Who doesn’t love a cocktail or three? We've scoured the city and picked our must-visit list of places that are staffed with top mixologists with the know-how to tickle your tastebuds. Some of these spots are dedicated cocktail bars, others are more diverse venues who simlpy know how to whip up a whizz-cracker of a drink. But one thing is guaranteed: every venue on this list offers tip-top boozing.
With quirky décor and ambient lighting, cocktail aficionados can look forward to an extensive menu of drinks at the Libertine, with many boasting some seriously show-stopping, spectacularly theatrical twists.
Where: 28 High Street Cardiff.
You’ll find this smooth little speakeasy tucked away on Caroline Street (famously known as Chippy Lane) but don’t let that put you off – this is one classy joint. With names like Carboxygin and Mrs Einstein, these are cocktails for clever clogs, and you might just learn a thing or two from the maestro mixologists. If only science had been this fun at school.
Where: 22 Caroline Street, Cardiff CF10 1FG
If you’re after a fun night out, head to 10 Feet Tall – with three floors to explore, you can drink, dine and dance until you drop. The cocktails are some of the prettiest in town and a lot of them are buy one get one free, meaning you can stay for hours, dancing to your heart's content, without even breaking the bank.
Where: 11a-12 Church Street, Cardiff CF10 1BG
Want to know a secret? The Dead Canary might be a bit harder to find than your average watering hole, but once you get inside (just ring the bell next to the fire exit) it’s worth it. The cocktails are the classiest in Cardiff and the bar itself is just beautiful – think 1920s razzle dazzle and you’re halfway there. The new drinks menu is inspired by the Mabinogion legends and our favourite is Y Ddraig Goch (the Red Dragon), a heady mixture of whiskey, Malbec, herbal liqueur and habanero.
Where: Barack Lane, Cardiff CF10 2GS
One of the city centre’s slicker bars, this is the place to be seen, where you (yes, you) can enjoy celebrity treatment – ooh, fancy. Pop in for a quick after-work cocktail (and enjoy the happy hour deals) or get your glad rags on and hang out in the VIP lounge all night. You never know who you might bump into…
Where: 1-2 Mill Lane, Cardiff CF11 1FL
Just a few doors down you’ll find Ten Mill Lane which has a quirkier, more relaxed vibe – but you can still party here until the early hours. The classic cocktails are pretty sweet and we also love the nostalgia menu which is based on the bar staff’s childhood memories. How can you say no to Top of the Pops and Who Loves Orange Soda?
Where: 10 Mill Lane, Cardiff CF10 1FL
Hidden behind a black soot door on the doorstep of Castle Quarter, Pennyroyal feels authentic, with bottles and books lining the wooden window display in haberdashery fashion. The handmade apothecary-style bar boasts over 100 rums and agaves – surely one of the most impressive collections of bottles in the city. Watch as the mixologists busily flit from shelf to shaker; masters of using them to create fantastically sippable liquid art.
Where: 22 High St, Cardiff CF10 1PT
It’s famous for its mouth-watering menu (plus it’s one of the few Cardiff restaurants that Jay Rayner actually likes) but did you know that The Potted Pig also houses an impressive gin vault? The menu is huge but don’t be daunted; just ask them to recommend a favourite and get them to mix you a Martini…
Where: 27 High Street, Cardiff CF10 1PU
If you want to escape the city centre, head to Whitchurch Road where you’ll find one of Cardiff’s coolest new bars. The food is top notch and the drinks are good too. Check out the cocktail menu for classics with a cheeky twist. A couple of sparkly beauties will guarantee a fun night out.
Where: 79-81 Whitchurch Road, Cardiff CF14 3JP
Bar 44 is by far the best tapas joint in Cardiff (although you should really check out its little sister Asador 44 just down the road) and its cocktail menu is pretty impressive too. It’s heaven for gin fiends but there are plenty of other options to warm you up for a night out, including the Maria Maria, a Bloody Mary made with gin instead of vodka.
Where: 15-23 Westgate Street, Cardiff CF10 1DD
Tall, dark, mysterious and ever so handsome, Handsome Jacks entices the playful into their drinking den on St Marys Street. "Handsome Hour" is 4pm - 8pm, giving you time to get yourself into all sorts of mischief. We love The Dove From Above – be sure to try it out!
Where: 41 St Mary St, Cardiff CF10 1AD
Prohibition is over, let the fun begin! The Bootlegger's second bar has come to Cardiff and is a welcome addition to the eclectic Womanby Street. From the open doors and windows you'll hear Jazz, Northern Soul and Bluegrass, and inside you'll find one of the best Espresso Martini's in Cardiff.
Where: The Bootlegger, Womanby Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BR
Serving up an adventurous variety of beers, an easy-drinking selection of cocktails laden with speciality spirits (but, thankfully, avoiding any needless pretence) and a satisfyingly uncomplicated food offering, Buffalo's mix of proper nourishment and vibe-led lounge-chiq does "well-deserved chilling" pretty damn well.
Where: 11 Windsor Place, Cardiff, CF10 3BY