We set out to find the best pint in Cathays: here’s our ultimate guide

We’re basically Gav and Smithy at this point


The likelihood is that if you clicked on this article, you like a drink. Now, everyone will have their own opinion as to what the best pint out there is – so we toured Cathays to find out what makes a great drink. There were several factors that we considered when we compared each of the pubs and though this isn’t meant to be a definitive pub tier list, it will help you find the best one for your post-lockdown antics.

The Taf wins the award for a penny pinching pint

Being students, it’s not uncommon that we spend more on alcohol than we can afford. So, prices are an important factor in deciding where we want to buy our round. In this regard, The Taf is unrivalled – with it being by far the cheapest place for students to drink if you’re willing to wait a month for an hour’s booking.

Most other pubs have quite standardised pricing, though The Flora and Cathays Beer House have opted for a more of a focus on craft beer and so are a bit more on the pricey end. If you are planning extensive celebrations in these pubs, be sure to sign up for their discount schemes such as The Woody’s MORE card as you’ll feel less bad for spending too much on drinks when your free pint arrives!

If you want atmosphere, head to the Gassy’s

It is indisputable that the atmosphere you drink in will impact the enjoyment of your pint. If you want a bustling student pub with the rugby or football on in the corner and pool tables galore, then Gassy’s, The Vulcan and The Woodville are the places for you. Don’t even attempt to have a private chat there though, as your crushes’ flatmate will undoubtedly be on the next table along.

If noise is your thing then there is nothing quite like The Taf on match day, though you’ll lose your seat the moment you visit the toilets. The Flora, The Heath and the The Crwys are the pubs of the locals, with The Mackintosh being the place of an uneasy truce where students and locals alike can enjoy a pint.

Where are you most likely to get a seat during the pandemic?

Many brave souls set out each night in search of a warm place for a drink, as most of us live in baltic student houses. Not like the main draw isn’t still the pint, but the warmth is definitely an added bonus. With the current limitations on numbers in these establishments, you’ll likely get turned away from the first few pubs you try – so which ones can you rely on?

The Woody is the first stop on most people’s expeditions, though due to its popularity and size you’ve got a low chance of getting in without a booking. The Mackintosh, Gassy’s, and The Vulcan would be your next best bets, as they are more spacious and tend to have fewer bookings. But, if you find no success from them then – let’s be honest – you’re likely heading off to spoons.

Don’t even try The Taf without booking beforehand, those £2.50 pints are hidden behind a barricade of online paperwork and student numbers.

Let’s face it, no-one wants to trek to The Blackweir unless you’re either a fresher or you’re trying to re-live your first-year experience, and it’s a similar situation at The Heath. At the end of the night (before 10pm of course), you’ll end up grabbing some cans from Tesco, wishing that you’d booked in advance.

For a quickie, head to Cathays Beer House

No one wants to wait half an hour for a pint and – thankfully – with most orders being done online, this is a rarity. The Taf and Cathays Beer House are particularly fast with their service, with the other central pubs all being moderately quick. They also have an array of snacks and loaded fries, but if you want a proper meal then head to The Crwys or The Flora.

Ultimately, the pub experience is really made by the people you go with, and they can shorten any amount of time waiting for drinks, though I’d order your second pint halfway through the first at the Mackintosh.

Where to go for the perfect pint?

Each pub has a different vibe that will suit us all differently. If you want craft beers and ciders, then Cathays Beer House is the place for you. Also providing several craft beers, The Flora can be used by those whose parents are visiting and they don’t want to walk all the way in to town. The Crwys and The Heath are full of locals but do good food and have a really friendly atmosphere. The Blackweir is reserved for Taly residents. Gassy’s beats The Vulcan in our books, but the two are very similar and decent backups to The Woodville, being the Cathays’ fan favourite.

Providing you book well in advance, The Taf is highly rated with delicious sides and strong cocktails to accompany your pint. Plan your bar crawl wisely, taking into account the places that have your preferred atmosphere, price range, and drink selection; grab some flatmates, and you’ll find the best pint Cathays has to offer you.

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