What’s so special about the gay scene in Cardiff? Lots, as it turns out. From cabaret and indie discos to festivals and theatre, we asked the experts to pick their favourite places and must-do tips for visitors and locals.
The city has come a long way from its coal port city origins. Today, it's a charmingly cosmopolitan place to explore. Home to fascinating buildings like the Cardiff Bay Visitors Centre and the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff offers upscale dining, art galleries, and shopping. The bay is also an excellent place to explore the Bristol Channel by birdwatching along the Wetland Reserve, walking along one of the many docks, or taking a cruise down the Channel.
Cardiff also knows how to party, throwing the UK's biggest gay event of all: Cardiff Mardi Gras. Forty thousand people come to this summer event each year to see an eclectic array of live music and events centered around the city's oldest landmark, Cardiff Castle. Nightlife tends to be young and intimate, largely dominated by students from Cardiff's four universities. And most of the gay pubs and clubs can be found on Charles Street or in nearby Bute Terrace.
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Like the city itself, Cardiff’s gay scene is small and compact – but with something for everyone. The main venues are focused around Charles Street and Churchill Way in the city centre, all within walking distance of each other. An historic pub with a traditional glazed tile exterior, The Golden Cross is popular with a predominantly male, 30-something crowd – indulging its camp side with karaoke, cabaret and occasional strippers. Mary's is a luxury bar with a plush interior, cutting edge design and a great atmosphere allows you to just sit back, relax and watch the world go by on St Mary’s Street. Eagle is Cardiff’s small-but-tough men-only gay bar, with occasional theme nights and something to suit every fancy. Locker Room is Cardiff’s gay sauna, complete with steam room and a range of other facilities. WOW Bar appeals to a young, student crowd with DJs, live music, cabaret and drinks deals. Spread across two floors and a roof terrace, The Kings is a large, modern bar attracting a young gay/lesbian/mixed crowd – it’s the official pre-bar to gay dance club Pulse, which attracts a similar young, mixed crowd of party people and university students. For drag aficionados, Minsky’s Showbar is popular with hen nights, stag nights and birthday celebrations as well as cabaret-loving gays and lesbians.
Here is a list of 10 men-only or gay-friendly hotels in Cardiff:
- The Angel Hotel (Gay-Friendly) Located in the heart of Cardiff, The Angel Hotel welcomes all guests with its warm and inviting atmosphere. With tastefully decorated rooms, a stylish bar, and a central location near popular attractions, this gay-friendly hotel is an ideal choice for visitors to the city. Check Availability and Prices: Booking.com
- Jolyon's Boutique Hotel (Men Only) Jolyon's Boutique Hotel offers a unique and intimate experience for men in Cardiff. Set within a converted Victorian townhouse, this charming hotel features individually designed rooms, a cozy lounge, and personalized service. Explore the city's vibrant gay scene or simply relax in this welcoming retreat. Check Availability and Prices: Booking.com
- Cathedral 73 (Gay-Friendly) Situated near Cardiff Castle and the city center, Cathedral 73 is a stylish boutique hotel that caters to a diverse clientele. With elegantly appointed rooms, a chic lounge, and easy access to local attractions, this gay-friendly hotel offers comfort and convenience for all guests. Check Availability and Prices: Booking.com
- Hotel Indigo Cardiff (Gay-Friendly) Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Cardiff at Hotel Indigo. This gay-friendly boutique hotel boasts stylish rooms, a rooftop terrace with panoramic views, and a prime location near popular attractions. Whether you're here for business or pleasure, Hotel Indigo offers a memorable stay. Check Availability and Prices: Booking.com
- Lincoln House Private Hotel (Men Only) Experience refined luxury at Lincoln House Private Hotel. This exclusive men-only hotel offers elegant rooms, personalized service, and a peaceful garden setting. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along nearby Roath Park or take advantage of the hotel's proximity to Cardiff's city center. Check Availability and Prices: Booking.com
- Future Inn Cardiff Bay (Gay-Friendly) Situated in the picturesque Cardiff Bay area, Future Inn Cardiff Bay provides comfortable accommodations with a friendly ambiance. The hotel features spacious rooms, an on-site restaurant, and easy access to the bay's attractions and nightlife. Enjoy a relaxing stay in this gay-friendly establishment. Check Availability and Prices: Booking.com
- Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff (Gay-Friendly) Located adjacent to Cardiff Central Railway Station, Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff offers modern accommodations with excellent transport links. The hotel's contemporary rooms, on-site restaurant, and convenient location make it a great choice for gay travelers exploring the vibrant city of Cardiff. Check Availability and Prices: Booking.com
- Cardiff Marriott Hotel (Gay-Friendly) Situated in the city center, Cardiff Marriott Hotel provides comfortable and stylish accommodations for all guests. With spacious rooms, a fitness center, and an on-site restaurant, this gay-friendly hotel offers a convenient base to explore Cardiff's attractions and enjoy its lively atmosphere. Check Availability and Prices: Booking.com