Another reopening is at the George, Babraham, now in the hands of Steve Lythall. The emphasis is on “fine dining” with a British and Mediterranean a la carte menu, set business and Sunday lunches, private dining facilities plus bar snacks and meals. Three Greene King beers on handpump.
The finest real ale your editor has encountered since the last issue was a sumptuous drop of Oakham Inferno in the Fountain, Regent Street, Cambridge, where it was guesting. Thwaites Bitter is the permanent offering here.
At the Punter, Pound Hill, Cambridge, Woodforde’s Wherry has replaced Adnams Bitter. Broadside remains.
Congratulations to the Hole in the Wall, Little Wilbraham, selected recently by Gardeners World magazine as having one of “10 Great Pub Gardens”. This Good Beer Guide listed pub also offers many non-botanical delights.
Things look bad for the Locomotive, Mill Road, Cambridge. Urbanside Property Ltd are looking to let the building, described as “formerly the Locomotive PH”, and pointing out that it provides a conversion opportunity to restaurant and other retail uses. What odds yet another curry house?
In the last ALE we reported a new regime at the reopened Waterman, Mitcham’s Corner, Cambridge. They didn’t last long though and the place is being run, for at least 6 months, by experienced licensee Sean Baylis. He intends introducing live acoustic music twice a month, a poker club on Wednesdays and Karaoke on Fridays. Two or three real ales from the Punch range.
The Golden Hind on Milton Road Cambridge has expanded its real ale offering to four. A recent visit found Caledonian Deuchars IPA, Tim Taylor Landlord, Wychwood Hobgoblin and Adnams Bitter. This vast “Tolly Folly” has been much altered over the years but retains a semblance of its former glory, notably the oak panelling in what used to be the lounge and the skylight over the bar.
Belated congratulations to the Kingston Arms, Kingston Street, Cambridge who successfully achieved their Cask Marque reaccreditation last autumn.
The Master Mariner, Perne Road, Cambridge has a much improved range of real ales. A recent visit found Woodforde’s Wherry, Wells Bombardier, Wychwood Hobgoblin and Wentworth Santa’s Secret. We gather there’s a tie-up with the Good Beer Guide-listed Unicorn, Trumpington – the double-decker bus from the latter is now at the Mariner, for instance, and the presence of a Wentworth beer (regularly featured at the Unicorn) also suggests common management.
On Histon Road Cambridge, the British Queen is set to undergo yet another transformation (anyone remember Bumpers and Fat Jack’s?) and is reopening as The Ranch bar and restaurant – doesn’t sound very promising from a real ale perspective.
Uncertainty surrounds the Graduate on Chesterton Road Cambridge. Owners Barfly successfully applied for extended opening hours which was a pre-condition for their reopening the pub. However there is as yet no sign of activity and the “To Let” sign remains. Wetherspoons apparently had a look at it and decided no.
Another pub with an unclear future is the Black Horse Dry Drayton which has been shut since last November; this followed the bankruptcy of the lessee who had only been there a year. The owners of the freehold live in Abu Dhabi and have been prevented from putting it on the market because the liquidator has had his hands on the place. Hopefully, by the time you read this, offers for either the freehold or leasehold will have been invited. The pub certainly has loads of potential in the right hands.
Given the crunchiness of the times you might expect the number of pubs seeking new tenants or owners to be at an all time high but it’s actually gone down a little since our last round up. Greene King want tenants for the Bakers Arms and the White Hart Fulbourn, the Bell Bottisham, the Grove Cambridge, the John Barleycorn Duxford, the Pemberton Arms Harston and the Tally Ho Trumpington. Punch invite interest in the Chequers Cottenham, Star Melbourn, Black Bull Sawston and Jolly Waterman Cambridge, while Enterprise have just the Greyhound Sawston on offer. Everards are still looking for a tenant for the Rose and Crown Histon. Fleurets have the Prince Albert Stow-cum-Quy, Rosemary Branch Cherry Hinton and Carpenters Arms Great Wilbraham for sale, along with the Swan House Fowlmere; the last has recently been operating as an Indian restaurant so it would be great to see it reborn as a pub.
Lawyers/the Advocate (formerly the Oak) on Lensfield Road Cambridge has been operating primarily as a wine bar for some years with real ale only intermittently available. It’s now to become Bistro Alexander so presumably any last vestiges of pubbiness will disappear.
The Alma, Russell Court, Cambridge has reopened under new management. It is majoring on a “Credit Crunch Menu” featuring a limited range of very reasonably priced grub e.g. Chilli Con Carne £3.95, Lasagne £4.95 and Sunday roast £3.95. Real ales are Greene King IPA and a Greene King guest. During the week it doesn’t open until 4pm (12-12 on Saturday and 12-7 on Sunday).