Five top Cardiff rugby pubs
Visiting the Principality Stadium for the Six Nations tournament? Here is our pick of some very fine venues that are in easy walking distance from the grounds.
The City Arms
One of the city’s favourite watering holes and a winner of the Best Cardiff Pub of the Year award, this grand old rugby pub has almost as great a rugby pedigree as the stadium itself. Two minutes from the Principality Stadium, this recently-renovated boozer is popular with locals and serves not just lovely pints of Brains (the local IPA and sponsors of the Wales team) but German lagers and the like, although it’s largely hipster-free.
The Old Arcade
If you closed your eyes and imagined a diehard rugby pub, this would be it. The walls are covered with rugby memorabilia and rare shirts donated by the Welsh Rugby Union, and one wall is devoted to a timeline charting the history of Welsh rugby from 1881 to the present. It’s popular with fans of the Cardiff Blues rugby team, and visiting rugby fans are encouraged to have their picture taken and put on the Wall of Fame. The beer is Brains, and this rugby shrine also has a huge menu of pub grub.
This small but perfectly-formed little Brains inn is famous for its pie and chips (our favourite is the boeuf bourguignon), all of which cost less than a tenner, but it’s also just five minutes from the ground and found opposite the impressive gates to Cardiff Castle, so it gets stowed out on international days. The name is a reference to the handler of the mascot for The Royal Welsh regiment, who leads Shenkin the goat (who sadly died last year) and the Welsh team out before internationals.
Prince of Wales
Okay, I know it’s a Wetherspoon pub, but that brings with it all sorts of upsides. For a start, as well as being virtually on the doorstep of the stadium, the beer and food is cheap, and there is plenty of room and big screens to watch the game. The pub is inside what was once the Prince of Wales Theatre, and it retains features such as the balconies, but as well as framed photos of local talent of the time, such as Ivor Novello and Sybil Thorndike, there are plenty of framed photos of Wales’ finest rugby players too.
With three projector screens over two floors and the biggest selection of Welsh beers in the city, this bar straight across the road from the stadium is always heaving after internationals when it transforms from hipster hangout to makeshift rugby centre. Opened in 2013, it’s owned by the boutique Newport-based Rebel Brewery and serves only craft beers, plus damned fine burgers (try the Big Welsh, which is topped with Welsh cheddar, pan-fried leek and bacon).