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ALE Spring 2004 No. 313 : Next section

ALE Spring 2004 No. 313

Back to the Cambridge Arms

The front bar of the old Cambridge Arms in King Street was one of the finest in Cambridge, with its etched windows, high ceiling and traditional bar-back. In the late 1970s the pub was expanded by the creation of the separate Scales Bar in the former brewery buildings at the back.

Unaccountably, in 1998, Greene King trashed the whole place, opening it up into a single barn and renaming it the Rattle and Hum. Worse was to follow when what little remained of the interior was removed a few years later as the pub became a chrome and screen-infested horror called The Brewery.

Now it is the Cambridge Arms again, having been given a 'traditional' makeover. It's actually quite a superficial job, with the worst excesses of The Brewery chucked on the skip, wood replacing shiny surfaces, etc. It's just a pity that Greene King can't turn the clock back to the real traditional pub they wrecked. Having said that, we're getting good reports on the beer quality (GK IPA, Abbott, Old Speckled Hen). [Backstreet Bistro]

First-day review

The Backstreet Bistro (formerly the White Hart) in Sturton Street opened on 21st April. It's run by Peter Fagg & team from the Bun Shop (King Street), who have created a very pleasant little eatery. Upon entering, to the right is the bar area with a few tables; the ceiling is decorated with wine bottles. The two handpumps featured Young's Bitter and Shepherd Neame Spitfire and there's a good wine selection. People wishing to just drink (rather than eat) are welcome. There's also an outside area of decking, forming a nice sun trap.

To the left of the entrance is the dining area, which is no-smoking. The menu puts the place in the 'gastropub' category (joining the nearby pubs the Kingston Arms and the Alexandra Arms). For instance the current lunch menu includes 100% Scotch beef burger (6.95) and Lamb burger (7.25).

News round-up

Redevelopment of the Boatrace (Burleigh Street/East Road corner) now has planning permission: Enterprise Inns are developing it into some sort of modern pub or bar.

There's a new lounge bar on the site of the former Joshua Taylor deli in Market Passage, opposite "B": it's called Qi (pronounced "key") and apparently aims to be a chill-out zone.

[Kingston Arms] The Kingston Arms in Kingston Street has two flat-screen Internet PCs and free wireless access. A new lunchtime menu of lighter items is available and in the summer it'll be opening on Monday lunchtimes and all day on Fridays.

In the last edition we reported that the the Golden Pheasant (formerly the Dog & Pheasant) in Chesterton still had a bar, stocking Greene King IPA. However it's reported this is now Saigon City, a Vietnamese restaurant.

The new management at the Regal, following its refurbishment, seem to have improved the beer temperature, quality and selection and there seem to be more staff, giving better service. The area at the rear is now a second, much larger no-smoking area.


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.


ALE Spring 2004 No. 313 : Next section
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