ALE November 1999 No. 296

Pub News - Cambridge

The Milton Arms in Milton Road, Cambridge, has received the 'Hungry Horse' treatment already applied to the nearby Jenny Wren [see Our Elizabethan Heritage]. The formula requires walls and ceilings to be covered in 'stuff' - in this case a Cambridge theme has been chosen. One part of what is essentially a huge open-plan layout reflects 'the university', so has books, luggage, bikes etc. suspended from the ceiling, signposts to the colleges strewn about, curious inscriptions on the walls ('The Gothic Fountain, Market Hill 1855' - why?!), and so on. Another area has a river/fishing theme, and there's also the 'sporting' section. All a mess and a muddle. Real ales are Greene King IPA, Abbot and the budget Martha Greens Brewery Ale. It's applying retrospectively for planning permission for all its garish external signs.

The Earl of Beaconsfield in Mill Road is under new management. Cask beers are Fullers London Pride and a guest (Greene King IPA on a recent visit - yawn!). The Alma Brewery, Russell Street, reopened on 17th November after alterations by the new owners Ridley's. It aims to have three real ales on at any time. The Kingston Arms, Kingston Street, is being bought by the Lidstone Brewery (Wickhambrook, near Newmarket) and they plan to move the brewery into the cellar.
[-> ALE 297 follow-up]

Chambers (formerly City Limits), on the corner of Station Road, was renamed Bar Moosh in July. The Fresher & Firkin (Chesterton Road) seems to be picking up, now occasionally stocking real ale again even before Punch Taverns bought it, along with all Allied Domecq's pubs. The Fountain (Regent Street) and The Dobblers (Sturton Street) had refurbishments over the summer.

The Grasshopper, near the bottom of Mill Road, has closed, as long expected, with the site believed to be intended for student lodgings. The former Globe on Newmarket Road, near the Abbey stadium, is now a restaurant, having been closed for years.

Comings & goings

There are new landlords at Kitty Dunphys (Mill Road), The Bird in Hand (Newmarket Road), The Mill (Tap & Spile, Mill Lane), The Loco (Mill Road), The Coach & Horses (Trumpington), The Bath (Benet Street), The Cross Keys (Saxon Street), and The Office (Norfolk Street).

Landlord Dave Green is moving from The Champion of the Thames (King Street) to be full-time at The Unicorn, Cherry Hinton. The landlord of The Six Bells (Covent Garden), Mike Tedford, is also leaving to concentrate on his other pub, The Spread Eagle (Lensfield Road).

News of the Drinking Circuit

As mentioned elsewhere, The Regal has made its mark on the city centre and created severe public order problems. Its recent beer festival (with a superb range of brews from smaller breweries for around 1.75) easily outdid the Hogshead's but most customers seemed to be drinking lager in the evenings. This may be why they then flogged the beers off at 1 per pint.

Within about a year there'll be the new Scottish & Newcastle bar round the corner (though possibly not branded as Rat & Parrot as originally planned), the new McMullens one in the former Arts Cinema and no doubt others. Greene King plan to spruce up the long-neglected Castle next door to The Regal and there are rumours that Yates Wine Lodges are looking for somewhere nearby (in addition to their Blue Boar on Trinity Street).

The Jug & Firkin

Sadly Jon Harling at The Jug & Firkin off-licence (Mill Road) is selling up [see What's Brewing November 1999, pages 11 and 12]. He has been a wonderful champion for Real Ale, selling fine beers by the polypin or bottle, as well as fine wines.

The Jug opened around 1982 as one of the CAMRA Investments ventures, along with The Alma, The Salisbury Arms and The Dobblers. Jon was the manager until about 1986 when he bought the business.

Competition from supermarkets and difficulties with silly planning regulations have no doubt played a part in the decision but he says it's time for him to move on and he hopes it will be bought as a viable business.

ALE November 1999 No. 296
Cambridge & District CAMRA