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ALE Summer 2004 No. 314 : Next section

ALE Summer 2004 No. 314

I suppose at one time I could have been accused of nepotism in writing about a pub I had close ties with, but many a pint has flowed through the pumps since Brownie Boy pulled his last pint in the Live & Let Live on Mawson Road, Cambridge.

Pete Wiffin and co-licensee Haggis have been at the helm of this wonderful little back street boozer for just over a year now. The Live is a wonderful example of a corner street ribbon development pub that was built before the rest of the row of houses to quench the thirst of the builders. (Tales of life in the Live in the 1960s can be found in Mac Rutherford's Cambridge Circus.)

The pub has changed - and expanded - dramatically over the years, taking in two neighbouring properties to provide one open bar, recently augmented by a snug, courtesy of a fire that nearly razed the place to the ground a few years ago in the days of Peter Grey. This comfortable wood-floored and panelled pub boasts seven real ales: Adnams Bitter, Nethergate Umbel, Everards Tiger as constants, with a great array of constantly changing guest beers (including a dark beer to keep the ALE editor happy); and Cassels cider is also on hand pump.

Alan Kilker followed from Peter Grey and continued the great beers that we were used to before handing the reins over to Pete Wiffin. Pete is a real enthusiast for the finest beers kept and served in the finest condition. They have occasional beer festivals, normally about two per year, and if you catch them at the right time there are over 20 beers on offer. This mecca for real ale enthusiasts is suitably enhanced by wonderfully simple high-quality food. Simon the chef has built up a reputation working in other pubs in Cambridge, but is happy to ply his great skills producing brilliantly tasty meals like liver and bacon on a bed of bubble and squeak, home made steak and kidney pie, and constantly changing daily specials at a really good price. Sunday roasts are also served and good value for money as well. Those who prefer to dine without smoke will be pleased to know that there is a no-smoking area, enforced until 9.00 p.m. at night.

While continuing the work of his predecessors in focusing on the basics (food and drink), Pete is slowly putting his own mark on the place as more and more railway memorabilia begins to adorn the walls. Renovating the antique gas lamps is a long-term aim as well.

If you are visiting one of the many other renowned real pubs in the area, be sure to drop in to the Live as well, whether you require fine ale, good food - or of course both!

Jerry Brown

Live & Let Live, 40 Mawson Road, Cambridge
Tel. (01223) 460362
[Multimap] [Streetmap]
Opening hours
Mon-Fri11:30-2:305:30-11:00
Sat11:30-2:306:00-11:00
Sun12:00-2:307:00-10:30


ALE Summer 2004 No. 314 : Next section
Cambridge & District CAMRA