Firstly its location. It sits at the "wrong" end of Cardiff, away from the main socialising / hospitality-focussed area. It is nearer to Queen Street Station than Central; adjacent to the Capitol Shopping Centre and carpark; a monument to 90s optimism whose last big attraction was a Virgin Megastore.
This makes it a sort-of hidden gem. You have to go looking for it and you are rewarded when you find it. The Spoons opposite swallows up a lot of the fickle passing trade meaning the Flute is available for those who appreciate a more relaxed, personal, intimate atmosphere.
Reason Number 2: it is a fantastic beer location with cask pumps, real cider, a healthy and wide ranging smallpack selection as well as a sprinkling of lesser seen macro brands.
Reason 3: it is beautifully appointed, with wooden beams, mirrors, metal signs, posters and an array of extremely comfortable furnishings normally found in hotel lobbys and airports. This is a very pleasant place to be.
Fourthly it is a respected and well patronised live music venue, with jazz the main order of business.
And the main reason for me to champion this pub? The reason, for me, that possibly, maybe trumps all the above?
In my humble and unlearned opinion, the Flute & Tankard serves the best, most consistently excellent pint of Guinness in Cardiff.
It is probably the best pint of Guinness in Wales. It is possibly the best pint of Guinness in mainland Britain. It could perhaps even be the best pint of Guinness outside of Dublin.
That's reason enough, surely?
That Old Black Magic
This is also one of my go-to options for watching Six Nations rugby matches when the Old Arcade, Queens Vaults or City Arms are a wee bit too full, especially if it's first match up, early in the day and when the adrenalin isn't quite flowing yet. It's a whole different experience as you sink into a deep three-seater leather sofa with a handled glass full of strong Welsh ale wrapped aound your fingers. (I tend to alternate between Guinness and guest ale when I'm here.)
With pubs as with people, it's always the quiet ones, the unassuming ones, that make the biigest impacts and create the best memories. This is one of them. If you come to Cardiff, come here.