ALE November 1998 No. 292

Cambridge Pub News

Our Town Pub of The Year, The Free Press, Prospect Row, was going to stop stocking Wexford nitrokeg due to lack of demand but then demand suddenly appeared and Chris Lloyd had to relent. However GK are going to stop brewing it anyway [see Brewery News].

The new Bass All Bar One on St Andrew's St. [see On The Circuit] is very much a bar, rather than a pub. It's decorated with lots of wood and is noisy due to echoes. For real beer it only has Bass and Worthington. There's an impressive array of wine bottles behind the bar and the Beano amongst the newspapers.

Oh my God!

What have Greene King done to The Cambridge Arms? If you've got fond memories of the pub, especially the front bar (one of finest pub rooms in Cambridge), then preserve them in your head and never set foot in the place again.

It isn't even called The Cambridge Arms anymore - it's now The Cambridge Rattle & Hum. (If GK think that naming a pub after a dodgy 1988 U2 album will help capture their desired yoof market, they should think again.)

Inside, the whole place has been opened out, apart from the brick arches in the old Scales Bar, which are presumably structural. The loss of the front bar is particularly tragic - even the splendid etched windows have gone, replaced with plain glass.

The walls are liberally cluttered with LPs, CDs, posters, instruments, shoes(!) - it's a music theme pub, you see. Various instruments also hang from the ceiling whilst a battery of telly screens looms over the bar. In the Scales Bar the subterranean section has been closed off, as has the former view into the roof. Overall it's been compared to a New York bar in the Sixties.

The exterior is painted a vile shade of turquoise. The courtyard is actually improved with new canopies on elegant cast-iron supports. Real ales are IPA, Abbot and Marston's Pedigree.

Better Day At The Office

As a typical 1960s estate-style pub, The Man On The Moon in Norfolk Street, was never over-burdened with character. Its main claim to fame was as a live music venue but its licence for that purpose was lost by the previous regime.

Following a major refurb from July, it reopened on 11th September. The former lounge bar is now a games room with two pool tables, a miscellany of machines, a pinball table and table football - the last two something of a pub rarity these days. The old public bar has become a simply-appointed lounge. It has a raised area at one end and at the other an old photocopier, a somewhat cursory nod to the supposed theme.

Real ale availabilty at the Man On The Moon was sporadic at best but The Office has two on offer: Marstons Pedigree and a changing guest from the Tapsters Choice range. Food will follow once the kitchens have been brought up to scratch.

A Big Mac

It's always sad to see a pub die, even when it's a characterless surburban Brewers Fayre like The Churchill in Madingley Road (though those of us with long memories recall it as quite an interesting 60s pub called The Plough & Harrow before Whitbread remodelled it). There's now an uproar amongst the well-heeled residents of nearby streets such as Bulstrode Gardens because, horror of horrors, the place is to become a McDonalds, whose plan to open a drive-in restaurant in Colhams Lane was rejected by a Planning Inquiry recently.

A Star

The Burleigh Arms, Newmarket Road, has received a major and much-needed facelift. Both bars are now splendidly kitted out with wood panelling on the walls, tiled raised areas and polished boards on the rest of the floors. What's more, all of the work was carried out by the pub's own staff during the eleven weeks of closure. There are some interesting old photos of the pub and its surroundings on the walls: it used to be the brewery tap of the Star Brewery from where an underground passage ran direct to the pub cellar. It was named after a man who was Mayor of Cambridge in 1702 and who made his fortune in transport (horses & carts).

The pub currently sells two real ales, Tetley Bitter and Marston's Pedigree. Dave, the licensee, would like to sell more as he does in his other pub, The Radcliffe in Oxford. However he is sensibly going to let trade build up first. Food is available every day from noon to 2.30pm and 6pm to 9pm; there's a good selection including pastas, pizzas, steaks, burgers and snacks, all at very reasonable prices. E.g. chilli 2.75, pasta carbonara 2.95.

Cambridge Round-up

The Cow & Calf, Pound Hill, (Free House) is still for sale: the owner, the City Council, is selling a number of properties, apparently to help fund the Parkside Pool development. The Salisbury, Tenison Road, has reopened after several months' refurb but apparently with little change. In recent months The Elm Tree, Orchard St., has had a number of excellent specials: Caledonian 80/- and Charles Wells' Summer Solstice (4.1%) and Josephine Grimbley's (4.1%) (also stocked by The Wrestlers, Newmarket Rd.). The Green Dragon, Chesterton, reopened in October after refurb. The Hogshead, Regent Terrace, participated in the first National Hogshead Cask Ale & Cider Festival in the latter half of October. The beer selection was uninspiring - just widely-available beers on the usual beer agency lists - but full marks to them for pushing the cause of real beer and cider. JD Wetherspoon's similar festival at the start of October had many novel beers, some specially commissioned though since then available elsewhere, such as Mauldon's Octoberfest (5.0%) (which, judging by the name, may actually have debuted at the Society of Independent Brewers' Octoberfest in Plymouth).


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