The Tab’s Guide to Drunk Food

Navigate the various vans and challenging chip choices

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We’ve all been there: stumbling out of one of Cambridge’s fine night-time establishments, mind focused on one thing, and one thing only; the search for whatever food can be found to soak up the alcohol flowing through our veins and restore the calories spent on questionable dance moves in a sweaty club. (Although we’ve also all definitely queued for Life, only to give up and go to Van of Life. No shame).

I have a healthy appetite at the best (most sober) of times, but given something to drink all self-control goes out of the window. Unlike some of my friends, I don’t have the energy (and definitely not the coordination) to whip up a stir-fry in the early hours of the morning, and there’s nothing worse than the disappointment of realising all you’ve got in your room are rice cakes.

You know what they say; ‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.’ So, I’ve compiled a guide to the late-night food options available to you in Cambridge, so that you can approach the most gratifying part of the night out properly informed.


McDonald’s is a fail-safe option on a night out, and many would swear by a Happy Meal to revive them. As one of my friend’s pointed out, ‘It makes you happy, but it’s not a meal’. The nutritional quality of McDonalds is easily ignored at 2am, and the Golden Arches have a slight edge over other options by providing warmth and indoor seating, in contrast to the determination required to stand shivering in the Van of Life queue.

Lovin' it?

Van of Life

Known for its cheesy chips, Van of Life is an icon in Cambridge Life. According to chip connoisseurs, where Van of Life has an edge over Van of Life is in it’s attention to detail: melted cheese. Hot cheese is the epitome of comfort food, so flaws such as overly chunky, somewhat too soggy chips can be excused.

Come for the cheesy chips, but stay for the quesadillas or the bean burger. If you’re feeling adventurous, give the lovely man behind the counter a fiver (or your desired amount) and ask him to pick for you…

There's more to Life than Cheesy Chips

Van of Death

Van of Death has many attractive qualities, one being the shorter queues. Their chips may be less popular on a large scale, but their devotees are much more committed. Van of Death chips are skinnier, providing that extra crunch, though their fatal flaw is undoubtedly the distribution of cheese.


Highlight of the night

A personal favourite, which somehow feels slightly classier than Van based options. The sheer amount of choice is overwhelming, and where Gardies sticks out from the Vans is the option of going there in the daytime (undecided as to whether this is wise). If you’re drunk, but still feeling middle class, go for the hummus and pita. My only complaint is the overly runny hummus (@Gardies, this has been fed back to me by numerous people, please address).


Until the day that Sainsbury’s is open after a night out, forward planning is required for this option. Hit up Mainsbury’s and browse the aisles trying to imagine your drunken self and what they would reach for. Popcorn and crisps are a solid option to keep stocked up for drunken emergencies, and if you’re feeling ambitious you can recreate Gardies by buying pita and (superior) hummus. You’ll save money and be able to be in bed within minutes of finishing your food- a win-win really.


With that said, go forth and make your nights out a success by ensuring they end in satisfaction, rather than rice-cake induced depression.