Our guide to big nights in Cardiff

The main aim of uni is obviously a degree. All the lectures, to which the soundtrack is the lingering coughs of Freshers Flu; caffeine-induced all nighters and the tension of essay results are working towards that big day at the end of it all, when you’re finally rewarded with your degree and pose with your hat and gown in tow outside City Hall (for Cardiff grads, that is). Then off you trot into the big wide world, armed with hopefully enough qualifications and experience to get onto the first rung of the career ladder.

However, long, long before you step foot in halls weighed down with baked beans, you’ll realise that education isn’t the sole focus of uni. Students will struggle to shake off clubbing connotations, so here’s our handy guide to nightlife if you’re considering applying to Cardiff. Which, to cut to the chase, you totally should.

The combination of Cardiff University, Cardiff Met, University of South Wales, and a Trinity St David’s campus makes Cardiff is a serious student-heavy city. With those in higher education forming over a fifth of the entire population, it makes sense for the clubs around town to use this to their advantage. Which, fortunately for us, they do. Here’s how to navigate a week of Cardiff’s student nights… (Disclaimer: In theory, you may only be able to actually hack this complete itinerary during Freshers. But hey, nothing wrong with trying…) 

If you click on the day of the week, you’ll be able to see what else is on offer!

Monday – Before coming to uni, you may have thought going out was reserved to Saturdays. But Buffalo make every weekend into a three-day one, thanks to the legendary Bump ‘N’ Grind. This student night is such a hit that it sold out every night last year, bar three. Speaking of bars, Buffalo are one of the best in town. Think quirky cocktails, vintage decor and everything from comedy to live music.

Tuesday – Tuesday makes us think Monday was merely a warm-up for the big event, where Sync makes its eagerly anticipated weekly entrance at Revs. Although Revolution is nationwide, this branch retains its Cardiff personality, and this is only exemplified when Sync is in town. Described as ‘Cardiff’s premier student night where like-minded individuals come together for ever-inspiring music’, it’s not one to miss. 

Wednesday – Need a midweek boost in the form of something stronger than coffee? Proving alliteration isn’t just for English students, WTF Wednesdays are here when only 90s classics will see you through to the weekend. Catch these at Retro, Cardiff’s rulers of all music that’s, well, retro. It’s colourful, it’s crazy, it’s Cardiff. Yeah, now might be time leave the alliteration for another day. Speaking of another day, see below…

Thursday - There’s no point sugar coating it. We’re always going to praise Cardiff, but there’s one thing we can’t wiggle out of. The weather. In Wales, it rains. A lot. But fear not – you don’t need to waste time wishing you were on the sunnier shores. It may be the other side of the world literally, but somehow Cardiff manages to bring a hefty dose of Oz to the city centre… When it’s not impersonating Down Under, Walkabout hosts TNT every Thursday. Its photo-booth is a focal point.

Friday – After this hectic week, you may be too tired to actually make it out on Friday, but if you’re a trooper, Smack at Pryzym is where it’s at. It markets itself as ‘too glam to give a damn’, and that’s pretty much the mantra of everyone who visits there. Greyfriars Road is lined with bars, but Glam’s always the busiest!

Saturday – Since there’s no risk of a Sunday lecture, it makes sense to join the rest of the city come Saturday. This night is more general in terms of student specifics – meaning you’ll probably end up in Live Lounge. Described as Cardiff’s ‘busiest and most vibrant live music venue’, other highlights include free entry, and £1 shots before 11pm. 

Sunday – Conclude the weekend with a trip to Soda Sundays. Soda is a stylish bar on the energetic Mill Lane, where you can even try your hand at a cocktail masterclass when you’re not busy letting your hair down and trying to forget about the week ahead. This themed night was launched to satisfy those who had ‘become disenchanted with corporate chains’, so expect big things.

If you’ve navigated the virtual tour of Cardiff’s best-known student nights but are finding yourself worrying that your cup of tea really is more like a cup of tea than shot of vodka, fear not. There are plenty of ways to make the best of the nightly student experience without even getting near a club. Cardiff is increasingly a hub of creativity and individuality, so why not catch an independent flick at Chapter, one of Europe’s biggest art and cultural centres, or check out the jazz at Dempsey’s? Dr Who may be filmed in Cardiff, but there’s no need to nab his tardis if you can’t think of anything worse than hearing only chart anthems all evening – Itchy Feet at Clwb Ifor Bach (aka Welsh Club) will take you back in time! And when the walk to town seems too great, stay closer to home. Cathays’ The Flora was massively redeveloped over summer, while Face 11, Gassy Jack’s and Koko Gorillaz all present local singers and comedy nights among others. 

The options in Cardiff are definitely not limited – whether you’re into art, techno, cinema or the whole thing, there’s no chance of being bored. Just don’t forget which libraries are open 24/7 too!

Have you got a story that will inspire or entertain students? We want to hear from you! Email joinus@myunibasics.co.uk 

Keep exploring



Written by Ellie Philpotts, 9 months ago


Cardiff Nights - Wikipedia Commons

Live Lounge - Twitter.com/liveloungecdf

Revolution Cardiff - Twitter.com/RevsBarCardiff