ALE Easter 1996 No. 283

Pub News

Ely Update

Pubmaster have closed The Angel in Station Road. There had been plans for a major refurbishment to take advantage of the pub's excellent location close to the station and the new Tesco's. Apparently the structure is in such a wretched state as to make this uneconomic. The site will be redeveloped for housing.

Pubmaster have sold their other Ely pub, The Fountain, into the free trade. It is undergoing comprehensive and protracted renovations, with no sign of when it will be reopened.
[ALE 284 follow-up]

New managers at The Tinker of Ely are Gaynor Long and Jon Numble, from Watford. They are selling John Smiths and Websters at bargain prices and putting on a variety of entertainment. The kitchen needs a refit before food becomes a feature again. As with several other ex-Watney pubs in Ely, The Tinker is in the hands of a holding company, Swan Inns, on behalf of owners Phoenix Investments.

Down by the riverfront, The Cutter has had a much-needed coat of paint and the interior has been smartened up. Real ales are Greene King IPA, Ruddles Bitter, Ruddles County and John Smiths. The pub has just been bought by The Old English Pub Co., which may herald further changes.

Elsewhere, The Prince Albert and The West End House remain the premier outlets in terms of real ale quality. However, their supremacy is being challenged by The Royal Standard, currently serving its Greene King beers in tip-top condition.

Further Pubmaster Off-loading

The Queen's Head, Kirtling, has closed its doors for the last time, Pubmaster having secured planning consent for its conversion to a private house. Those of us who remember this ancient and attractive inn from the time it was a thriving establishment under Ann Bailey's licenseeship will be saddened by its demise. Elsewhere in Kirtling, the Beehive closed in 1992, leaving just the Red Lion, which doesn't sell real ale at all.

The White Hart, Willingham is up for sale. So too is The Greyhound, Fordham, which has been de-licensed. Pubmaster Chairman, John Brackenbury, has predicted that during the next five years another 10 or 11 pubs in Cambridge and south-east Cambs are likely to be closed or sold by Pubmaster.

More Pubs for the City?

In the wake of one new pub (The Fresher and Firkin) comes a spate of planning applications for further licensed premises in Cambridge.

Whitbread want to convert the former Avery building in Regent Terrace, overlooking Parkers Piece, into one of their Hogshead Ale Houses (you read it first in last Autumn's edition of ALE). Allied are after establishing an Irish theme pub, probably a Scruffy Murphy's, in what used to be The Old Dot in Hobson Street. There are plans to create licensed premises in the buildings currently occupied by Campkins and Emmanuel's Cafe near to Magdalene Bridge and also in the old Telephone Exchange [later a BT office building and now the Local Exam Syndicate] on the corner of Regent St. and Park Terrace.

J.D.Wetherspoon, Yates Wine Lodge, Bass and Allied's Firkin chain are all on the lookout for suitable pub development sites. Although any additional choice is to be welcomed, there must be some concern about the impact of new pubs on those we already have, especially as the proposals are all for sizeable establishments. There is a strong trend in the industry towards "mega-pubs" and it would be tragic if these in any way led to the demise of small traditional pubs.

[The end result: Cambridge Drinking Circuit 1998-2000]

ALE Easter 1996 No. 283
Cambridge & District CAMRA