First Published: Before August 2002
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.
OutUK's Adrian Gillan catches some Welsh rarebit boyos down in Cardiff.
Get off on yummy lads in scrums or strapping miner boys sluicing off their soot? Dream on! Cardiff is in fact Europe's youngest capital, a contender for the European City of Culture and has some seriously horny, luscious, lilting stunners with dark hair and eyes, high cheekbones and strong jaws to die upon.
Cardiff's new Millenium Stadium

EATING

There are a couple of gay-friendly gastronomes to check out first though. The terrific little café that is Kemi's proffers good-value, light and healthy lunches to kick-start the day or good hearty breakfasts to pick you up from the night before. For something fuller of an evening, just before kick off, ambient La Strada will fill you with just enough Italian fodder to soak up what's in store.

Like all the best British cities there's definitely a gay or gay-friendly street so you can go bar-hopping and in Cardiff it's Caroline Street. A fun tradiotional place to start the night proper is the Golden Cross, which is in a fine old building, which also boasts wholesome home-cooked grub throughout the day - especially on a Sunday lunch. Regular strippers, karaoke nights and drag including the outrageously non-pc Kitty Litter. Then a few minutes stagger away the regenerated Euro-style cafe piazza-cum-car-park to the Kings Cross, the oldest gay pub in Cardiff. Serving the community for over three decades, the 'KX' has been refurbished and relaunched to place itself apart from the Golden Cross and pitch things at the young'ns. Like the rest of the scene here, it is nicely mixed: all genders, all ages.

CLUBBING

Drunk enough to dance? Opened earlier this year Pulse has really shaken up the Cardiff club scene with it's stylish upper bar, and downstairs club packed with horny Welsh lads out for a good night. The emphasis is on fun with nights like School Disco and Fannyoke.
Cardiff also boasts cheap and cheerful Exit Club which is open 'til 2am every night except Sunday. With two bars and central 'sunken' jive floor, plus a spacious upper bar and courtyard, there's enough to stare at here to keep you wide awake and ladies seem to feel particularly welcome.
Mr Gay UK Heat night at Pulse
Just over the road Club X - "Wales' biggest gay club" - pulls them in with three spaces: for R&B, cheese and some pretty uninspired trance. With entrance stamps inked on wrists or arms, gay Cardiff clubbers tend to flit freely between here and Exit. Recently refitted and cruisy, it adjoins The Edge. Also drop in on Bar XS, a little gem connected to Club X which normally acts as intimate pre-club pad throughout the week, but also opens during Club X club hours on Saturdays for a chill-out spill-over zone.

OUTDOOR LIFE

Outdoor cruising means central Castle Park, only a five minute walk away from quarters queer. If you stand facing the main castle gates, turn left and follow the road right along, keeping the castle grounds on your right. Cross the River Taff using the bridge before darting into the castle park through an entrance immediately on your right. The first, but generally least busy, cruising area is a couple of hundred yards down this path. For heavier action, carry on for about half a mile until you cross a footbridge into the main castle grounds. After crossing this bridge turn left for the heavy stuff; turn right for gentler cruising and towards the area where the daytime action happens - though in the daytime, of course, you can enter by the main castle gates, so saving you a twenty minute stroll!

GETTING STEAMY

But, cum rain or snow, the Locker Room sauna is where it's at and pretty much as you'd expect - spaces to steam and sweat in every way. Next door, get a trim and put some colour in your four cheeks at the Wow Barber Shop & Tan 'n Go, a gay-owned snippery with adjoining up-right walk-in sun booths.

BED & BOARD

If you're looking for a place to rest your queer head then highly recommended is gay guesthouse Ty Rosa.
A newly refurbished Victorian terrace house Ty Rosa is run by two very friendly gay guys Paul and Stuart.

They'll point you in the right direction to all of Cardiff's attractions gay or otherwise and they serve a great breakfast too. Reserve early as they get booked up quickly. There are a couple of other gay friendly options too.


Bedroom at Ty Rosa. Book online
The Courtfield Hotel is an attractive Victorian townhouse, just ten minute walk from the city centre and bars. The Wynford is also in the city centre and is gay-friendly and lively. But if you drive and don't want to be in the thick of things, you might try Morgraig Bed & Breakfast, six miles out of town. The Big Sleep is a newly refurbished hotel with light airy rooms right in the city centre and a fun designer feel. This and other hotels can booked online using the OutUK Booking service.
Updated September 2007

THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK

Bar XS (Charles Street; T: 0292 040 0876)
Club X (Charles Street; T: 0292 040 0876 Website)
Courtfield Hotel (101 Cathedral Road; T: 0292 022 7701)
Exit Club (48 Charles Street; T: 0292 064 0102)
Golden Cross (283 Hayes Bridge Road; T: 0292 039 4556 Website)
Kemi's (2 Mill Lane; T: 0292 022 6656)
Kings Cross (25 Caroline Street; T: 0292 064 9891)
La Strada (off Charles Street; T: 0292 022 2242)
Locker Room (50 Charles Street; T: 0292 022 0388)
Morgraig Bed & Breakfast (T: 07005 610098)
Pulse (Churchill Way; T: 07825 505653 Website)
Ty Rosa (118 Clive Street; T: 07003 450272 Website)
Wynford Hotel (Clare Street; T: 029 2037 1983 Website)
Wow Barber Shop & Tan 'n Go (52 Charles Street; T: 0292 022 5654)

 

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