What your Cathays pub says about you
Woody for life
Being a student in Cathays means many things: seagulls, fam fish and more often than not, the pubs. We eat, drink and live in these places. First dates, break-ups and revision breakdowns – they’re the life and soul of Cathays, as every pub has their own je ne sais quoi. The best pub crawl one could imagine is in the hallowed area that is Cathays, whether it be Blackweir or the Woody, Cathays pubs really are one of the best things about being a Cardiff student. But there’s only one that we hold dearest to our hearts.
Most students can’t resist the two-pound pints at The Taf, especially when you can have the ‘radioactive’ VK buckets as a side dish. Most people here will get drunk in the daytime and then stagger home, probably to Taly or uni halls. The Football and Rugby fans who can’t be bothered to travel into town are normally spotted here on the weekends. On Sundays, it’s likely these fans will be the ones tucking into their ‘cheap as chips’ carvery, along with their other flatmates who are craving some Yorkshire puds after their mad night at Juice. Legends.
If you’re at the Blackweir, you’re either an adventurous fresher or a sweaty sports player. The first stop on your way from Taly and the first pint of your university life. Hallowed be thy name, ‘The Weir’ will go down in the memory of every Fresher. Anyone making the trek up from the comfort of Cathays has done so for one reason and one reason only. Basking in being so sports, it doesn’t matter if you’ve put on a pathetic display for your IMG team or if you’ve put on your finest budget chinos, ready to get soiled at your social. All that matters is that there’s literally no other reason to be here, although if you still go there past first year, you are definitely on pub golf. Pints priced a bit above par and trying to be more hipster than it should be.
You’ve warmed up your vocals in front of the mirror. You’ve put on your best checked shirt. You’ve got the chords to Mardy Bum memorised. This is your week, you will be the one getting paid at this open mic night. Sweating from the lights, you hype yourself up. Your slot approaches and you walk outside for a quick cig, only to keep walking.
You’re only really here because Gassy’s was full. While Gassy’s has comfy sofas and fairy lights and feels like a warm hug, Koko’s is the polar opposite with cold tile floors, hard seats and less fit bar staff. There’s usually some kind of sport on the TV and although this gives a solid 7/10 for atmosphere, it means the new and nice(ish) front section is full of overly drunken wankers spilling overpriced pints and shouting about Arsene Wenger. On Thursday mornings, the outside pavement is wonderfully splattered with the linings of various rugby boy’s stomachs. On any passing day, there will be a Deliveroo driver or ten, taking up the shitty outside tables, enjoying a probably illegal mid-afternoon pint (don’t drink and drive kids). This being said, the pool tables are better and it’s less crowded than the always stuffed Gassy’s.
The Mackintosh is one of those places that you walk past every day but don’t dare to go in. If you do brave it, you’re greeted by the intimidating stares of the locals that flock to the pub in the afternoon and spend most of their evenings there. Locals and students make up the population that collect in the Mac and the two opposing groups hate each other. The locals tend to be a bunch of old men in flannel shirts, talking about football and complaining about life in general. They’ll go for the cheapest pint and complain if it hasn’t got the right amount of head. On the other hand, there are the students. The students that go into the Mac are generally quite broke– they are the type of people to demand their 1p back in change. All people seem to talk about is whether or not they’re going to the SU later. They have had a bit of a refurb recently though and they have some cheap as fuck drinks so I guess it isn’t all that bad.
Honestly, you only go here because you live in Taly and you can’t be bothered to walk any further to an actual pub. The only other time you will see anyone other than a Taly resident in here, is when people have just finished their last exam in the Taly sports hall and can’t wait to get a sweet alcoholic beverage to celebrate their freedom. It has that cheap caravan site entertainment venue feel about it that you just can’t get at any other Cathays pub. The standard Taly Social frequenter will be sure to buy a Bulmers bottled cider or two to wet the whistle before an intense game of pool. Freshers tip: Be sure to buy one of the Taly Social loyalty cards to save the dolla and probably don’t buy any food.
Fresher to third year, Rugby lad to heroin chic – there’s no stereotype. The Woodville is the everyman pub of Cathays. Everyone’s ogling the fit bartender when it’s not their turn at pool, gossiping whether he’s taken or not. The Woodville will meet your heart’s desires as a student pub – wacky art, random photos, the fake fire and the broken deer head. You know where you are in the friendship group if you’re the one turning the light on in the smoking area every thirty seconds. Wing Wednesday, Carlings and craft beers and now the new turf grass outdoor area – it is the perfect balance. Joe Bloggs, Woodville pub, it’s all the same.
Contributions from Greg Barradale, Yusuf Khan, Leah Phillips and Katie Weston.
Photo Credits Jin Hyun and Benjamin McNeil.