or society mates.

Where? 60-61 St Mary St, Cardiff CF10 1FE

Distance from Vita Student Cardiff? About a 13-15 minute walk.

Ballie Ballerson

What could top an oversized ball pit for adults? Only one that serves drinks! At Ballie Ballerson, you’ll find the perfect recipe for an unforgettable night out. With its lineup of weekly and monthly events that everyone’s buzzing about, it’s the ultimate destination for a weekend of excitement with your closest friends. Offering fantastic cocktails, live music, and plenty of dancing, Ballie Ballerson is the place to be for a genuinely thrilling experience.

Where? Unit 6-7 Brewery Quarter, Cardiff CF10 1FG

Distance from Vita Student Cardiff? About a 13-15 minute walk.

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Alcotraz Cardiff: Cell Block Nine-One

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Imagine discovering that one of Cardiff’s top bars is actually a prison! Nestled in the city centre is Alcotraz: Cell Block Nine-One, an immersive secret speakeasy experience. Don an orange jumpsuit and immerse yourself in a life behind bars. Navigate past the watchful eyes of the warden to smuggle liquor to the “serving” inmates, where you’ll receive a bespoke cocktail delivered right to your cell!

Where? Unit 9a Brewery Quarter, Cardiff CF10 1FG

Distance from Vita Student Cardiff? About a 13-15 minute walk.

The Best Date Night Bars in Cardiff

Penny Royal

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Perfect for date night, the ambience is set with softly flickering candles, creating an intimate space ideal for a romantic date night or a relaxed gathering with friends. Indulge in their meticulously crafted cocktails, each with a unique name and story. This trendy bar boasts outdoor seating and a retro vibe, making it the ideal destination for enjoying fancy drinks in style.

Where? Unit 6-7 Brewery Quarter, Cardiff CF10 1FG

Distance from Vita Student Cardiff? About a 13-15 minute walk.

The Best Gay Bars / LGBTQIA+ Friendly Bars in Cardiff

The Golden Cross

Over the years, The Golden Cross has evolved into a beloved LGBTQ+-friendly hotspot renowned for its vibrant atmosphere and regular drag performances. In 2004, it was honoured as the best gay pub in the UK, solidifying its reputation as a welcoming and inclusive space for all! Not one to be missed!

Where? 283 Hayes Bridge Rd, Cardiff CF10 1GH

Distance from Vita Student Cardiff? About a 15-minute walk.

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Mary’s is the top-tier gay cabaret bar on the vibrant St Mary’s Street in Cardiff. Renowned for its welcoming ambience, tasty cocktails, diverse selection of premium gins, and unforgettable live cabaret performances, Mary’s is open 7 days a week!

Where?  89 St. Mary Street, Cardiff CF10 1DW

Distance from Vita Student Cardiff? About a 15-minute walk.

Where will you be going first?

As is typical for any bustling capital city, the status of the pubs and bars evolve over time, with reputations changing and new and exciting places opening all the time.

If you’re planning a night out in Cardiff, we recommend checking out the most recent reviews and local recommendations for the latest information on Cardiff’s best pubs and bars, especially if you’re not starting uni until the next academic year!

And speaking of the new academic year…

If you have your heart set in Cardiff…Have you sorted out your university accommodation in Cardiff?

Life at Vita Student Cardiff

Experience the best of city living at our Cardiff Vita Student Accommodation, Park Place. Our brand-new building is ideally located for students at Cardiff University, the University of South Wales, or Cardiff Met.

We have modern buildings right in the centre of the city, plus free gyms on-site to help you stay fit and healthy during your time as a student in Cardiff.

But it’s not just about the facilities.

We host fantastic events every day where you can meet new people and have a blast. From cooking and skincare classes to exclusive shopping events and career talks, there’s always something interesting happening.

And here’s the best part: when you choose to live in one of our residences, you can forget about cleaning. We take care of that for you, with fortnightly cleaning included in your room price.

But wait, there’s more…

You also get access to career talks, CV advice, and our alumni network to help kickstart your future.

If you have any burning questions about life at Vita Student, check out our handy guide for all the FAQs.

And if you’re looking for more on what Cardiff as a student city has to offer-  Check out nature hikes in Cardiff and things to do near Vita Student Cardiff.

Sounds good?

Secure your room at Vita Student Cardiff, Park Place, today.