Whether you’re craving a full English breakfast or a fancy cocktail, we’ve got it covered.
Words: Isabel Larner & Laura Marinică
When you need…
… a quality cocktail selection
go to Beatbox Bars Ltd: 10 Feet Tall (12 Church Street), Buffalo Bar (11 Windsor Place)
Beatbox Bars Ltd is the parent company of Buffalo Bar and 10 Feet Tall, two regular haunts for those who prefer their watering holes to have a bit more character. The decor in each is pleasantly eccentric, with Buffalo Bar also providing a beer garden for fans of sunshine or smoking, and both being home to a mix of live bands, DJs and events to keep you there until the early hours; these are venues actually worth keeping up with on Facebook. 10 Feet Tall’s menu has a focus on tapas, while Buffalo Bar is more pub grub with a sophisticated twist. The crowning gem in both bars is the extensive cocktail menu, carefully prepared no matter how busy, which is 2-for-1 at certain times daily and well worth working your way through. The Zombie cocktail is an absolute must, though consider its name a precognition should you over-indulge.
… a hangover cure
go to Cafe 37 (37 Salisbury Road)
This greasy spoon-cum-US diner is the perfect cure for aching heads and upset stomachs, no matter what time of day you manage to crawl outside. Cushy American-style booths allow maximum comfort for you to pour over their menu, which boasts English breakfast portions for any sized appetite and a shift to true American indulgence in the evening; think loaded nachos and decadent desserts. Allowing you to substitute any English breakfast item for another, Cafe 37 is lenient as well as cheap, two qualities that will be much welcomed after last night’s irreducibly expensive drink choices. Try the aptly named ‘Hangover Cure’ for a monster-sized re-initiation into sobriety.
… a trusty local
go to The Woodville (1-5 Woodville Road)
If you are looking for a pint with a friend or a filling meal after a strenuous uni day, then this is the place to go. Although you should not expect an impeccable service, the atmosphere makes up for it: relaxed and friendly, the Woody is one of the most popular pubs around Cathays. As a plus, its Scream pub status means wallet-friendly food and drink deals every day. No wonder it is usually a venue for Erasmus or international gatherings; if you want to practice your foreign language skills, which we all know improve after a few pints, then give it a go.
… to French it up
go to Madame Fromage (18 Castle Arcade) or Thé Pot (138 Crwys Road)
Seen loads of mouth-watering cupcakes in a restaurant window? Can’t remember where? It was probably Madame Fromage. Situated on a corner of Castle Arcade, you can’t miss it. Sweeten those grumpy, cloudy days with a cutely decorated piece of art; they boast a wide range in their delicatessen, including 150 cheese assortments. Moreover, this together with Thé Pot are the perfect places for a warm, savoury soup. The latter also offers delicious breakfast choices, all in an inviting and cozy atmosphere.
… a shopping-induced coffee break
go to The Plan (28-9 Morgan Arcade)
Nestled away in Morgan Arcade is The Plan, whose unassuming first impression belies its position as one of the top fifty cafes in Wales: the staff are easygoing, the furnishing is understated, and the menu is simple. It is this simplicity that makes The Plan the
perfect pit stop in the bustle of the city centre. Forget any shopping soreness with coffee that focuses on locally sourced quality you can certainly taste; the ideal pick-me-up to get you back on your feet.
… a proper cuppa
go to Waterloo Tea Gardens (5 Waterloo Gardens)
In Roath, just beyond the usual comfort zone of students, lies the revered Waterloo Tea Gardens. The teahouse puts others to shame with its truly phenomenal range of teas, lining row after row behind their counter. The baristas seriously know their stuff, and will be happy to help you choose from the overwhelming selection. Served in bright china (available for purchase), each pot comes with an hourglass that times the brew to perfection; an almost ceremonial appreciation for the tea that will leave you unsatisfied with your next hasty cup of English Breakfast. An array of cakes and paninis provide truly delectable backing to the tea’s centre stage.
go to Milgi (213 City Road)
The word choice may seem unusual, but believe us, ‘cosy quirkiness’ is Milgi in a nutshell. Blending vegetarian and vegan menu choices with a cosmopolitan touch, nobody can escape the charms of the boho-chic decorated lounge. As a complement to it, there is the outside yurt, home to all kinds of arty events. Add to this a promising cocktails list, home-made ginger beer, fizz sodas and seasonal specials and you will never want to leave.
… to do it yourself (properly)
go to Cardiff Central Market
The perfect alternative to the supermarket giants, whose softening fruit and vegetables may sometimes leave you wanting. Cheaper, seasonal ingredients will bring freshness to your meals that your wallet won’t hate you for. Alternatively, Roath & Riverside markets are two perfect places to buy local raw and pre-prepared food.