ALE May 1999 No. 294

Pub News - Cambridge

The Racehorse, Newmarket Road, was due to be sold at the end of April by Scottish & Newcastle to McDonalds for conversion. The locals are appalled at the lack of notice and the disregard for the community. They point out that the nearest pub is about two miles away (Fen Ditton or The Wrestlers). Sadly there's little anyone can do as no change-of-use permission is needed, highlighting the need for reform of planning use categories. There'll be a meeting on 14 May between locals, councillors and McDonalds with the hope of a public meeting later in the year.

On Pound Hill The Cow & Calf's new owners are due to be chosen by the City Council at the end of April. There has been intense interest in the property from pub and brewing interests and other businesses such as health clubs and Indian restaurants. The location is ideal for a community pub but not for many other uses (for instance due to a lack of parking). Let's hope the Council puts people before profit.

The Alma, Russell Court, is for sale and has a new temporary landlord. The Kingston, Kingston St., has been for sale for a while and may have been sold by now. [Follow-up: ALE 296.] The Durham Ox, Mill Rd., now has Everards beers as well as Whitbread ones - always a good sign.

The managership of The Office, Norfolk St., is up for grabs again only seven months after its makeover - very much a sign of the times. It's theming as a youth/pool pub has failed to attract the young adults. It's theming is supposedly a carry-over of The Man On The Moon's strong Irishness - "The Office" meaning the boozer - but the 1998 changes deliberately destroyed everything which made The Man what it was since Jonathan King's undergraduate days. ("Everyone's Gone To The Moon" - no. 4 in the charts in July '65 - perhaps best forgotten?)

Another imminent change of landlord is at The Bird in Hand, Newmarket Road - Mark & Mandy are leaving the pub trade. They were formerly at The Ancient Druids (Napier St.) where Mark was also the brewer.

Update on the Youth Boozing Circuit

In St Andrews Street J.D. Wetherspoon's conversion of The Regal Cinema is making progress at last and they say it'll open in July. Now three cinema screens are planned for the upstairs area.

As of April there's no sign of action round the corner at the proposed second S&N Rat & Parrot, though planning applications have been posted. [Follow-up: ALE 296.]

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