Cardiff is famous for its music scene. The city is bursting with little anecdotes and snippets of history that show its long and loving relationship with the art form. From being the home of the oldest record shop in Wales, Spiller Records, to producing some of the world’s most amazing bands like the Stereophonics and Manic Street Preachers, there’s no surprise that the city offers some of the most popular live music venues in Cardiff.
So, whether you love an intimate gig, a stadium show or a cosy acoustic set, Cardiff has the perfect live music venue for you. Check out our guide to some of the very best Cardiff venues and buy your tickets for the next show!
Cardiff Live Music Venues
The Exchange Hotel
First on our list of the very best Cardiff music venues is the iconic Exchange Hotel. Formerly the city’s historic Coal Exchange, this magnificent building was saved from dereliction and transformed into a luxury hotel and event space.
Set in the heart of Cardiff Bay, The Exchange Hotel is perfect for those looking for a gig venue with the wow factor. The Grand Hall boasts original period features, breathtaking classical architecture and a unique character and charm.
Having hosted amazing acts such as Tom Jones and Beverley Knight, this venue offers a breathtaking backdrop to any music event.
One of the most iconic buildings in the city, The Exchange is a fantastic Cardiff venue to enjoy the very best live music.
Situated on Albany Road, The Globe originally started out as a fully operational cinema. Today, the Cardiff music venue has a capacity of 350 and is famous for showcasing rising stars such as Royal Blood, Catfish & The Bottlemen and Public Service Broadcasting.
One of the most popular music venues in Cardiff, The Globe has a baroque style inside, with a bar that serves a range of interesting beers and ciders and a reputation for hosting some of the best alternative artists in the city.
One of the more intimate live music venues in Cardiff, The Moon has a capacity of just 150 and hosts a diverse range of musical genres inside its walls.
From folk and country music, to acoustic disco, funk, Motown and soul, The Moon offers gig goers a bit of everything. They specialise in serving hard liquor and their famous 5-dollar shakes. Set in the heart of the city, it’s the perfect Cardiff venue to enjoy great live music whilst staying close to the city centre.
Clwb Ifor Bach
Located opposite The Moon, Clwb Ifor Bach is one of the most popular live music venues in Cardiff.
Named after a Welsh leader who rebelled against the English during the 12th century, the venue was first opened in 1983 and is used as a hub for native Welsh speakers. Don’t worry, you will be let through the door if you can’t speak Welsh, but they do love their tradition.
Offering amazing live music across three floors, you can expect to hear a mixture of indie, rock and punk from a selection of homegrown talent and international acts at this Cardiff venue.
A small music venue that doubles as a bar and restaurant, Live Lounge is the place to catch live music at any time of the day, seven days a week.
Throughout the day, you can expect to hear lots of wonderful acoustic music, but when it starts to get dark, they tend to take it up a few gears with some high energy cover bands.
If you stay late enough, the stage is eventually cleared to make way for a dance floor and a DJ takes over to play tunes into the early hours.
Gwdihŵ Café Bar
Gwdihw Café Bar, located near the Motorpoint Arena, is a cosy, homely Cardiff venue, that promotes a variety of music genres. With an ever-changing line-up and series of events, this bar has been referred to as one of the best live music venues in Wales.
Offering a lot of charm, a range of music including funk, soul, house and hip hop, and a fantastic beer garden, this fabulous little venue is well worth a visit.
St David’s Hall
Next up in our guide to the very best live music venues in Cardiff is the famous St David’s Hall. This spectacular space is the National Concert Hall of Wales, hosting the country’s proms.
Opened in 1983 by the Queen Mother, the hall’s brutalist architectural style has caused the building to become an important part of the city’s landscape.
And it’s not just the place for classical music fans, St David’s Hall also provides a varied programme of comedy, performing arts and a range of music events from jazz, soul and pop. This beautiful hall is a highlight in our guide to the best Cardiff venues for live music.
Cardiff’s Tramshed is one of the city’s newest live music venues. Located just across the River Taf, it is set within an historic old tram depot, giving it a great cultural significance.
First opened in October 2015, Tramshed offers music lovers a unique venue to enjoy some of the best up and coming acts from around the UK and across the world.
As well as providing a range of alternative entertainment, this bi-lingual venue is also home to a popular bar and café, which prides itself on creating dishes using only locally sourced ingredients.
The Motorpoint Arena
Next up is of course the Motorpoint Arena. Possibly one of the city’s most famous live music venues, the arena is located at the heart of the city and regularly attract big names from all over the world.
Since it was first opened in 1993 by Dame Shirley Bassey, the venue has played host to the likes of Beyonce, Bob Dylan, Lady Gaga and many more big stars.
With a maximum capacity of 7,500 people, attending a concert here won’t be an intimate experience, but it’s the best Cardiff venue to see big international artists.
Cardiff University Students’ Union
If you’re looking for a live music venue that’s cheap, look no further than Cardiff’s Students’ Union. With two venues, Y Plas and The Great Hall, you’ll usually find that there will be multiple events on at the same time.
Y Plas is for more intimate gigs, whereas The Great Hall welcomes chart toppers and great bands to play to a 1,600-strong crowd. Look out for the upcoming shows and book your tickets today, they always sell out fast.
Porter’s Bar offers music lovers a weekly open mic night and remains one of Cardiff’s best kept secrets on the local 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. So, if you love watching amazingly talented performers, don’t miss out on their next event.
If you’re into grunge, hardcore bands and offbeat raves, head down to Undertone. This grimy live music venue is a basement that specialises in dirty rock shows and DIY punk performances.
It’s a must visit if you love getting involved in a mosh pit.
Millennium Music Hall
To finish our guide to the best Cardiff venues, we have the nation’s home of the performing arts, Cardiff’s Millennium Music Hall. As well as being a hub for arts and culture, this venue also offers visitors some amazing live music opportunities.
The centre provides an extensive programme of world class entertainment, showcases Welsh creativity and talents, partners with international artistic companies, and offers creative learning and community engagement opportunities aimed at increasing accessibility to art and culture.
What more could you want from a live music venue in Cardiff!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to the very best Cardiff venues. If you’re planning on visiting any of these amazing spaces and need a place to stay the night, look no further than the historic Exchange Hotel. Set in the beautiful Cardiff Bay, this luxurious hotel is the perfect destination for couples, groups of friends or family to enjoy an unforgettable overnight experience in the city.
With a range of unmissable offers and packages, there’s nowhere better to rest your head after discovering some of Cardiff’s amazing live music venues. To book your stay, get in touch with our friendly team today on 02920 107050.