ALE November/December 1997 No. 289

Pub News

New licensees at The White Horse, Swavesey are Ashley and Denise Davis. Four real ales are on: Boddingtons, Flowers IPA, Old Speckled Hen and a guest.

Greene King have sold The Three Hills, Bartlow to a former tenant, Steve Dixon, who is returning from his home in Lanzarote to take over the pub.

New owners at The Fish and Duck, Holt Fen, Little Thetford are Mike and Sue Kiernan who also run a pub in Derbyshire, voted Family Pub of the Year in one of the trade papers. Real ales are Adnams Bitter and Broadside, Burton Ale and Marstons Pedigree. The pub is beautifully, if remotely situated at the confluence of the Ouse and the Cam; access from the Stretharn/Wicken road.

Building work is presently under way at The Wrestlers in Newmarket Rd. One of the side walls will be rebuilt on the site boundary creating much needed extra space. New toilets are also on the agenda but most of the work is behind the scenes but this is not expected to prevent the excellent Thai food being served.

The Pickerel, Magdalene St. now offers a changing guest beer from independent breweries - Nethergate, Batemans and Hook Norton have been spotted.

The current trendiness of all things Irish has resulted in the appearance in most towns and cities of "Oirish" pubs. Usually these are identikit examples of big-brewery theming - Allied has Scruffy Murphys, S.C. has Finnegan's Wake etc. Until now the only instance of the phenomenon in Cambridge has been Finnegans which occupies one bar of The Bun Shop in King St.

Now however we have a fully-fledged "Irish" pub - Quinns, which has opened in the Holiday Inn building in Downing St. (which, coincidentally, occupies the site of the original Bun Shop). Needless to say the place is as genuinely Irish as a pint of Caffreys (i.e. not at all). Taken on its own terms though, as a piece of pure artifice, it's been very well done.

It is a large pub with a mezzanine as well as a ground floor but the space has been cleverly broken up to create lots of cosy corners. No expense has been spared on the materials with lots of wood, brick, stone and engraved glass imparting a warm pseudo-traditional atmosphere. Real ale on offer is Fullers London Pride and Draught Bass.

Especially given that its creation hasn't been at the expense of a traditional English pub (as has happened all too often elsewhere), Quinns is to be welcomed as an addition to the local drinking scene. How long the popularity of mock-Irish pubs generally will last is another matter.

A somewhat negative reaction to real ale at The Prince Regent, Regent St., a food-orientated GK managed house. Not only was there no seasonal beer on sale, the barmaid had never heard of such a thing and the Assisstant Manager said they didn't serve it but he didn't know why. Come back Lawrence......

Modern jazz features every Monday (jam session) and Thursday (band) at The Elm Tree, Elm St., currently serving Wells Eagle, Bombadier and Adnams Broadside.

For a decade the Coach and Horses presented a forlorn sight in Trumpington High Street with its wooden curtains and increasing dilapidation. Rescue came initially in the shape of Country Style Inns who bought the pub to add to their small estate. Hardly had renovations started when they sold out to The Old English Pub Co. who already own several pubs in our area. The Coach and Horses reopened in early July. The interior has been radically remodelled though a lot of original features, notably the wooden panelling, have been retained. The bar area is stone-flagged and has a pleasantly "pubby" feel; the rest of the building is largely given over to food. Space is well broken-up by partitions and changes in level and the decor avoids the over-fussiness found in many traditional-style renovations. The whole thing works very well.

There are four real ales with a typical selection being Courage Best and Directors, Theakstons XB and Adnams Broadside, with the first two likely to be permanent.

Food is important here and there four daily specials in addition to the regular menu. Prices are not particularly cheap but the quality is reckoned to be excellent and the portions generous. Licensees Chris and Fiona King, who have worked for Country Style Inns for some years, are very pleased with trade, but are keen to encourage more locals - people who want to drink in the bar are as welcome as those who want to eat.

ALE November/December 1997 No. 289
Cambridge & District CAMRA