ALE Spring 2002 No. 305

Pub News

[Ted Bruning, Andy, Sue and pheasants]

Gamekeeper Turned Poacher

Someone who used to close pubs for Greene King has taken over the Poacher at Elsworth. After a long campaign by the villagers to save the pub, Andrew Banham and his wife Sue have bought it and plan to open it in early February as a pub with food.
[Previously: All Steamed Up in ALE 301; follow-up: Gamekeeper Turns Poacher in ALE 308.]

Picture: What's Brewing editor Ted Bruning pulls the first pint and is presented with a brace of pheasants by Andy & Sue.
[Picture supplied by Ad LIB Partnership]

Rural Rescues

As briefly mentioned in ALE 304 the Boot, Dullingham has been bought from Greene King by villagers Kevin and Diane McDonnell. The pub has been given a lick of paint - which is all it needed - but more importantly is now in the ownership of local people committed to its future as a centre of village life. Real ales are Adnams Bitter and Broadside with a changing guest, usually from an East Anglian brewery (Woodfordes and Earl Soham beers have been spotted recently). A limited selection of snacks and hot meals is served up to 8.00p.m., but this is definitely not a foody place.

Another former Greene King pub once threatened with closure and now in the hands of a free trader is the Black Horse, Rampton - it's in the same ownership as the Chequers, Orwell. GK continue to supply both their own beers and also from their guest list; a recent visit found IPA and Abbot, Old Speckled Hen and Draught Bass. The food side is still being developed but a full menu of home-cooked food is available from Thursday through to Sunday lunch.

News round-up

The George & Dragon, Snailwell, has a new couple in charge. The Plough, Little Downham, now does Thai food. The classic Draught Bass has been sighted at the Town House in Ely and Adnams Broadside at the Fountain, Soham. It seems the Twentypence Inn (Wilburton) may be demolished to make way for housing - planning permission has been granted.

Maurice and Linda, the new team in the Admiral Vernon, Over, have big plans for this well-situated Charles Wells pub. In the short term, a much-expanded range of real ales is planned. Maurice has been impressed with the enthusiasm of the locals for the real thing - at his previous pub in Hemel Hempstead he'd only shifted two firkins a week. In the longer-term, a major remodelling of the interior is planned, along with innovations on the food side (which will be especially pleasing to lovers of Indian cuisine).

The long-delayed replacement Fox in Bar Hill (Punch Taverns) opened just before Christmas. Still called the Fox, it has a large L-shaped open-plan interior and sports the pseudo-domestic décor currently fashionable among pub-chain designers: lots of light wood, framed prints, ornaments on glass shelves etc. Some elements, such as the fireplace, verge on the risible. Real ales are Greene King IPA, Marstons Pedigree and Draught Bass. Food is served up till 9.30: there's a standard menu plus specials. Not a pub to get the pulse racing, but virtually anything would have been an improvement on the keg-only vomitarium that was its predecessor.
[See ALE 303.]

There were concerns recently over the viability of three Greene King pubs near one another in Harston: the Queens Head, the Pemberton Arms and the Three Horseshoes. The latter has now opened a "Crayfish Restaurant and Oyster Bar".

All information is believed correct at time of going to press. If our spies have got anything wrong, please contact the editor, who will be happy to print a correction.

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