Opinion: The best beer gardens in Cardiff

June 6, 2011 18 Comments »
Opinion: The best beer gardens in Cardiff

Summer’s here – which means it’s time to make the most of the city’s bevy of outdoor drinking areas. Oliver Hurley, of cult Cardiff pubs blog Pint of 45, selects some of his favourites.

The Albany, 105 Donald Street, Roath

This is one of Cardiff’s most popular pubs among Pint of 45 readers – and it’s easy to see why. It’s a classic boozer inside, while out the back is a beer garden that actually does look like a garden. There’s even an aviary and the chickens are allowed to roam freely in the warmer months. Not something you’d get in, say, a branch of Wetherspoon.

Buffalo Bar, 11 Windsor Place, city centre

Located just down from the Capitol Centre, Buffalo Bar offers a welcome retreat from the shopping scrum of Queen Street. Sure, it’s all a bit self-consciously cool but the walled garden is a beery oasis of calm (albeit one that might well be soundtracked by an electro-jazz DJ set). And if you get carried away, it’s open till at least 3am.

Gwdihw, 6 Guildford Crescent, city centre
It may look unprepossessing from the outside but there’s always plenty going at Gwdihw, whether it’s putting on secret gigs by Gruff Rhys or alarming punters with the stuffed deer’s head on the wall. It’s not somewhere to get trolleyed – there’s as much of an emphasis on sandwich fillings as there is on grog – but there’s much to be said for enjoying a couple of drinks while sat in the small yet perfectly formed patio area.

Juno Lounge, 14 Wellfield Road, Roath

juno

This place bills itself as a cafe-bar but try not to let that put you off. Head upstairs and you’ll stumble upon an inviting walled terrace, from whence you can take in the stunning view of, erm, the rooftops of some nearby houses. Still, if you do want to try and convince yourself that you’re actually on holiday on the Côte d’Azur, and not stuck down a Cardiff side street, this is the drinking emporium for you.

Pen & Wig, 1 Park Grove, Cathays

pen and whig

Tucked away just off St Andrew’s Place, the Pen & Wig is a favourite with students and the slew of legal professionals who work nearby – not least because of  the generous proportions of the patio area out the back, which provides a welcoming suntrap in which to enjoy the pub’s well-priced drinks.

Sam’s Bar, 63 St Mary Street, city centre

sams bar

You can take your pick of any of the numerous bars that litter Mill Lane, most of which offer large outdoor seating areas. Sam’s Bar (previously the ludicrously monikered Zync) on the corner of St Mary Street is a good starting point though, thanks to its sizeable terrace and the fact that it affords the opportunity to take in the splendour of the Cafe Quarter without having to waste precious drinking time by actually ordering any food.

Terra Nova, Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay
This Brains-run joint is both the bay’s flagship bar and quite possibly Cardiff’s pointiest building. There’s extensive seating on the terrace but your best bet is to head up to the first-floor balconies, which provide stunning views across the bay. Drinks-wise, the focus is on premium brands, such as Grey Goose vodka and Peroni lager – on a warm summer’s day, Terra Nova provides a continental drinking experience in every sense.

Y Mochyn Du, Sophia Close, Pontcanna

mochyn du

A funny looking pub, this. It’s as if it was designed by the Brothers Grimm while taking a quick break from composing fairy tales about cannibalistic witches. There’s plenty of choice at the bar, with a particular focus on wine, quality lagers such as Grolsch and Amstel, and (whisper it) various types of coffee. The garden features what must rank as one of the largest expanses of decking in south Wales – it even has a tree shooting up through the middle.

Alternatively…
If enjoying the fresh air and catching some rays simply isn’t for you, then look no further than Cardiff’s very own pub-in-a-shopping arcade, the optimistically-titled Kiwis (21 Wyndham Arcade, city centre). Far from providing the kind of cocktail-sipping, summer holiday-style experience that the name suggests, the interior can be best described as decidedly functional and there’s barely any natural daylight to speak of. Cheers!

See more from Pint of 45 at pintof45.blogspot.com. You can also follow the blog on Twitter at twitter.com/pintof45

What do you think of the boys recommendations? Where have they missed? Where’s your favourite beer garden in Cardiff? Let us know in the comments below

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18 Comments

  1. prowland June 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    The Cricketers springs to mind as an obvious oversight…

  2. unclewilco June 6, 2011 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    Ty Mawr – Lisvane, Cardiff – more garden than pub and the pub is big…

  3. @eggynewydd June 6, 2011 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    Some of my favourites:
    The Butchers in Llandaf
    Plymouth Arms, St Fagan's
    Greendown Inn, St. George's
    Waterguard, Cardiff Bay
    The Black Cock, Caerphilly Mountain (worth the bike ride up the hill)

  4. Lisa Jones June 6, 2011 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    Station in Cogan. Lots of comfy garden furniture. The music can be a bit loud, though

  5. Oliver Hurley June 6, 2011 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    We tend to stick to walking distance from the centre of town for the blog, but it sounds like it might be worth venturing further afield occasionally.

    The one time we went to The Cricketers, the entire garden was taken over by a marquee housing an acoustic Led Zeppelin covers band: http://pintof45.blogspot.com/2010/10/cricketers.h

  6. Twm June 6, 2011 at 10:47 pm - Reply

    The Woody (that's the Woodville on Woodville Rd) has a pretty decent, if entirely concrete, beer garden or maybe I'm recommending it because I still have happy memories of watching Portugal knock England out of the 2006 World Cup on an outdoor screen on a very hot day in July, er 2006.

  7. Alex June 7, 2011 at 12:17 am - Reply

    Possibly the most illinformed list ever created on the internet. Cardiff is bigger than a few miles radius.

    • Ed Walker June 7, 2011 at 10:10 am - Reply

      Thanks for your comment Alex. As Oliver said for their blog they stick to the walking distance in and around the city centre, but that's the point of this blog – to give people a chance to suggest some alternatives and give their views. Be interested to know where you've seen and would recommend.

      • Ian June 7, 2011 at 12:31 pm - Reply

        I would contest that in fact, Wellfield Road is not walking distance from the centre.

        • Ed Walker June 7, 2011 at 11:35 pm - Reply

          I walk from near there to work in the city centre every day – it's only about 25 minutes! Or plenty of buses or a short taxi ride. If a beer garden is good enough, it's worth the trip :)

    • Baglow June 7, 2011 at 11:26 am - Reply

      Actually, Cardiff isn't much bigger than a few miles radius at all.

  8. Gazz June 7, 2011 at 9:35 am - Reply

    Not been to Cardiff for a while, interesting collection of pubs from the city centre (ish).

  9. David Rhys Wilton June 7, 2011 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    Whilst The Vulcan doesn't have a beer garden in the classic sense, the tables and chairs out the front make a great setting for watching the world go by. Whether its arts students coming out of the ATRiuM, Fire Engines racing past, or watching the crowds go to CIA, the Vulcan on Adam St is a great place to watch Cardiff go about its business.

  10. Bert Hassell June 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    Gwdihw for me everytime!

  11. PaulSeligman June 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    If you can get one of the tables on the small terrace in front of the Gwaelod-y-Garth, you've got access to good food and beer and great views across the Taff valley. In fact, you can see out of Cardiff as this pub is near the edge of the City.
    See, I'm sticking to the rules, maybe those who recommend pubs in Cogan (Vale of Glamorgan) and Caerphilly etc consider them as part of Greater Cardiff.

  12. Hales June 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    Check out The Sir Henry Morgan on Rumney Hill, I'd say it's walking distance from the city centre (I have walked it several times!)

  13. Russell Todd June 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    The Pineapple in Llandaf North has a decent garden. It’s family friendly too with swings and a slide. Indeed it’s one of the few beer gardens in the Whitchurch/Llandaf area.

  14. Robert June 9, 2011 at 11:50 am - Reply

    Surely The Wharf should be on that list? My favourite outdoor beer garden in all of Cardiff. Admittedly, few trees and little grass, but the water / canal makes up for it, and it feels less claustrophobic and closed in than most Cardiff beer gardens.

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