Clwb Ifor Bach (English: Little Ivor’s club) is a Cardiff nightclub, music venue, Welsh-language club and community centre. It is known to the Cardiff Welsh-speaking community as Clwb (Welsh: (The) Club) and is often known by others as The Welsh Club.
Clwb Ifor Bach is used as a social centre by Welsh speaking people in Cardiff, as well as by many non-Welsh speakers. Until recent years, the club had a number of regular members only nights. This policy has been discontinued. Clwb Ifor Bach is the focal point for many Welsh-medium organisations and events in the area: social, educational, sporting and otherwise. English and Welsh are spoken equally throughout the club, and most staff are required to be bilingual. No anti-Welsh sentiment is tolerated in the club.
Clwb Ifor Bach is located in central Cardiff, halfway down Womanby Street, a lane running from the front of Cardiff Castle, parallel to High Street/St Mary Street). At either end of Womanby Street are The City Arms, opposite the Millennium Stadium, and Dempsey’s Irish Bar, opposite the castle. The club faces the rear of the Wetherspoons pub ‘The Gatekeeper‘, the front entrance of which is located on Westgate Street.
Clwb Ifor Bach has existed since the 1970s, and was founded by Welsh politician Owen John Thomas. It is named after Ifor Bach, a local rebel against English rule during the 12th century.
The club used to be members-only, with membership limited to Welsh-speakers or those committed to learning the Welsh language. This rule was rescinded in the late 1990s. The club still employs a members only policy during exceptionally busy times, for example when a major rugby international is played at the Millennium Stadium.
The club is contained within an unassuming three-storey building. There is a bar, stage and dance floor on each level, varying in size from level to level. The top floor is the largest. The physical fabric of the club underwent a fairly major overhaul in the 1990s.
The club is an important and enduring part of the Cardiff music scene. There are regular performances of live music on the club’s stages. There are also regular themed music nights on a week-to-week basis, during which one of the club’s floors may be given over to a particular musical genre for an evening. The range of music played is very wide, and includes reggae, folk, hip-hop, pop, rock, Welsh and more. In addition to the membership fee, there may be an additional door fee for specific floors or bands.
Events are listed on the club’s website and on the noticeboard in the foyer. As well as musical events, other events take place, such as society meetings, conversational evenings, or watching rugby union on the big screen.