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ALE Summer 2004 No. 314 : Next section

ALE Summer 2004 No. 314

Cambridge news roundup

[Earl of Derby] The Earl of Derby in Hills Road has reopened after what Greene king say is their biggest ever investment in a tenanted pub. However, the bulk of the dosh has been spent behind the scenes, notably on creating 12 en-suite bedrooms. The bar retains its single-room layout following opening out some years ago, though remnants of the former walls help break up the space. The bar counter has been repositioned and there is a new wooden floor and tasteful decorations. The patio garden is nicely protected from the hurly-hurly of Hills Road by high hedges. IPA, Abbot and a guest (Triumph to begin with) are on the handpumps.

<- Picture: The Earl of Derby

Some time ago, Wetherspoons applied for a licence for one of their Lloyds No. 1 bars to be situated at the leisure development off Hills Road. This architecturally-challenged fundrome is now open, with nary a sign of Lloyds, so 'Spoons obviously thought better of it. There are cafe-bars in both the cinema and Travelodge but, needless to say, neither has real ale.

[The Vine] The former Boatrace on East Road has been refurbished by Enterprise Inns and is now The Vine with a tag of "bar and kitchen". Generally it looks similar to, say, McMullen's "B" or M&B's All Bar One. It opened on the weekend of 1st August, with a kitchen which can be clearly seen, comfy seats and a patio at the rear.

Picture: The Vine ->

The blurb in Cambridge Explorer (August 2004) says it's run by the proprietors of The Vine Pub & Dining Rooms in Ware, Hertfordshire, and has a 'traditional yet contemporary feel' with 'comfy non-statement furniture'.

On an exploratory visit a week later, three shiny metal handpumps in the middle of the bar looked promising, with London Pride, Greene King IPA and Abbot on display. Sadly the latter was very vinegary - definitely "off". Subsequent visits found the London Pride to be consistently good.

Menu items include battered cod & chips at £7.50 and a sandwich of crayfish tails, avocado and herb mayo, plus salad and chips, for £5.95.

The Alexandra Arms in Gwydir Street has a new landlord, moved from the White Horse in Barton. After a year or so of problems, the pub is attracting regulars back and once again there are three different beers on (GK IPA, Triumph & Old Specked Hen recently). There's food every session and quiz nights continue on Sundays.

It was good to see bottles of City of Cambridge Brewery's Hobson's Choice on sale in the new café at the reopened Fitzwillam Museum.

Publicity photographs of local author Susanna Clarke taken in the Live and Let Live have appeared in the New York Times Magazine.

Congratulations to the Green Dragon, Chesterton, which has won the Greene King Cask Ale Pub of the Year award, beating other Greene King pubs on quality and quantity.

Congratulations also to the Kingston Arms, Kingston Street, and the Green Man, Trumpington, for their awards of Cask Marque.

[The Alma]

There's been a change of landlord at the Alma (Ridley's), with no real ale on during a recent visit. Hopefully that's a temporary state.

<- Picture: The Alma

According to the Cambridge Explorer magazine (June 2004), the Corner House (Newmarket Road, Greene King) has changed hands, with food now to the fore and B&B available.

[Plough & Harrow/McDonalds] The former Plough & Harrow pub on Madingley Road, with its distinctive conical roof, seems likely to be demolished soon for housing. It's been The Churchill, a Beefeater restaurant and is ending its days as a McDonalds take-away.

Picture: Plough & Harrow/McDonalds ->
The roof used to be topped by a white cone in emulation of oast houses (Kent hop kilns).

Rural round-up

Last year Charles Wells did a super job of refurbishing the Admiral Vernon, Over. However, for various reasons, it then found itself in the hands of a succession of temporary managers. Now, at last, permanent tenants have arrived. Duncan and Julie Dingwall, who previously ran pubs in Essex, moved in on 19 July. Duncan was born in Dollar, Clackmannanshire, which explains his love of malt whiskies, something he intends to make a feature of by offering a wide selection. On the real ale front, Duncan was quickly impressed by the amount of Eagle and Bombardier going over the counter so has added a guest beer, starting with Wadworth's Summersault. Traditional home-cooked food will be available by the time you read this.

Three generations of women have taken over the tenancy at the Lion & Lamb in Milton.

The keen couple at the Hoops, Gt. Eversden, have moved to the Three Tuns, Abingdon. At the Hoops, they developed a strong base of good food with an excellent choice of beers and early reports say the same is happening the the Hoops.

The George at Babraham is still boarded up after its fire. Apparently the new licensees don't live in, so there doesn't seem to be any urgency in the repairs. A planning application has been submitted for a big restaurant development.

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 Summer 2004 No. 314 : Next section
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