By: Emily Lovasz
After visiting Cardiff, Wales I noticed a lot of differences and similarities to the United States and more specifically East Lansing. England and Wales have very similar cultures to the U.S. when it comes to nightlife. Both East Lansing, while a college town, and Cardiff have a very lively presence when the sun goes down.
East Lansing has more of a bar scene and caters more to college students. The few bars that are in the city are more dance clubs with DJs, club music and a ton of students going from bar to bar.
Comparing East Lansing to Cardiff, there are a lot of similarities, but I also noticed some slight differences during my visit. While Cardiff isn’t really a college town but just one with great nightlife, I didn’t really see a lot of people my age walking around. In East Lansing, students will go to bar after bar and sometimes only stay there for an hour or two. In Cardiff, there are people of all ages and they usually stay and hangout with friends and family for hours.
Another thing I noticed about Cardiff was that there are less bars and nightclubs and more pubs and casual hangout spots. Pubs are abundant in England, Ireland and Wales. Almost each street corner has a pub or restaurant with a small patio out front where people can sit and have a drink with friends or enjoy a meal. The few nightclubs that the city did have were very similar to East Lansing with club music and younger people.
On one of our first nights in Cardiff, our group went to walk around the city at night. The main road where traffic was heavy and the wide sidewalks were full of tourists and people heading to and from work and the shops, were now completely transformed. The road was blocked off by police barricades and the sidewalks were now filled with groups of people dressed up and slowly walking to check out which pubs had the best deals.
Our group stopped at a place called the Brewhouse early in the night. The Brewhouse was in one of the old Victorian arcades of Cardiff. The arcades are small walkways lined with cafes, stores and pubs. This specific arcade, The Brewery Quarter, opened up to a pub, a couple of restaurants and a huge square with steps that people could sit on and enjoy drinks with their friends.
Once inside the Brewhouse, we heard a band playing music in the next room. At one end of the room there was a stage that a band had equipment set up on. There was a railing lined with people dancing along and talking with friends. Below the railing was a large dance floor where people sang along and danced to the music the band played.
Walking around Cardiff during the few nights that we were there I noticed that quite a few of the pubs had live music. There were the nightclubs and bars that had a DJ playing music to dance to, but the older pubs known to people who live in and visit Cardiff had live bands.
This was completely different to what I experience at home. East Lansing doesn’t really have any bars that have live bands that play. However, live music doesn’t cater to most college students. It is more common for people in European cities to go to a pub, grab a few drinks with friends and sit and listen to music for the night.
I really enjoyed the night of music. They even played quite a few songs that I knew, old and new. It was really cool to experience something different than what I am used to in East Lansing or anything back home in the U.S. Listening to live bands throughout the night made the experience of visiting local pubs complete.
Video by Rohan Makhecha
Besides the music being different than what I am used to in the U.S. and at school, a small thing I noticed was some of the advertising. In East Lansing, bars don’t really advertise outside what their specials are. Some of the bars have specials every week that are well known, but that’s about it. In Cardiff, most of the pubs and nightclubs have advertising outside on a sign saying what their specials are. Almost every place we went to had 2 for 1 cocktails, which is not really common in the U.S. This was definitely a different way to advertise for the bar and get people to come in. There were also some people walking around outside the bar handing out a piece of paper for drink deals and then they would talk to you about the bar and try to get you to come inside. Again, this isn’t common in the U.S. and East Lansing.
Overall, Cardiff had a lot of different ways to mass communicate the nightlife that the city offered. Just by walking around, people would talk to you about the specials that bar had. The pubs and bars would advertise what specials they had as well. This was a way to mass communicate to hundreds of people walking through the streets each night. East Lansing doesn’t really have a great way to mass communicate these deals, it is usually just by word of mouth.
After visiting Cardiff, I would like to see more of the nightlife in East Lansing and my hometown look like the small coastal city that we visited for a few days. Besides the fact that every time I talked to someone they asked where I was from, the environment was very welcoming. All of the pubs and great music were just a few blocks apart, maybe a 10 minute walk from one end to the other. I would like to see bars at home use more mass communication like pubs and nightclubs in Cardiff did. I would also like to see more live music. While I don’t think this will happen, it was fitting for the small town. Everyone gathered together in one space in the city and listened to a band for hours on end. This was one of the most enjoyable parts of visiting Cardiff.