Mary’s in Cardiff has been shortlisted for a national award, beating dozens of worthy entrants from pubs and bars across the UK to earn a place in the final of this year’s John Smith’s Great British Pub Awards. The popular gay bar is now in the running to be crowned ‘Best LGBTQ+ Pub’ in the country and the team at Mary’s couldn’t be more excited!

From the day it first opened its doors almost three years ago, Mary’s on Mary Street, has become known as a community venue and a safe place for all in the LGBTQ community to relax with friends and family.

Fun and fundraising are high up on the agenda at Mary’s, with entertainment on most nights, more often than not to raise money for good causes. Highlights include the ‘Marytacular Fashion Show’, which first took place on World AIDS Day last December to raise funds and awareness for the Terrence Higgins Trust. Fashion design students at the University of South Wales created 18 fabulous dresses for nine Drag Queens for the event, which raised £1,400 for charity. It was so successful that the university has now made it part of the curriculum.

Mary’s is also proud to have showcased the ‘Drag for Autism’ initiative to raise funds and awareness for charities that support people with autism, as well as the ‘Love Yourself’ night, which takes place on Valentine’s Day with proceeds going to ‘Heads About The Waves’, a charity that raises awareness of depression and self-harm in young people.

Pride Cymru (Wales) is always a big event for Mary’s; this year it takes place on 24-26 August and staff and customers will be embracing the theme ‘Proud to Be Me”. Mary’s also sponsors Cardiff Lions RFC – Wales’ first gay-inclusive rugby club, Cardiff Dragons FC – Wales’ first and only LGBTQ+ football team and the South Wales Gay Men’s Chorus.

Manager Gordon Tovey, who has been on the gay scene himself for many years, actively campaigns to help make changes in the way in which society views the LGBTQ community and encourage tolerance and diversity. He said: ” Our mantra at Mary’s is #NoLabels and we are passionate about being supportive and inclusive and offering a venue that is proud to be openly gay in which customers always feel welcome and safe.

“We often hold parties for people who invite their grandparents, parents and children along to celebrate with them in a venue where they feel at home. I believe that is testament to all the years of hard work and commitment to bring about change and acceptance of all those in our community; we treat our customers as family and we are proud of the fact that people of all ages and persuasions feel comfortable and welcome at Mary’s.

“We also work closely with other businesses, including other local gay bars, to promote tolerance and showcase Cardiff as the number one LGBTQ+ destination.

Ed Bedington, organiser of the John Smith’s Great British Pub Awards, said: “These awards are the most rigorous of their kind for the pub sector and it’s a real achievement to make it this far into the competition.”

The judging process is three-rounds and includes a visit by the judges as part of the final process. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London on September 6.

Mary’s is one of just four finalists in the John Smith’s Great British Pub Awards 2018’s ‘Best LGBTQ+ Pub’ category.


Mary’s, 89, St Mary Street, Cardiff, CF10 1DW T: 02920 668 647



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