Cardiff has plenty of pubs to head to, but sometimes we crave something close to home, cosy and a little less full of the tourists. Here, we've rounded up the pubs the locals love - off the beaten track, full of regulars, quiz nights and proper pub food. Just don't tell the locals we told you...
After some sunshine hotspots? Check out our guide to the the best sun soaking beer gardens in the city.
Known (and rightly revered) until recently as the legendary Urban Taphouse, Tiny Rebel Cardiff is a pantheon of powerfully-hopped pintage and craftily-bottled beers. Nestled in the magnificent shadow of Cardiff's cathedral and chapel of Rugby (the towering Millennium Stadium and diminutive Cardiff Arms Park, respectively), this not-so-tiny redbrick cube is where those who believe in a beerier-brew really go to church. Exuding heritage, ambition and independence, Tiny Rebel Cardiff is as Welsh as the boys plying their trade on the pitches adjacent.
Visit either of their two bars (in Cardiff and Newport), and expect a selection of outstanding indie beers from a myriad of Craft Breweries, a bounty of slow-cooked temptation (we recommend their down-and-dirty burgers or hot-and-messy pizzas) and a properly tidy time.
Where: 25 Westgate Street, Cardiff, CF10 1DD
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
Those crafty devil boys now have their very own pub to add to their repertoire of beery establishments. Beelzebub’s is an American style drinkery over on Church Street dishing out the devine speciality, crafty and local ales we’ve become accustomed to at their Landaff tap room. Breaking away from the refines of modern day boozers, Beelzebubs encourages you to pull up a pew and engage in some witty repartee with the friendly barman and your chums alike. Banging beers, bants and a bloody good time.
Where: 17-19 Church St, Cardiff CF10 1BG
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
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
If you’re a Roath resident you’ll no doubt have frequented The Crofts on one or two occasions. At this mega friendly ‘free house’ you’ll find all manner of real ales and lagers on tap as well as a ruddy brilliant grub menu. Their Sunday carvery always goes down a treat, as does a beer fuelled game of air hockey.
Where: 14-15 Croft Street, Cardiff, CF24 3DZ
One of Pontcanna’s hidden gems is the Robin Hood. This charming, traditional boozer are famous for their Saturday night karaoke sessions, so line up the beers and warm up those vocal cords, cos you’re in for a belter of a night. Head back over on Sunday and soak up all that singstar booze with a hearty, homemade roast. Round off the perfect weekend with a quick sun basking sesh in one of their two gardens. Iechyd Da!
Where:16 Severn Grove, Cardiff, CF11 9EN
Smack bang in the centre of town you’ll find one of our favourite taverns - The Pen and Wig. Serving up an epic selection of rotating ales from local breweries, you’ll be sure to find something that suits your exacting tastes. They’re even Camra certified. The pub grub ain’t to be sniffed at, and the beer garden is where you’ll find us on many a summer’s eve.
Where:1 Park Grove, Cardiff, CF10 3BJ
Within a well hit 'six' of the county cricket ground you’ll find the aptly named drinkery, The Cricketers. They offer a fab range of real Welsh ales from their sister brewery, Evan Evans in Llandeillo. Also boasting an awesome sun trap of a garden, and a roaring open fire during the winter months, and a cracking seasonal food menu, you can see why this Victorian townhouse goes down a storm with the locals.
Where: 66 Cathedral Rd, Cardiff CF11 9LL
With 40 years of commerce behind them, The Traders Tavern is a well known institution by residents across the city. You’ll find oodles of charm, hearty portions of traditional pub grub at more than reasonable prices and competitively the best poured pint of Guinness in the city. One of the best hangover cures you’ll find in the ‘diff is the Traders breakfast, at £5.50 a pop you’ll be right as rain in no time.
Where: 6-8 David St, Cardiff CF10 2EH
Twenty Nine Park Place is an iconic townhouse gastropub offering mouth-watering food and great views right in the city centre.
The team at Twenty Nine Park Place welcomes you anytime, whether you want to enjoy their gorgeous, sun-filled beer garden or would rather indulge in a properly delicious brunch... You can have it all! They serve some of the best gastro food in Cardiff, packed with flavour and simply a delight for your tastebuds – there's just nothing to hate! In case you need inspiration, this place is also perfect for date nights...
Where: 29 Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3BA
Ever been to a pub run by a baptist minister? Nope, thought not. Enter St Canna’s Alehouse. The newly opened micro pub is all about quality beers from Welsh brewers such as Tiny Rebel and Tenby. Rev James Karran is keen for the alehouse to be a welcoming community led pub with piano singalongs and an unenforced phone ban. Harking back to the good old days of saloon atmos, a must-visit for any beer enthusiast.
Where: 42 Llandaff Rd, Cardiff CF11 9NJ
With thanks to Sarah from VeggingIt blog for her expert pub knowledge!