The sad case of Edinburgh’s chippies – and what it means for the city’s nightlife

Edi’s drunk food just doesn’t cut it

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As any student at Edinburgh Uni will know, the city is home to a vast, diverse collection of cafés, restaurants and chippies – shout out to my local, Kurdish Best, pictured above – all with their own unique culinary servings at not-unreasonable prices – it is the capital, after all.

By day, that is.

At night, Edinburgh's food scene becomes a ghost town – a big problem for the city's nightlife.

We've all been there. You step outside a club, flashing a blank smile at the bouncer – never to be returned – with one thought on your mind: "I could murder a kebab". So off you and your friends go, thinking the night's next adventure is about to begin. In any other city, it would. Within ten minutes you'd be tucking into a Doner filled with an obscene number of sauces and meat of questionable origin, and you'd be loving every bite. However, the reality of Edinburgh is that you're going to have to make do with some pretty grim food on your way home.

Goodnight sweet prince, forever in our hearts

Save for a few exceptions, everywhere that may once have served you even a slightly edible pizza or a bag of chips have long since put their shutters down. To add insult to injury, most of these exceptions, who should be the saviour of post-sesh scran, take it upon themselves to fleece you for everything you have, simply because they can.

One such offender is Pizza Paradise – no, not that one. The pride of George IV Bridge actually shares a name with a restaurant on South Bridge, which proudly touts that they are open until 5am. There's just one caveat to this claim – if you choose to eat here, you'll be picking from their so-called "Midnight Menu", which is a fancy way of saying a short, shit selection of badly-made, overpriced pizza and pasta. We're talking a tenner for some Spaghetti Bolognese – ludicrous.

Scotmid, we salute you

It wasn't always like this. Until so very recently the McDonald's on Princes Street was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This iconic bastion of an Edi night out blinded us to the city's wider problem with a lack of late-night chippies. They say that you don't know what you have until it's gone, and when McDonald's changed their opening hours we were forced to confront the hard truth that Edinburgh's drunk food is shit.

This is an issue because it means that in one of the essential stages of a night out, Edinburgh just can't compete with other cities. It's bad enough with the closures of nightclubs such as Electric Circus and most recently Silk, and now it seems our options for the quintessential snack at the end of the night are dwindling too.

The way Scotmid is, and the way the rest should be

However, there is one beacon of hope. Situated on Nicholson Street, Scotmid will never let you down. The unsung heroes behind the counter don't care that you're completely fucked, they'll serve any steaming gobshite that strolls through their doors at 4am. Sure, the selection isn't exactly stellar, people aren't going to line up for a cold wrap and packet of fridge raiders, but with 24/7 opening hours you can hardly complain. Plus, during the late hours the prices don't increase, because unlike some – they know who they are – they're not opportunistic wankers.

More chippies and takeaways need to follow the example of Scotmid – a sentence I never thought I'd write – in being open late, if not open 24 hours. It's a no-brainer, they get more customers, we get our food – Everybody wins.