Notwithstanding strong objections from the Police, Wetherspoons have been granted a license for their new pub on the ground floor of the Travelodge building at Cambridge Leisure Park off Cherry Hinton Road. The planned opening date is May/June.
Our spies encountered excellent pints of Woodforde's Wherry and Adnams Bitter at the Railway Tavern Great Shelford.
ALE reader Jonathan Morrison has drawn attention to the quality of the Abbot at the Chequers Pampisford; he also speaks highly of the Plough in Duxford.
Despite vigorous opposition and a three-hour hearing, the City Council granted Punch Taverns a new premises licence for the Sino Tap/Town and Gown on Pound Hill Cambridge. The licence will allow the current two bar layout to be opened up into a single expanded space (subject to planning permission). Several conditions were imposed including that the use of outside areas has to stop by 11pm, after which time all doors and windows also have to be kept shut. ALE has been contacted by Tom Rainey, the new leaseholder of the premises (which will be renamed the Punter). Tom, who also runs the Sauce bar on Station Road, says it will remain first and foremost a pub, with folk who just want to drink being welcome - and they will have three or four real ales to pick from. He doesn't however shy away from the term gastropub and reckons the Punter will serve the finest food in Cambridge.
Meanwhile Steve and Cissy-Lyn, previous incumbents at the Sino Tap, have moved to the Zebra on Maids Causeway. They've already smartened the place up, with the smaller of the bar areas now looking much better for its new furniture. Real ales are currently Greene King IPA, the under-rated Ruddles County and a guest from the Greene King list (Batemans XXXB on our visit). The Chinese food for which the Sino Tap was renowned is available every day (and up until 11pm) with Thai on offer Tuesday and Wednesday. You can also get pizzas and a range of specials whilst the Sunday lunch (£5.95) is proving very popular.
The Cambridge Arms in King Street Cambridge has been called Cambridge CAMRA's spiritual home. In the mid-70s when CAMRA was taking off, it was one of the few city pubs selling "real" Greene King and the public bar, with its splendid etched windows, was a great place to drink in. Then, in the mid-90s, came the regrettable conversion to the Rattle and Hum yoof-oriented music bar. This predictably flopped so loads of dosh was spent turning it back to a "traditional" pub - except all of the genuinely old interior had been lost so we got something entirely bogus. We now await with trepidation its latest incarnation as "D'Arrys' Wine Shop, Bar and Dining" - it doesn't sound good. (It opens in mid-March.)
An old pal of CAMRA's, Dave Green, is now ensconsed at the Salisbury Arms, Tenison Road Cambridge. This Charles Wells pub was, on a recent visit, offering Wells Eagle and Bombardier, Youngs Special and Winter Warmer, Courage Directors, Adnams Broadside, Everards Tiger and St Austell Tribute plus Crones Cider. Food is available every lunchtime (12-2) and from 5.30pm to 8pm, Monday to Thursday.
The printed edition of ALE 327 contained the following error, corrected here: the Editor apologises
for mixing Dave Green up with Dave Thompson!
Many will remember Dave [Thompson, not Green] from his long stint at the Portland Arms, where he provided sustenance (solid and liquid) for those valiant volunteers who erect and take down the summer Beer Festival on the nearby City Football Ground and then on Jesus Green (a tradition carried on by the still-excellent Portland, one of our few surviving Mild outlets).
Dave can now be found producing excellent food at the Live & Let Live and sometimes behind the bar at the University Sports and Social Club.
The Three Horseshoes at Madingley offers the full range (six) of bottle-conditioned beers from the City of Cambridge Brewery. It's a shame that more pubs and, especially bars, don't follow suit by selling "real ale in a bottle", given that their long shelf life means that the commercial risk is low. Adnams Bitter and a changing guest beer are also sold at the Horseshoes; although food predominates here, they're more than happy to serve someone who just wants a drink.