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Cambridge & District CAMRA

The Hat & Feathers, Barton Road, Cambridge

As of February 2000 the owners, believed to be Punch Taverns, are having difficulty finding a new leaseholder. The threat is that if no-one is found the pub will close in March.

Selwyn College JCR was apparently thinking of making a bid as it's the Selwyn "local". This generated extensive publicity, such as in the Cambridge Evening News.

Cambridge & District CAMRA and the Cambridge University Real Ale Society support anyone willing to keep this fine pub thriving.

There have now been several offers for the lease and the pub appears to be saved, which was the aim of the students' announcement.

Recent history

In the early 1980s this was a three-bar Tolly Cobbold pub. Each bar was distinct and cosy, allowing the pub to support a wide range of customer types. The tenants were friendly, popular and kept excellent real ales.

Even after Tolly was passed from owner to owner during the 1980s (Ellerman Lines, Brent Walker) standards were maintained here.

Sadly the landlord and landlady retired towards the end of the decade and unsympathetic management took over. The place was gutted to make a single bland space.

In the 1990s it's carried on much the same, in spite of changes in owning company (after Brent Walker it may have been Pubmaster before becoming Allied, later Allied Domecq, and then Punch).

As of 2000 it has a reasonable selection of national beers and is popular with Selwyn students.

The future?

The pub clearly has a future, if run appropriately. There are plenty of chimneypots, in the industry jargon, in addition to the student trade.

Good food and beer are the top priorities. It's very difficult for a no-food pub to survive in the long-term.

Subdividing it, particularly if restoring the three original bars, would allow it to appeal to a range of customers.

The hardest task, if it's to be rescued on a long-term basis, is to find the right people to run it.

Cambridge & District CAMRA