Bars in Wales: 9 Great Pubs for Tourists & Locals
Updated On: July 31, 2023
Located amidst the rolling hills and picturesque coastline of the United Kingdom, Wales is a land steeped in history, culture, and warm hospitality. While renowned for its stunning landscapes and ancient castles, Wales also boasts a vibrant and thriving pub and bar scene that captures the essence of its spirited people.
From bustling cities to tranquil villages, the best pubs and bars in Wales offer a gateway to the heart and soul of the country’s drinking culture. They are beloved institutions that draw in locals and tourists.
To help you experience the greatest aspects of Wales’ pub scene, we’ve delved into the history of bars in Wales and 9 of the most popular, scenic, and interesting bars in Wales for tourists and locals alike.
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History of Bars in Wales
Pubs and bars hold a rich and significant history in Wales, UK. They are deeply rooted in the country’s social and cultural fabric. In Wales, pubs have played a crucial role as communal gathering spaces where people from all walks of life come together to socialise, celebrate, and discuss matters of local and national importance.
Historically, pubs were vital meeting places for communities, especially in rural areas where they often served as the heart of the village or town. These establishments were focal points for social interaction and played a part in Welsh folklore and culture. They became settings for local legends and tales that were passed down through generations.
Moreover, bars in Wales have played a role in the nation’s struggle for identity and independence. During times of political unrest, these establishments became meeting spots for activists and revolutionaries to discuss ideas and organise movements.
Today, pubs and bars in Wales continue to hold their significance, catering to both locals and tourists. They offer a diverse range of drinks, including traditional ales and ciders, which showcase the country’s brewing heritage.
Beyond their historical significance, modern Welsh pubs have also adapted to changing times, evolving into vibrant hubs for entertainment and social activities. Many now host quiz nights, poetry readings, live sports events, and other community-oriented gatherings, providing spaces for people to bond and create lasting memories.
9 Fantastic Bars in Wales to Visit
The Dead Canary – Cardiff
The Dead Canary in Cardiff is one of the most highly regarded cocktail bars in Wales. It is known for captivating locals and tourists with its unique and mysterious ambience. Nestled discreetly in the heart of the city, the bar evokes the atmosphere of a hidden speakeasy, transporting patrons back to the prohibition era
Its unassuming exterior, without a sign or obvious indication of its presence, adds to the allure, leaving visitors intrigued as they venture inside. Once inside The Dead Canary, guests are welcomed into an intimate and alluring space adorned with vintage furnishings, dim lighting, and plush seating.
The bar’s décor exudes an air of nostalgia reminiscent of the roaring 1920s, further enhancing the feeling of stepping into a secret world of clandestine cocktails and clandestine conversations.
The bar is renowned for its talented mixologists, who craft various imaginative and expertly concocted cocktails. The Dead Canary prides itself on using high-quality spirits, fresh ingredients, and innovative flavour combinations, ensuring each drink is a memorable experience.
The Pilot – Swansea
The Pilot in Mumbles, Swansea, is one of the best waterfront bars in Wales. It holds a special place in the hearts of both locals and visitors. Situated in the coastal village of Mumbles, the pub offers stunning views of Swansea Bay, making it a popular destination for those seeking a relaxing and scenic experience.
The history of The Pilot can be traced back to the 19th century when it began as a humble tavern catering to seafarers and locals. Over the years, it has evolved into a welcoming and traditional establishment, combining its maritime heritage with a warm and inviting atmosphere.
One of the main draws of The Pilot is its excellent selection of drinks, particularly its wide range of beers and ciders. The bar offers a variety of local and regional brews, allowing patrons to savour the flavours of Wales.
In addition to its enticing drink selection, The Pilot boasts a menu featuring delicious pub food made with locally sourced ingredients, from hearty classics like fish and chips to contemporary dishes. Guests can enjoy their meals indoors with views overlooking the bay or sit on the outdoor terrace to breathe in the fresh sea air.
The Pilot’s idyllic location and friendly ambience have made it a go-to spot for locals and tourists. Its combination of rich history, breathtaking views, and genuine Welsh hospitality make it a cherished destination and an integral part of the Mumbles community.
The Pen & Wig – Cardiff
The Pen & Wig in Cardiff, Wales, holds a special place as one of the best traditional bars in Wales. Located in the heart of the city, just a stone’s throw away from the bustling Cardiff Castle, The Pen & Wig boasts a history that dates back to the 19th century.
Originally established as a coaching inn, it has stood the test of time and retained its charm and character, making it a cherished part of Cardiff’s pub scene.
What sets The Pen & Wig apart is its impressive selection of real ales, ciders, and whiskies. The bar offers an extensive range of local and international brews, catering to beer enthusiasts and connoisseurs seeking to explore diverse flavours.
The Pen & Wig is also known for its warm and welcoming atmosphere. It’s a place where friends gather to catch up, where strangers become acquaintances, and where the rich tapestry of Cardiff’s community spirit comes to life.
The Kings Head – Llandudno
The Kings Head in Llandudno is a historic pub with a significant place in the town’s heritage. Located in the heart of Llandudno’s bustling streets, The Kings Head is a landmark with roots dating back to the 18th century.
As one of the oldest pubs in the area, it exudes a sense of timeless charm and character, attracting locals and tourists seeking an authentic taste of Welsh history and hospitality. It is easily one of the best historic bars in Wales.
The exterior of The Kings Head boasts an eye-catching Victorian façade, which makes it a recognisable landmark for visitors exploring Llandudno’s picturesque streets. Once inside, guests are greeted by a warm and inviting interior, with traditional decor and a welcoming atmosphere that instantly transports them to a bygone era.
One of the main draws of The Kings Head is its vast selection of beverages, particularly its range of real ales and ciders. As a testament to its commitment to preserving tradition, the pub serves a variety of locally brewed ales, including seasonal specialities.
The Bar at Portmeirion – Portmeirion
The Bar at Portmeirion in Portmeirion, Wales, is a delightful and enchanting destination within the picturesque village of Portmeirion. Known for its stunning architectural design and unique setting, Portmeirion is a popular tourist attraction.
The Bar at Portmeirion perfectly complements the village’s whimsical and colourful ambience, offering visitors a place to unwind and enjoy breathtaking views of the Dwyryd Estuary and the Gwynedd countryside. It is one of the most scenic bars in Wales.
The Bar at Portmeirion is situated in a prime location, allowing guests to take in the panoramic beauty of the village and its surroundings. Whether visitors choose to enjoy their drinks indoors in the charmingly decorated bar or opt for a seat on the outdoor terrace, they are treated to a setting that feels like something out of a fairytale.
Beyond its appealing drinks menu, The Bar at Portmeirion is a place where visitors can immerse themselves in the magical ambience of the village. The bar often hosts live music performances and themed events, adding to the overall experience and creating unforgettable memories for guests.
Tiny Rebel – Newport, Cardiff, and Other Locations Across Wales
Tiny Rebel is a well-known and highly acclaimed brewery with many bars in Wales’ cities. Founded in 2012 by Brad Cummings and Gareth Williams in Newport, Tiny Rebel has quickly risen to prominence within the craft beer scene and has garnered a loyal following.
The brewery’s flagship location in Newport is its main hub. It boasts a vibrant and contemporary space where visitors can witness the brewing process firsthand and learn about the art and science of crafting exceptional beers.
In addition to its Newport base, Tiny Rebel has expanded its reach with a presence in Cardiff and other cities, where it operates bars that showcase its diverse and ever-changing range of craft beers.
These bars serve as lively and convivial spaces where patrons can sample a variety of Tiny Rebel’s creations, which include a mix of classic styles and bold experimental brews that push the boundaries of traditional beer-making.
What sets Tiny Rebel apart from the other bars in Wales is its dedication to creativity and quality. The brewery is known for its willingness to take risks, resulting in unique and daring flavours that captivate beer enthusiasts and connoisseurs.
The Cottage Loaf – Llandudno
The Cottage Loaf in Llandudno, Wales, is a quaint and charming pub with a special place in the heart of the community. Located in the heart of Llandudno, this traditional inn has a history that dates back to the 18th century.
This bar in Wales is a beloved establishment with a rich heritage. Its classic exterior and inviting facade welcome locals and tourists, offering a taste of old-world charm and Welsh hospitality.
Upon entering The Cottage Loaf, visitors are greeted with a warm and cosy ambience. The traditional decor with wooden beams and a crackling fireplace creates a rustic and inviting atmosphere.
The Cottage Loaf is renowned for its excellent selection of real ales and traditional Welsh beverages. As a traditional pub, it prides itself on serving locally sourced ales, ciders, and spirits.
The warm and convivial atmosphere of the pub fosters a sense of community. The Cottage Loaf is a place where locals gather to share stories, enjoy each other’s company, and celebrate the essence of Welsh culture.
The Cambrian Tap – Cardiff
The Cambrian Tap in Cardiff is a vibrant and popular bar located near Cardiff Central Station. Housed within a historic building, the bar exudes character and charm, attracting locals and visitors looking for a unique and memorable drinking experience.
The Cambrian Tap’s name pays homage to the Cambrian railway line that once connected Cardiff to various parts of Wales, further adding to its historical significance. This well-known pub is one of the best bars in Wales for a relaxing evening.
The Cambrian Tap is renowned for its impressive selection of craft beers and ciders. With a rotating range of local and international brews on tap, the bar caters to beer enthusiasts seeking to explore a diverse array of flavours and styles.
In addition to its excellent drinks, The Cambrian Tap also offers a mouthwatering selection of bar snacks and sharing platters. From classic beer snacks like loaded nachos and artisanal pizza to more substantial dishes, the bar’s food menu perfectly complements its drinks, providing guests with a delightful culinary experience.
The Owain Glyndwr – Cardiff
The Owain Glyndwr in Cardiff, Wales, is a historical and iconic pub that pays tribute to the Welsh national hero Owain Glyndwr. Named after the revered figure who led the Welsh Revolt against English rule in the 15th century, the pub serves as a living reminder of Wales’ proud history and cultural identity.
Located in the heart of Cardiff, The Owain Glyndwr is a popular destination for locals and tourists seeking a taste of Welsh heritage and hospitality. Its popularity makes it one of the most exciting historic bars in Wales to visit.
The pub’s exterior features traditional architecture, giving it a timeless and classic charm that sets it apart from the modern buildings surrounding it. Once inside, visitors are greeted with a warm and welcoming ambience, where historical memorabilia and Welsh symbols create an authentic and nostalgic atmosphere.
Beyond its exceptional drinks, The Owain Glyndwr is also recognised for its traditional pub fare. The menu features a range of hearty Welsh dishes, from classic favourites like Welsh rarebit and cawl (traditional Welsh stew) to modern twists on traditional cuisine.
There are many Amazing Pubs and Bars in Wales
Wales, UK, boasts a vibrant and diverse pub and bar scene that caters to locals and tourists alike. The best pubs and bars in Wales are integral to the country’s cultural fabric, serving as communal gathering spaces where people come together to socialise, celebrate, and share in the rich heritage of Welsh hospitality.
For tourists, exploring the pubs and bars in Wales is an opportunity to immerse themselves in the country’s unique and vibrant drinking culture, sample local beverages, and experience the warm welcome of Welsh locals.
For locals, the pubs and bars in Wales are not just places to grab a drink, but hubs of community life, where friendships are forged, stories are shared, and cultural traditions are celebrated.
If you’re looking for more exciting things to do in Wales, check out these 15 Haunted Places in Wales.