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Cardiff Student Nightlife Guide

One of the UK’s largest and most affordable student cities, Cardiff is the official gateway to Wales and everything the country has to offer. 

A place of renowned cultural vibrancy, steeped in history and folklore, the capital boasts a number of advantages over other British university cities and towns - from its fantastic location, surrounded by miles of epic landscapes and areas of outstanding natural beauty the likes of Snowdonia, to its unbeatable transport links, including routes to other major UK cities, and its thriving social and nightlife scene.

When it comes to music venues and bars in Wales, students have plenty of options. The huge Motorpoint Arena hosts everything from rock concerts to world-class dance events, whilst the smaller, more independent clubs and venues, such as Gwdihw and Clwb Ifor Bach, give way to introducing new acts, defying musical categories.

If it’s food you’re interested in, you’re also in luck! Cardiff is considered something of a gastronomic epicentre in Britain, offering some of the most innovative and exciting culinary delights found anywhere in Europe. 

Whatever it is you’re looking for from your student experience - be it the ability to disappear for a weekend into the wilderness or party through day and night at a club or music venue - Cardiff can most certainly deliver.

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Freshers week

Experiencing university for the first time can be both at once exciting and stressful. Being away from the comfort of your own home and old friends - it's daunting! But it's also the perfect opportunity to try new things and meet new people who are in exactly the same boat as you! 

Freshers week is a great way to get involved in your student community and make lifelong friends, and what’s more, Cardiff promotes plenty of freshers events and opportunities each and every year. 

Below, you'll find our comprehensive guide to Cardiff and student nightlife in the city, taking in student-friendly bars and places to eat, the best places to catch live music and the best places to get involved with freshers events throughout freshers week.

You’ll also find an FAQ section giving answers to some of those niggling questions you might have about your new home and Freshers Week in the city.

Best areas for student nightlife

Cardiff Bay

A relatively new and cosmopolitan district of the city, Cardiff Bay offers a vibrant waterside setting for boutique shopping, fine dining and entertainment, and is home to a variety of themed venues, bars, clubs and more. Buzzing from dusk until dawn, it’s a premier location amongst students. Visit the cosy club for some lush cocktails, head to the impressive Millenium Centre for live music and sporting events or, for a more luxurious experience, head to the VIP Lounge.


Just a short walk west from the city centre is Roath, an increasingly popular area to visit thanks to its close proximity to Roath Park. There’s a great sense of community in this district, as seen in the annual Made in Roath Festival, held each October, modelled on Texas’ South by Southwest Festival or SXSW – celebrating local art, music and literature. For places to eat, we recommend the Juno Lounge, a bohemian coffee shop where you can get a hearty English breakfast on a budget, or the Scaramantica Pizzeria. For the best cocktails, we highly recommend Cameo.


The Cathays' student experience is utterly unique. On one hand, you’ve got the serenity of Cathays Park, providing open green spaces with stunning architecture. On the other, there’s an area buzzing with a selection of shops, bars and nightclubs, many of which make up ‘The Strip’ along Salisbury Road. One of the most populated student areas in the city, with over 12,000 student residents, the Cathays area offers so much entertainment and excitement.

We challenge you not to have a great time in one of Wales' most vibrant neighbourhoods.


The Canton district lies to the west of the city centre. Brimming with bars, clubs and restaurants, it’s a bustling and characterful hotspot for students and Cardiffians alike. By day, it's a haven for independent shops, quirky cafes, trendy art spaces and budget fashion outlets. By night, it comes alive with many of Cardiff's best night spots and Indian restaurants found here. Consider yourself a bit of a curry connoisseur? This is the place to visit.

Womanby Street

Womanby Street is the nerve centre of Cardiff's alternative nightlife. Running from Mill Lane and Westgate Street in the east to Cardiff Central Railway Station in the west, its a popular haunt for students seeking a great night or day out, featuring a tonne of bars and clubs. The street is home to a smattering of progressive nightlife venues, overloaded with talented performers from across the world, as well as trendy bars serving some of the best imported beers and cocktails in Cardiff. A very popular haunt for students who live in the area.

Students Bars and live music venues

If you like your music loud and your nights noisy, there’s a great range of bars and live music venues to choose from in Cardiff. And for those of you students who prefer a more relaxed drink in an independent venue or pub, there’s plenty of options too! 

No matter how you like your music and atmosphere, there’s definitely a student-friendly bar or venue that’s just right for you in the city. Continue reading to learn more about our top three recommendations...

Clwb Ifor Bach

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Clwb Ifor Bach has been the heart of Cardiff’s thriving music scene for over a quarter of a century, and its residency at the heart of the city means it's welcomed a number of huge music stars throughout its past - the likes of Biffy Clyro, The Killers, Super Furry Animals, LCD Soundsystem, Metronomy, Floating Points, Skrillex, Cate Le Bon, Akala, DJ Shadow, Rag’n’Bone Man and many more. From international artists to local musicians, if it’s got a beat and a bassline, you can expect to see it at Clwb Ifor Bach. To find this popular venue, head to Womanby Street in the centre of the city.


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Cardiff’s Tramshed is an amazing space for art and music enthusiasts. The venue, housed in a former tram depot, captures the essence of urban regeneration and is a great example of how to transform a building into a unique experience. Now one of the best places for live music and arts events in the city, it’s little wonder why so many students gather here on any given night of the week. This is the definitive place to see your favorite artists as well as emerging talent from around the world whilst studying in Cardiff.

The Moon

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Inspired by the DIY venues of New York's East Village, The Moon, situated in the Canton district of Cardiff, is accessible to anyone and everyone for gigs and events; from students, local artists, musicians, labels, promoters and musicians, to those without a place to go. Frequently hosting gigs from a broad and diverse range of acts (original music only) performers come from right across Wales, as well as the rest of the UK and beyond, to play this non-conformist and highly-rated live music venue. 

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Student Clubs 

Big into your clubbing? Bit of a devout raver? Consider the dance floor your second home? If you answered yes to the last three questions and you're studying in Cardiff for the next few years, you're going to be quite excited by the following... 

Below, you’ll find just a small selection of the most popular places amongst students to have it large in the city. 


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A modern day coliseum for the heady ravers, consisting of 3 club arenas, boasting 10 bars across 7 rooms and with an exclusive VIP lounge, infamous megaclub PRYZM promises a clubbing experience second to none. This state of the art and stylish night club concept, relatively new to Cardiff, is renowned amongst the student population for regularly hosting some of the best international DJs on the electronic scene.


A night out in Cardiff wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Metro’s. With three floors and two bars, there’s an atmosphere here for everyone. The perfect place to come and party with friends or with classmates. Outrageously cheap drinks and a crowd aged largely between 18 and 21 make this bar a great and very student friendly night out. Let off some steam on the huge dance floor to a soundtrack covering everything from rock and indie to metal and more. Dancing not your thang? Check out the arcade room, packed with games consoles and pool tables.

Tiger Tiger 

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Committed to providing students with a great night out without burning too big a hole in their pocket, Cardiff’s Tiger Tiger is a go to destination for those of you looking for a first-rate nighttime experience at a low price. A playground for the young and the young-at-heart, the always busy bar provides revellers with a unique nightlife experience – it’s a place to have fun, take photos and get a little bit messy! Just a short taxi ride from the bustling streets of the city centre, it’s the perfect spot to begin or end a heavy night out in the city. 

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Fresher’s FAQ’s

When does Freshers Week Take place in Cardiff?

Freshers Week 2021 in Cardiff is set to run from Sunday 26th September to Sunday 3rd October 2021 

Do I need to provide ID at events?

Yes, as a requirement of law all bars, pubs, clubs and venues will require some form of valid ID which proves you are at least 18 years of age. Accepted forms of ID include a driver’s license or passport.

Will I need a facemask?

Yes. Although the law has now changed, within some premises, you may still need to wear a mask, with each individual hospitality venue able to apply their own rules. You may be asked to wear one when moving around a restaurant or bar for example but not when seated. You’ll also need to wear a mask if travelling on public transport.


More about Cardiff

Irrespective of whether you're a first time visitor to the city, a frequently returning guest or a lifelong inhabitant, our guides are essential reading for anyone looking to make the most of their time in Cardiff.



One of the UK’s largest and most affordable student cities, Cardiff is the official gateway to Wales and everything the country has to offer.  A pla

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