Whilst central Cardiff has plenty of pubs to head to, sometimes we crave something a little closer to home, a little more cosy and a little less full of everyone else. Here we've rounded up the pubs the locals love - off the beaten track, full of regulars, quiz nights and proper pub food.
The Packet is perennially popular with the locals in Tiger Bay and it’s not just because of its beautiful stained-glass windows. Cardiff Bay’s awash with identikit bars and restaurants so this charming little pub stands out from the crowd. It’s named after the packet ships that carried mail to and from British outposts and has been part of Cardiff Bay's history since 1864. The pub was originally a hotel for sailors visiting the docks and has kept some of its nautical features. Good for a couple of after-work drinks or a proper booze-up - there’s often live music and karaoke, too.
Where: 95 Bute Street, Cardiff Bay CF10 5AB
Wander down Llandaff Road and you’ll find Crafty Devil, home of local (and lush) ales and craft beers. It’s a beer shop by day but at night it turns into a bar (or 'taproom' with a lovely little beer garden at the back. Pop in for a pint or two, eat a Clark's Pie and have a chat with friendly barman, Dan. There’s always something on here – whether it’s live music, a quiz night or a pop-up restaurant. You can also hire the bar out for parties if you want to drink all the beer yourself.
Where: 16 Llandaff Road, Canton, Cardiff CF11 9NJ
This lively local is situated just off Albany Road (hence the name) and is popular with born and bred Cardiffians and students alike. Food and drink is cheap and cheerful and it’s a good spot to watch sport on the big screen. It also has one hell of a beer garden which is often heaving on a warm summer evening.
Where: 105 Donald Street, Roath, Cardiff CF24 4TL
The Plough is set in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Whitchurch’s high street, and is a firm favourite with locals. This cosy local has traditional cask ale on tap and a separate restaurant serving up pub favourites; we love the Brains SA Gold beer battered haddock with chips and mushy peas. It’s warm and welcoming (think leather armchairs and row upon row of books) plus there’s a beer garden for when the sun shines.
Where: 1 Merthyr Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff CF14 1DA
This former hotel has been restored into an independently run community pub and it’s proved to be a hit with the locals. Expect proper pub grub (the Sunday roasts are some of the best in town), local beers and a friendly atmosphere. It’s as popular with families as it is with party goers and (praise the lord) it’s dog friendly, too. We love the Monday night quiz – if you’re lucky, you get free chips!
Where: 71 Beda Road, Canton, Cardiff CF5 1LX
CAMRA award-winning pub of the year The Grange is owned by the same team who run The Lansdowne - so you know you’re in safe hands. It’s a very friendly place, the food and drink is top notch and there’s live music every week. There’s also a skittles alley and a cracking beer garden – and it’s a short walk from the city centre if you want to carry on drinking past closing time.
Where: 134 Penarth Road, Grangetown, Cardiff CF11 6NJ
If you’re walking up the Garth Mountain, this cosy pub (gwaelod is Welsh for bottom) is just the place to revive yourself with a pie and a pint – or if you’re less adventurous, you can admire the lush landscape from the window. The pub has an onsite brewery called Room with a Brew and the restaurant serves some fine food, too – make sure to book as it can get busy. There are also three upstairs rooms where you can stay overnight.
Where: Main Road, Gwaelod-y-Garth, Cardiff CF15 9HH
Technically, it’s not in Cardiff but The Windsor is much loved by locals and visitors to this pretty seaside town. This old favourite was recently refurbished and although it’s now a bit more gastro pub than working man’s club, it’s retained much of its quirky character. It’s still the heart of the community and the open mic night on Sundays is a real highlight.
Where: 95 Windsor Road, Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan CF64 1JE
This fruity little local has been popular with the locals of Llandaff North for over a hundred years and is a thriving part of the community. Rumour has it that it got its name because cargos of pineapples were delivered along the canal that used to run alongside the pub. Whatever its history, it’s a warm and welcoming watering hole with very reasonably priced food and drink – plus there’s a skittles alley.
Where: 39 Station Road, Llandaff North CF14 2FB
If you’re after a pub that offers original ales and comfort classics like fish and chips and bangers and mash, The Deri Inn in Rhiwbina will be right up your street. Pop in for a pint or bring the family for brunch or Sunday lunch and let the friendly staff look after you. In the winter, you can snuggle up to the log fire with a glass of red - and there’s a weekly pub quiz, too.
Where: Heol-y-Deri, Rhiwbina, Cardiff CF14 6UH
This family-friendly pub may be on Elm Street but it’s definitely no nightmare…
There’s something for everyone here – a darts board, pool table, juke box and Sky Sports – and a massive beer garden. There’s a good selection of beers and the food’s cheap and cheerful with some decent veggie and vegan options, too.
Where: 1 Elm Street, Roath, Cardiff CF24 3QR
The Flora is a favourite with students and locals alike - even more popular following its recent renovation. The quirky little boozer has a brilliant beer garden and also serves up quality ales, cool cocktails and some pretty Instagram-worthy grub. The atmosphere is fun and friendly and there are plenty of events on during the week.
Where: 136 Cathays Terrace, Cathays, Cardiff CF24 3HY
This mock Tudor pub in Llandaff is one of Cardiff’s older establishments and is great for a couple of pints or classic pub grub. The bar staff are some of the friendliest in town and dogs are welcome, too. Popular for its Sunday roasts (the Yorkshire puddings are huge!) and cask-mark ale, plus it’s a stone’s throw from beautiful Llandaff Cathedral.
Where: 49 Cardiff Road, Llandaff, Cardiff CF5 2DQ
A non-fancy pub (as described by one local) that serves delicious home-cooked food. The landlord’s friendly, there’s a good choice of reasonably priced ales, a beer garden which doubles up as a kids’ playground and a traditional log fire to cosy up to when it’s cold – what more could you want from a pub?
Where: Tyla Teg, Rhiwbina, Cardiff CF14 7TL
It’s a bit off the beaten track but a trip to this traditional family pub is worth the journey. The Waterloo Inn is popular with hikers, cyclists and dog walkers and the iconic Newport Wetlands nature reserve is just down the road so head there to work up an appetite for some gorgeous pub grub. There’s also a weekly quiz and regular live music.
Where: St Mary’s Road, Nash, Newport NP18 2BZ
With thanks to Sarah from VeggingIt blog for her expert pub knowledge