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Top 10 places to eat and drink in Cardiff for rugby fans

Travelling to Cardiff for the 2015 Rugby World Cup? Take note of our top tips on where to eat and drink in the Welsh capital.

While England is the host for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, some matches will be taking place across the border in Wales – a country that eats, sleeps and breathes rugby. With it’s compact city centre, the atmosphere in Cardiff – the UK’s very own city by the bay – is second to none on match days.

Rugby action kicks off at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday 19th September with a Pool D match between Ireland and Canada. There will also be Pool A, Pool C and quarter final matches played at the Welsh national stadium in Cardiff welcoming, amongst others, the home side Wales and visitors Fiji, Georgia, France and New Zealand’s world-famous All Blacks.

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As a small city, Cardiff’s historic centre is ideal for exploring on foot with plenty to things to do to entertain you while you’re in town for the World Cup. Here’s out top ten pick of places to keep yourself fed and watered during your stay.

1. The City Arms

A dropkick from the stadium, The City Arms is a favourite haunt of home fans and visitors alike. It’s also one of the city’s most popular watering holes. Don’t take our word for it. The City Arms won the Best Cardiff Pub of the Year 2012 and has been highly commended every year since. If that’s not enough to convince you, they keep a heafty amount of Welsh Rugby Union’s official ales by Brains Brewery on tap, including offerings such as Bread of Heaven ale (named for obvious reasons). “Feed me til I want no more!” indeed.

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2. The Old Arcade

Arguably the definitive rugby experience in the Welsh capital, The Old Arcade is a must. With international and club memorabilia covering the walls, including rare shirts, shields, programmes and more donated by the WRU, and a wall featuring a timeline charting the history of Welsh rugby from 1881 to the present, it’s a serious rugby pub for serious fans. As well as Brains Brewery ales on tap, there’s one option on the food menu that is sure to stand out: Nugget’s black and blue burger. Made with prime Welsh beef, worcester sauce and blue stilton, it is the result of a collaboration with former rugby star-turned-chef, Martyn Williams, who boasts 100 caps for Wales and knows a thing or two about being black and blue.

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3. Chip Shop Alley

With such a small city centre, restaurants in Cardiff are in great demand on match days. For a quick and satisfying bite to eat near the stadium, laywer and Wales fan Nick Evans suggests heading to Caroline Street, known locally as Chip Shop Alley. Something of a Cardiff institution, grab yourself the Welsh version of Quebec’s poutine – a portion of chips, cheese and gravy or curry sauce. There’s an ongoing local debate about whether Tony’s or Dorothy’s is best – the prevailing opinion, including Nick’s, is that the latter has the edge.

Caroline Street, aka Chip Shop Alley © Matt Buck

4. Mint and Mustard

Bursting with the flavours of south-west India, Mint and Mustard is definitely up there in the running for Wales’ best curry house. Inspired by the cuisine of Kerala, which is very influenced by seafood, the dishes leaving the restaurant’s pass have earned wide critical acclaim; from Michelin to The Sunday Times. The scallops simmered in lemon zest coconut milk is definitely worth a look in.

5. Goat Major

Opposite the impressive gates to Cardiff Castle, this small ale house gets busy on match days drawing crowds in for a pint of Brains Brewery ale paired with a pie. It’s something of a speciality which keeps rugby goers coming back for more though numbers are limited on the door to stop it getting overcrowded. Scratching your head about the name? The Royal Welsh regiment has a goat for a mascot and a special handler styled as the ‘Goat Major’. Shenkin the goat and the Goat Major have famously led the teams out at the start of Wales rugby Internationals at the Millennium Stadium. Don’t worry – you weren’t seeing things.

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6. Prince of Wales

With its giant screens, the Prince of Wales is a crowd pleaser during rugby internationals. Bigger than the Goat Major, it is just four-minutes walk to the stadium from door to door. Cheap and cheerful with good food served all day, this Weatherspoons pub is built inside the old Prince of Wales Theatre, retaining all of its period features and theatrical touches including its old balconies. Hopefully it won’t be exit stage right for your team.

The Prince of Wales © Ingy the Wingy

7. Hokkei

Set up by Dale and Larkin, two friends who met as contestants on the TV show Masterchef, Hokkei was launched to up the game of typical take out places and the flip the menu at Chinese traditional takeaways as we know them on its head. The result is restaurant quality, authentic dishes inspired by Hong Kong cuisine. Worth a stop off regardless of where you are in town, or alternatively get it delivered. You won’t be disappointed.

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8. Potted Pig

While being regarded as one of Cardiff’s finest restaurants, grub at the Potted Pig won’t break the bank. Speaking of banks, it actually occupies a former bank vault beneath the streets of central Cardiff. Within 100 metres of both serene Cardiff Castle and the raucous Millennium Stadium, it is ideally located both for matches and a spot of culture. Expect tasty seasonal menus of modern British food cooked with a good measure of French know-how. If you’ve travelled with a group of eight or more friends, the suckling pig is a great shout for a dinner to share.

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9. Urban Tap House

Leading the charge for quality craft ales in Wales, Tiny Rebel Brewery in nearby Newport opened the Urban Tap House in 2013 as the city’s first bar solely dedicated to craft brews. There’s a few more bars of a similar ilk in the vicinity now, including BrewDog, but to sample Welsh-made beers, it has to be Urban Tap House. If it doesn’t earn you time in the sin bin, this is one of many recommended places to continue the celebrations or commiserations and what’s more, it’s just opposite the Millennium Stadium. Plus, they have two large screens so you won’t miss any of the rugby action. Urban Tap House also does a mean burger, like the Big Welsh topped with Welsh cheddar, pan-fried leek and bacon. When in Rome…

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10. Cosy Club

Despite it’s name, it’s not a nightclub. Or any other type of club for that matter, although you will feel like you’ve stumbled on a secret when arrive. On the first floor of the St David’s Dewi Sant centre, it gives off a speakeasy vibe but is far from pretentious. A family-friendly place with eccentric décor and a penchant for taxidermy, Cosy Club is a great place for some casual drinks and a quick bite. It doesn’t matter if you’re just after a beer and a burger or want to splurge on some celebratory champers, Cosy Club is about feeling at home and, well, cosy.

How to get there

Millennium Stadium is located in the heart of Cardiff city centre, a 5-minute walk from Cardiff Central Railway Station, which has onward connections to London, Birmingham, Manchester, south west England and the rest of Wales.

Where to stay

Need somewhere to stay during the Rugby World Cup? Find a hotel in Cardiff.

Find hotels in Cardiff

Going to any other games this Rugby World Cup? Check out our handy guides to some of the host cities:

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