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Clwb Ifor Bach

Neighbourhood: City Centre
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Address: 11 Womanby Street, Cardiff CF10 1BR, Wales
Phone Number:
+44 29 2023 2199
19:00 - 03:30
Closed now
See all hours
Mon 19:00 - 02:30
Tue 19:00 - 03:30
Wed - Sun 19:00 - 04:00
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours

Located on Womanby Street, a narrow alley located across the road from...

Located on Womanby Street, a narrow alley located across the road from Cardiff Castle, Clwb Ifor Bach - you might find it referred to as 'Y Clwb', or merely 'Clwb', or 'The Welsh Club' if three easily-pronounced words of the native tongue is deemed a shade taxing - opened in 1983. It was initially a members' club, one which sought to promote the Welsh language in Cardiff. While much of north and west Wales speaks Welsh as a primary language, Cardiff and the surrounding area is considered English-speaking first and foremost; this is reflected in the music that has emanated from the city over the decades, yet once Clwb Ifor Bach began to establish itself as a music venue, bands and artists from the breadth of Wales found their way through its doors.

The commercial ascendancy of a select few Welsh-speaking outfits in the mid-90s - Super Furry Animals, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci and Catatonia made the greatest inroads - sparked, even if inadvertently, an upswing and a greater eclecticism in the venue's booking schedule. Memorable evenings in this decade included, among a sprawling list, UK electronic icons Autechre, the first and only Welsh show by Pavement (an early success for promo company Xplosure, who had a weekly band night which ran for some years), a just-pre-superstardom sell-out gig for Coldplay and a slew of monstrous rave-ups by hip-hop and dance promoters. Hustler covered hip-hop, funk and breakbeat, Silent Running brought every drum'n'bass icon under the sun to Cardiff and Radius maintained high house and techno standards. Names scattered among Clwb's backhistory include DJ Shadow, Roni Size, Scratch Perverts, 808 State, LTJ Bukem and Roots Manuva, to name a mere handful.

The rule on which the club was established - that membership, for which one was given a card, required an ability to speak Welsh or a commitment to learn - was relaxed in the late 90s. Staff members are generally expected to speak the mother tongue, though, and things such as gig posters in the venue are bilingual where possible. The broad 'vibe' of Clwb Ifor Bach, friendly and bereft of dress codes or pocket-vacuuming drinks prices, stayed much the same, as the 21st century found South Wales spawning a glut of new bands (and rappers, DJs etc). Reflected in events like Radio 1 Live In Cardiff (October 2000) and labels such as Boobytrap, Ifor Bach was more of an epicentre for loud activity than ever. A disarmingly warm show headlined by The Strokes, in the summer of 2001, was one especially destined to stick in the memory of those who snared a ticket.

It's 2008, and Clwb Ifor Bach has driven its foundations further still into the earth. Promoters and club nights have come and gone (although some, have been extant for over a decade now), and so have other music venues. Live music has been on both the top and bottom floors since 2005; the capacity on the top floor has recently been increased, yet there are still plenty of sell-out shows. It's not at all unknown for some proper famous boys to choose it for an 'intimate' gig on the down low - Super Furry Animals, Lost Prophets and Bullet For My Valentine are three recent examples. Notable shows in the last 12 months have come courtesy of Blood Red Shoes, Dead Meadow, Turisas, Foals, Black Lips, Future Of The Left, Los Campesinos!, The Cardiacs and Surgeon; prominent promoters at the time of writing include Forecast, Music Events Wales, Pedigree Falcon, Holodeck, Aperture, Sumo and Lesson No.1. Got designs to be among that list? Call up the venue. There's always room for more of this sort of spirit.

Well, we hope you found that illuminating. Oh! What's an Ifor Bach? It's a who, not a what - Ifor Bach was the Welsh lord of the Cantref of Senghennydd, who in 1158 kidnapped the oppressive Earl of Gloucester and thus had hero status bestowed on him. He's a symbol of sorts for those in Wales who don't give in or take the easy route. Some people even named a music venue after him.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 27 reviews
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Intimate Music Venue

A small music venue which draws in emerging talent from the music industry with names such as The Wonder Years and Neck Deep playing. Stage diving encouraged, music gets loud and... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 5 January 2017
Kyle J
via mobile
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27 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 26: English reviews
Surrey, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 February 2017

I was booked by a night called 'Time Flies' to take photos at the event on Friday 3rd Feb 2017. Great venue and sound system. Super friendly crowd and great door/security staff. Very good night indeed with a 4am finish

Thank MatthewFrostMedia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 January 2017 via mobile

A small music venue which draws in emerging talent from the music industry with names such as The Wonder Years and Neck Deep playing. Stage diving encouraged, music gets loud and drinks are reasonably priced.

Thank Kyle J
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 October 2016

I've played and watched gigs here a few times and it's definitely one of my favourites in the city. Absolutely awesome sound, nice staff and quite a cool layout. Perfect for a sweaty dance around. The range of acts they have on is refreshing, it's successfully avoided being one of those venues that only churns out one type of music... More 

Thank cocktailsaregroovy
Level Contributor
139 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 October 2016

Came here to see MoonHooch. Venue is made for music! Great layout great sound acoustics. Club prices on drinks but not too unreasonable.

Thank Diane N
Level Contributor
132 reviews
103 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 October 2016

Clwb Ifor Bach is a great music venue. They often book great artists and DJ's, it's one of my favourite venues!

Thank Lewis S
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 June 2016

Clwb Ifor Bach, or merely Clwb, is a great little venue. It hosts a great range of smaller gigs in an intimate setting, and hosts a wide and diverse range of gigs from Welsh musicians to alt/indie chart artists. I've seen quite a few gigs here in recent years, and always enjoy the venue. Saturday nights it's the best clwb... More 

Thank Alex F
Cardiff, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 May 2016

Over the last few months I've seen Yak and Telegram at Clwb Ifor Bach. Both bands were able to perform the best of their abilities due to the great lighting and sound provided by the venue. This wasn't my experience at Full Moon Club where the sound for the main act was terrible (which the band were vocal about, considering... More 

Thank Fodderstompf
Level Contributor
98 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 April 2016

Called here to see The Icicle works. Ian Mcnabb and co were on top form, having seen them previously we knew what to expect. The venue though a different story. We got there at 7.45 , the band were already on and we had missed a few numbers. Jam packed, we were hovering around the door entrance and many coming... More 

Thank MorgyGwent
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 February 2016

Saw C Duncan here , was small and packed. It made for a lovely atmosphere , studenty but welcoming making me (nearly 40) not feel out of place , can get a 4 pack at the bar convenient if you're there for a gig and it's packed - I'd go again.

1 Thank Gemma W
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 December 2015

We came to Cardiff to see The Rezillos at Clwb Ifor Bach, the club itself was very small for a band of this stature and was consequently rammed. The crowd were boisterous to say the least, this was the last Weekend before Christmas and many people were in a state of advanced refreshment. Regardless, the atmosphere was vibrant and friendly... More 

Thank Alan_Galaxy

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