There's been a swathe of party bars opening in the Welsh capital lately, ablaze with neon signs, flowered wallpaper, selfie mirrors and more neon signs. Now, if that's your vibe, crack on and party away we say, but if you love a more kicked back, cool bar to drink in there are plenty in Cardiff and its suburbs which sell brilliant cocktails, too.

From chic, New York-style, low-lit, muted grandeur with a bar selection as long as your arm to European sherry and gin cheerleaders with the knowledge to match and, of course, the always fun speakeasy with a kaleidoscope of imaginatively-named cocktails, an evening out in Cardiff can still be uninterrupted by hen and stag dos and unfettered by bog-standard overly sweet cocktail mixes.

Here we take a look, in no particular order, at the cool bars to enjoy a drink with your mates...

Read more: Tiny Cardiff bar named best in UK again at prestigious awards

Nightshade, High Street

Tucked away underneath one of the city centre's best restaurants, Pasture, Nightshade was subtly unshuttered earlier this year to welcome those who appreciate well-thought-out cocktails and excellent Champagnes in a plush, sexy (yes, we said sexy) setting full of red velvet seating, low lighting and a gorgeous bar. You have to enquire to book. Click here.

Nighthawks, Castle Arcade

This is a joyous place to hang out either early doors before dinner or after, as it's open until midnight. The unit you'll find it in, opposite the castle, makes you wonder how it possibly caters for all its regulars and fans, as you can only fit a handful of tables in the slim bar - but it works and without feeling like you're on top of one another. Nighthawks staff handpick their ever-changing wines, which are poured by the glass, and they also serve frozen cocktails in the summer. If you thought they couldn't get any better, they serve toasties, charcuterie and other delicious small plates. More on them, here.

Bacereto, Church Street

Canary yellow banquettes and interior of Bacareto

Another brilliant small place in Cardiff's bustling nighttime quarter, in the middle of all the big chains and Brains pubs. But this place stands out. Inspired by the bàcari of Venice - small backstreet bars which serve tiny snacks called cicheti - Bacareto's wine list is delicious right from house upwards. It does spritzes and cocktails, beers, all with that perfect Venetian slant. It's a place where everyone will find something delicious to drink from the beer lovers to the cocktail connoisseur

Same applies to the delicious cicheti, too. From topped crostino (crunchy bread) to arancinis and pizzetta - each dish will be made bearing in mind what's available that season.

Curado, Westgate Street

One of the capital's expert bars on everything Spanish that's delicious. Its menu is full of 'jamon and pinxtos' - ham and bar snacks - what more could you want? It's a bit more varied than that, though - their authentic Valencian, Galician and Basque country-inspired menu pairs well with the best of the region's beer and wine, which you can also buy in their deli. Behind Curado is Vermut, too, their tiny vermouth-specialising snug bar.

Dead Canary, Barrack Lane

Dead Canary piqued the interest of Cardiff drinkers as it's tucked behind the giant St David's shopping centre and you had to ring a bell to get in. You're still best off making a reservation for the bar that constantly changes its menu and calls itself 'Cardiff's worst kept secret.'

Pennyroyal, High Street

This dark and moody bar on the High Street serves bold and eccentric flavoured cocktails accompanied by a hip hop soundtrack. Despite it being located on one of Cardiff’s busiest streets, it still manages to maintain a discreet presence with its intimate atmosphere inside.

Having originally opened in 2017, Pennyroyal is no stranger to awards nominations and wins, having been nominated for Imbibe Magazine’s Drinks List of the Year four years in a row and earlier this year held steady in the top 50 cocktail bars in the UK.

Incognito, St Mary Street

With a rooftop terrace and a classic cocktail and wine menu, Incognito is above Le Monde restaurant and provides a quiet haven amidst the party hubbub of St Mary Street and Mill Lane.

Uisce, Pontcanna

The intimate little sister bar of Heaney's next door is full of freshly-made small plates, like lamb skewers or cured monkfish, and a menu of ever-changing seasonal drinks. It's currently under renovation to add a terrace, so that means even more room to enjoy a glass of vino and some oysters in the heart of Pontcanna. Uisce is walk-ins only.

Lab 22, Caroline Street

Tucked away at the top of Chippy Lane, Lab 22 has a great cocktail menu to match its mystery - see their menu here - It describes itself as: "A prevalence towards the different and daring. Constantly striving to push boundaries of mixology and set the standard for cocktails in Cardiff. Mixed drinks, but not like you’ve had them before."

That doesn't go against our 'unfussy' remit, it just means that Lab 22 are the epitome of talent in what they do, of course. It's a talent and menu that's been recognised with multiple awards, latest on that, here.

The Sorting Room Bar, Westgate Street

A quiet, chicly designed bar that is part of the impressive Parkgate Hotel in the city centre. We love the low, bench-style seating, the beautiful bar area and their cocktail menu. It's a perfect place to get a quick drink post-work, pre-dinner or any time you fancy feeling like you're in a classy NYC cocktail bar.

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Thomas, Pontcanna

This used to be the old Cameo club, a sure fire bar for late-night drinkers and those who liked a lovely gin without much fuzz. Slightly more upmarket it is now, with the bar part of Tom Simmond's great eponymous restaurant that blends the best of Welsh produce and recipes with French techniques.

There are no reservatons for the bar so if you fancy a local beer, seasonal cocktail or a glass of Champers, along with a day-long menu of bar snacks, pop in to Thomas.

Bar 44, Westgate Street

With three branches throughout South Wales and Bristol, Bar 44 has grown since its inception 20 years ago into one of the city's much-loved bars and restaurants. Offering delicious wines and cocktails alongside small Spanish tapas plates in a cosy and intimate dining room, it makes for the ultimate date night.

What's more is, if you've a penchant for sherry, the Cardiff branch is the only venue in the UK to pour three different sherries from full sized barrels behind the bar.

The Neighbourhood Bar & Kitchen

Set a bit further out of the city centre, in Riverside, is Neighbourhood, which, as well as a revolving line-up of pretty awesome pop-up foodie vendors, serves a cocktail menu. As well as seasonal cocktails they do a separate margarita menu - mmm-mm.

Heathcock's Champagne Bar, Llandaff

Serving Champagne and oysters, the Heathcock's upstairs bar is markedly different to the simple, rustic downstairs restaurant and bar area where they serve the best of Welsh pub grub and beer. Open Thursday to Sunday, the Champagne and oyster bar is plush yet cosy and a bit more intimate than the restaurant vibe downstairs. You will have to book to visit, here.

The Touring Club, Penarth

Ten minutes on the train outside Cardiff is Penarth and we couldn't not include this new kid on the bar block as it serves a superb drinks menu of cocktails, Champagne, wine and small plates - with a strong Welsh and Patagonian heritage.

All is prepped right in front of you, food and drink, so grab your seat at the bar, or in the summer months at the high table in the opened doors. Read what we thought, here.

Glass of Bandol, Whitchurch

Glass of Bandol has a dark and moody interior with reclaimed church pews, metal stools, exposed brickwork, wood panelling and parquet flooring.

But, the standout feature is the bar’s vending machines, which will dispense 24 different varieties of wine in different size pours from 50ml to 175ml. Customers will be able to top up a prepaid card at the bar and serve themselves wines of different styles and price-points from across the world, including lesser-known wine-producing countries such as Lebanon and Georgia. Oh yeah, they also do fondue!