Steaming and Starving

Go large or go home as self-proclaimed drunkfoodaholic Josie Copson brings you her favourite spots to stumble into after a night out in Cardiff in ‘Steaming and Starving’


There are three times in life when calories do not count. these are: number one, your birthday; number two, the entire Christmas season; and finally number three (the one that occurs the most regular for many of us for the majority of us…) when we’re drunk. When you’ve had a bottle of rose, a few swift pints, or a whatever your tipple of choice is on a night out, calories become a myth. Fact. You are free to feast on whatever it is that you may desire. Carbs? What are those? Grease? The more, the better. Large? Of course.

I don’t know if I’m the only one who’s a drunkfoodaholic, but after exiting a club I rarely go straight home – my local fast food joint needs a quick visit before I can even think about returning. Visiting the take away shop is a continuation of my night out and an important part of the experience. It’s no surprise that Channel 4 produced a show documenting drunk people in a chip shop, called (unsurprisingly) Fried Chicken Shop. If you haven’t watched it yet, get on 4od now! I found it very entertaining to watch and it’s even more exciting to be there in the midst of it. So, I’m going to run through my favourite places to go and purchase the best, most fattening food after a night out in the ‘diff:

1. Family Fish Bar

Family Fish Bar has to be Cathays’ favourite chip shop – it would be hard to find a student who’s never paid it a visit. my housemate has become such a regular that he is now on first name terms with the staff, and if I go along with him the chances are I’m going to get a free scallop or “potato fritter”, the name being dependant on which part of the country you come from. For me though, a battered sausage and chips is the ideal post-night out meal. The great thing about Family Fish Bar is that their perception of a small portion seems to be a little distorted, seeing as one is actually enough to feed my entire ten bedroom house.

It’s often the case that I suddenly feel really generous in these establishments and purchase food for every man and his dog, although these gestures don’t always go to plan. One time I decided an entire chicken was the right way to go, so after stumbling home with my Family Fish Bar present, I placed it on the table only for a friend to throw up at the sight of a chicken on a bone (a phobia we did not realise she had).

My connection with Family Fish Bar has become so strong that when they were closed one night, I decided the best thing to do was find their number on google and leave them an answerphone message asking why they were closed and politely enquiring as to whether it would be possible to open up and make me a battered sausage and chips? Unfortunately this attempt failed; nevertheless I’ll remain a loyal customer.

2. Chippy Alley

“If truth be told all I wanna do is go out, get shitfaced and have a curry and a fight down Caroline Street”. Gavin and Stacey’s Nessa has captured the famous Caroline street’s personality perfectly. Otherwise known as Chippy Alley or Chippy Lane by both students and locals alike, its situated in the centre of the town, right in the middle of the clubbing district; an ideal location. It was awarded its name due to the large amount of fast food places that call the street their home. Gregg’s is the only chain shop on this street; all the rest are independent, non-commercialised food joints.

I remember my first experience of Chippy alley. I was taken aback by the amount of choice on offer, so after much deliberation between our group we decided on Dorothy’s, the longest standing food shop on the street having opened in 1953. After looking through the menu I was torn between the cheeseburgers, fish and other battered delights. I finally decided to ask the man behind the counter for a “Birmingham style kebab” (as I was feeling a little homesick), to which he replied that he would get me an “extra large”. He most definitely knew his stuff. As I delved into this delicious meal which combined bread, kebab meat and salad (that makes it healthy, right?), my two friends demanded to see his manager – they were so delighted with the service provided by that young man that they believed he was worthy of a promotion and a pay rise. We then exited the chip shop and my housemate offered her chips to a homeless man outside, which he refused claiming he was already full, demonstrating the amount of food anyone can pick up in this amazing street.

Chippy Alley is not just a great place for food, but it’s also the best spot to pick up people for after parties. An inevitable experience for anyone who goes out in Cardiff.

3. Fast Food Chains

I think it would be hard to find someone who has never had a deep McDonald’s craving after a night out. One night, back when I was a fresher living in talybont, me and my flatmates realised that we just couldn’t go to bed without a large Big Mac. So, we made the small trek to McDonald’s. We were refused service however, as it was drive thru only after 11pm, but as disheartened as we were, it didn’t matter. We had a plan. We jumped into our invisible car and attempting to make our impression of a vehicle as realistic as possible, we “drove” round to the first window, the woman behind it being the one who had refused us five minutes earlier. With complete confidence we began our order, waiting with baited breath for a response. sadly, she saw through our ruse and we were left to go home empty handed.

On another night out I politely asked a Burger King employee for 20 free chicken nuggets after I deemed my milkshake unsatisfactory. Unsurprisingly that was also a failed attempt. It seems that no rules can deter me in my late night conquests for food.

I’m going to go out there and say it – drunk food is a vital part of any night out. Food just tastes that much better after a few drinks, doesn’t it? So heed my advice, forget the carbs, forget the grease, and go large! It’s one decision you won’t regret the morning after.


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