5 of the best alternative music venues in Cardiff
Nightclub decks

Some music lovers like their gigs epic sized, others prefer something smaller, more intimate and relatable, where they can rub shoulders with the band that’s playing and buy a t-shirt off the lead singer after the show.

If you fall into the latter camp, these Cardiff based music venues will be right up your alley.

From upstairs rooms in pubs to funky bohemian bars, there’s something for everyone in the Welsh capital.

Four Bars at Dempseys

As well as being a key venue for Huw Stephens’ annual music takeover Swn Festival, Four Bars is a popular gigging destination in its own right. Situated in the upstairs bar of Irish pub Dempsey’s, the 100 capacity room has played host to bands including The Drums, The Vaccines and Alt-J.

15 Castle Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BS, dempseyscardiff.com

Clwb Ifor Bach

Referred to as ‘Welsh Club’ by non-bilingual punters who can’t pronounce its proper name, Clwb Ifor Bach is the big daddy in Cardiff’s underground music mecca, Womanby Street. Originally it was a members club for Welsh speakers, but now the venue welcomes anyone through its door who’s up for a craft beer-fuelled night of live rock, indie and punk. The after show parties here are also legendary, featuring danceworthy DJs across three floors. 11 Womanby Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BR, clwb.net/eng


Porter’s weekly open mic night is possibly the best kept secret on Cardiff’s music circuit. A community of ridiculously talented performers gather every Tuesday to showcase their latest material and collaborate with one another in acoustic covers of vintage pop. Wales’ next breakthrough act will probably be discovered here – don’t let them escape your radar. Harlech Court, Bute Terrace, Cardiff, CF10 2FE, porterscardiff.com


Every city needs a grungey venue that’s quite literally underground, housing raucous hardcore bands and offbeat raves whenever they pass through town. In Cardiff, Undertone is that venue. This gloriously grubby basement has seen more than its fair share of DIY punk shows, a clamorous contrast to the understated urban chic of it neighbouring cocktail bar, 10 Feet Tall. 12 Church Street, Cardiff, CF10 1BG, facebook.com/undertoneCF


Cardiff’s other hard-to-say music venue (it’s pronounced ‘Goodyhoo’ and means ‘Little Owl’) would be easy to miss, if it weren’t bright orange. The pint-sized café-bar doubles as an eclectic music hotspot by night, specialising in indie, soul, hip-hop and world music. With local microbrewery Pipes on tap and a sheltered garden illuminated with fairy lights, Gwdihw’s a quality hangout spot whether or not you’re into the tunes.

6 Guildford Crescent, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, CF10 2HJ, gwdihw.co.uk