As this was being written, The Castle, St Andrews Street, Cambridge was in the midst of its second major refurb in just over two years. The Elm Tree in Orchard Street was just about to open after its revamp; the licensees have been mortified by the theft of the historic pub sign during the work.
The Druids, Napier Street, Cambridge is another pub which changes its image at regular intervals. Its latest incarnation is as The Box Tree, very much in the contemporary, open-plan, cafe-bar style. What's essentially a single cavernous space is made to look even larger by the huge mirrors on one wall. Most tables are set for food which features a wide range of tapas, light meals and (quite pricey) main courses. Real ale has survived in the shape of Wells Eagle and Bombardier.
The Hopbine, Fair Street, Cambridge, is a rare local outlet for Hobgoblin, a scrumptious 5% brew from the Wychwood brewery. Up to three other real ales are also available.
A recent visit to The Cricketers in Melbourn Place Cambridge found no less than six real ales on sale, all from Greene King apart from St Austell Tribute.
The Chequers in Cottenham has had a "chequered" history in recent years but recently reopened after a thoroughgoing makeover. It now sports attractive new fixtures and fittings within a pleasing dark brown and ochre colour scheme. The team running it were quoted in the local press as saying " We're definitely no longer a pub. We call ourselves a cafe/bar" but, actually, the atmosphere is pubby in the best sense of the word. What they're no doubt trying to convey is that this isn't the grungy hole of yesteryear but somewhere which, whatever your age or sex, you'll find a comfy, welcoming place for a bite to eat or a drink. Greene King IPA and Adnams Broadside are the real ales on offer and the pub is no smoking throughout.