ALE Winter 2003/04 No. 312 : Next section

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Book review: The Good Pub Guide 2004

The latest edition of The Good Pub Guide has been recently published, and this is one of the great pub guides to be used alongside CAMRA's own Good Beer Guide.
This is the 22nd edition of the The Good Pub Guide and it contains over 5000 entries that have all been fully updated. I have for many years called this guide the Bible, and I use it most when I am roaming the country, possibly looking for somewhere to stay: I can rest easy knowing that the recommendations are always good (I think that over the last 15 years I have only been disappointed just once, when staying somewhere in the Midlands). High-quality pubs like White Swan at Stow-cum-Quy have forced there way into the guide this year, and there are many other new entries.

In this new edition there are awards for pubs, landlords, brewers and newcomers as well as wine, whisky, own brew, fish, bargain food and unspoilt pubs of the year. There is a main entry section containing details of pubs that followers of this guide have recommended, and the editor or his assistant has rigorously followed them up. No stone is left unturned to find the finest in the country, though the editor, Alistair Aird, would be the first to admit there are many gems out there that need unearthing, and reckons that it is amazing how a pub can change in just twelve months. There is also a very useful pot luck section at the end of each county that lists possible stars of the future: they are awaiting full assessment and more readers' comments.

This particular guide also addresses relevant issues that may crop up. The main talking point this year is pub food, particularly that there has been a steep hike in food prices, some being five times the retail price index, and that in one in seven pubs the price of food has jumped by 25% or more. Another customer grievance is that readers often feel bulldozed into having and paying for something far fancier than they really want. Typically it may be an expensive sandwich padded out with a few crisps or salad when all they really want is a simple high quality sandwich as they produce at the Queen's Head, Newton.

The guide also discusses smoking in pubs and points out that the majority of us do not smoke, so it is only a matter of time before majority rule dictates the end to this habit. A sizing down of smoking areas is recommended.

Another interesting section is the national survey that shows that the average cheapest pint is, curiously, in Nottinghamshire at 1.84 per pint; London is a whopping 49p more expensive, with our patch not fairing too well at 33p more.

The Good Pub Guide 2004 is published by Ebury Press, sells at 14.99, and is available from pubs and shops everywhere. A great stocking filler from which everyone benefits.

Jerry Brown


For more detailed information about prices, see CAMRA's Prices Surveys.

Entries in the branch area:

Cambridge
Cambridge Blue
Eagle
Live & Let Live
Fen Ditton
Ancient Shepherds
Fen Drayton
Three Tuns
Fowlmere
Chequers
Heydon
King William IV
Hinxton
Red Lion
Madingley
Three Horseshoes
Newton
Queen's Head
Stow-cum-Quy
White Swan
Thriplow
Green Man

Lucky dip
Barrington
Royal Oak
Boxworth
Golden Ball
Brinkley
Red Lion
Burrough Green
Bull
Cambridge
Anchor
Castle Inn
Champion of the Thames
Free Press
Kingston Arms
Pickerel
Conington
White Swan
Dullingham
Kings Head
Duxford
John Barleycorn
Elsworth
George & Dragon
Poacher
Fulbourn
Bakers Arms
Girton
Old Crown
Grantchester
Blue Ball Inn
Green Man
Great Chishill
Pheasant
Haddenham
Three Kings
Hardwick
Blue Lion
Hildersham
Pear Tree
Histon
Red Lion
Longstowe
Red House
Milton
Waggon & Horses
Reach
Dykes End
Sawston
Greyhound
Swaffham Prior
Red Lion
Willingham
Three Tuns


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