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ALE Spring 2005 No. 317 : Next section

ALE Spring 2005 No. 317

Histon is blessed with many fine pubs, but for me the pick of the litter is The Red Lion. Mark Donachy has had his hand on the tiller here since 1994, having worked within the pub trade for a national giant for many years. This charming pub with its no-mobile policy vehemently enforced was the Cambridge CAMRA's Pub of the Year in 2003. Mark is quite a character and very unconventional. One year he refused to put up Christmas decorations, but eventually did so on Twelfth Night keeping them up all year round and taking them down just before the following Christmas!

The pub boasts a minimum of six real ales including Elgood's Black Dog Mild, Everards Tiger and Oakham Bishops Farewell. It is very much a local pub with events like darts, crib, petanque and a cricket team. The food is really good here too, with gargantuan portions being served between noon and 2pm, six days a week. There is a monthly curry night and it is well worth booking to be sure of a place.

Mark is very public spirited and hosts the Histon beer festival each September with all the profits going to the charitable Histon Feast funds; it's a must for any real ale imbiber. By the time this goes to print the Easter Aperitif Beer Festival will have taken place with around 18 real ales plus ciders and Belgian beers.

The pub has two largish bars. The public has Sky Sports channels for selected sporting occasions, whilst the recently extended lounge bar has an amazing collection of brewery and pub memorabilia. There are some lovely old pictures of Histon from Victorian times too. Over 1200 different beers have passed through the pumps over the last 10 years, and the evidence is there to be seen with all the pump clips on display hanging from the ceiling. I am always made to feel welcome by the locals and staff and on my most recent visit enjoyed a fine pint of Adnams bitter and a great pint of Nethergate Umbel.

If Belgian beer is your desire, Mark stocks draught Leffe and Hoegaarden and at least 18 different sorts by the bottle. There is a very impressive wine list with at least 12 wines available. Michael Collinwood, the famous sign writer, recently re-painted the original wall sign proclaiming "Lacon's Yarmouth ales". I can thoroughly recommend a visit to this wonderful old freehouse for its fine fayre and general conviviality.

Jerry Brown


[Multimap] [Streetmap]
The Red Lion , 27 High Street, Histon, 01223 564437


ALE Spring 2005 No. 317 : Next section
Cambridge & District CAMRA