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ALE September-October 2005 No. 319 : Next section

ALE September-October 2005 No. 319

The Pickerel
<- The Pickerel
Recently installed at The Pickerel in Magdalene Street Cambridge are Nathan and Maria Donnelly. They were previously at The Compleat Angler in Norwich, a well-known real ale pub near the station. Before that they had a spell in Sweden but decided to come back to the "best job in the world." In his earlier pub-working days, Nathan had a spell (1994-1998) at The Fountain in Regent Street, then a Good Beer Guide regular.

On the "Not Broke" principle, the Donnelly's don't plan any major changes at The Pickerel (a claimant to being the city's oldest pub). Nathan is very keen on his real ales and will keep Woodforde's Wherry and Theakstons Old Peculier as regulars; the other three pumps will be occupied by quickly-rotating guest beers. The kitchen is being improved so that the food range can be extended. Changes will also be made to the lighting to add a bit more atmosphere to the warren-like interior.

Magdalene Street
<- Magdalene Street
Magdalene College, who own the properties along the street, are currently repainting them in interesting shades and by the time you read this, The Pickerel should have emerged in two tones of blue.

The Tram Depot
<- The Tram Depot
Meanwhile John Dearn, who had been The Pickerel's licensee for 15 years, has moved to The Tram Depot in Dover Street. He correctly assessed that this pub needed some "love put into it" and has set about raising standards all round at this attractive Everards pub. On the real ale front, three of Everards own beers are complemented with two changing guest beers (on a recent visit, Brunswick Bitter and Bath Wild Hare); a third guest may be added. Other changes include a much extended range of wines, entertainment some evenings (featuring good music to drink beer to) and Sky TV for big sporting occasions.

Charles Wells have done a deal with Fullers which sees the latter's fabulous strong ale, ESB, appearing in two of their Cambridge pubs, The Salisbury Arms and The Dobblers Inn.

A somewhat unexpected outlet for real ale is The Phoenix Chinese restaurant on the High Street in Histon where a handpump dispenses Fullers London Pride. The building was once a pub called The Brook.

Another previously unreported handpump resides on the bar at the Moat House hotel in Bar Hill; Draught Bass issues forth from it.

The Backstreet Brasserie
<- The Backstreet Brasserie
The former keg-only Blackamoors Head on Victoria Road Cambridge has re-opened as The Backstreet Brasserie. It does sell real ale (Shepherd Neame Spitfire) but is very much a restaurant, with all tables set for food.