Cherry Hinton has two other pubs – the Robin Hood, which operates primarily as a restaurant, and the Red Lion in Mill End Road, where we can actually report good news. Dave and Angela Green took over this Greene King pub in September, though they retain the licence of the Salisbury Arms in Cambridge which they've run since 2006. The Red Lion had become run down so needed early redecoration and repairs but a major refit is also planned for February. This will see four extra handpumps installed – at present there is one guest ale alongside the standard GK cask beers.
Unfortunately, things have gone awry back at the Salisbury. Dave and Angela had installed their son, Ben, as manager but have now rightly sacked him because of racist and violent comments he had posted on his Facebook page. Pub owners Charles Wells have strongly supported their prompt action. At the time of writing the new management arrangements for the Salisbury weren't known.
At last, something positive to report on the Cambridge pub closures front. The City Council's North Area Committee turned down the planning application to convert the Carpenters Arms, Victoria Road to flats, despite an officer recommendation for approval. Councillors took note of the draft National Planning Policy Framework which regards pubs as community facilities which should be protected if valued. We now wait to see if the applicant will appeal.
The new team at the Grapes on Histon Road, Cambridge has put customer service top of its agenda and you're assured a friendly welcome at this proper community pub. Two guest beers now complement the Greene King IPA and Abbot while food is served Wednesday to Friday lunchtimes, all day Saturday and lunch on Sunday. When the weather improves, barbecues in the big back garden will become a feature. Bands are playing here on a regular basis.
The Bird (formerly Bird in Hand), Newmarket Road, Cambridge is selling Milton beers, unusual in a Greene King pub. Down the street, the closed Zebra sports a “Sold” sign but no info yet as to its future.
A notice has appeared on the door of the long-shut Jolly Brewers, Milton stating that it will reopen in the New Year.
The Mill, Mill Lane, Cambridge has closed following the reversion of the lease to its freehold owners, the University. The pub is to be refurbished at a cost of £200,000 and is likely to re-open in January.
We belatedly caught up with the “new” regime at the White Horse, Barton – they've actually been there 18 months. The interior has been fully redecorated with a most attractive green and cream colour scheme in the Village Bar which also has table football and comfy seats. Browns predominate in the lounge with its big old fireplace, cosy alcoves and leather sofas – beyond which is the large conservatory restaurant. Although a Greene King pub, you'll be lucky to find IPA or Abbot here as Tim makes maximum use of the brewery's guest ale scheme to populate the three handpumps. On the food side, there's an extensive regular menu (with fish a speciality) plus Curry Night (Thursday) and Steak Night (Tuesday) at £6.99. Folk music is on the last Sunday of each month. More info at www.thewhitehorsebarton.co.uk
The White Horse, Conington has designated Saturday evening as CAMRA Real Ale night, with pints available to members for just £2.50 on production of a membership card. Greene King IPA and Abbot (the latter on gravity) are joined by four guest beers.
The Cambridge City Football Club bar is a previously unreported outlet for Milton beers.
The sad news reaches us that Charlie and Caroline are leaving the Alex, Gwydir Street, Cambridge. Despite healthy sales they couldn't keep their heads above water. As Charlie says “Under the Greene King tenancy regime, it's virtually impossible for an old-style couple to sustain a community local”
Back in 2010, Greene King applied for planning consent to demolish the Blue Lion, Fen Ditton and replace it with a 42-bed residential care home. The application was chucked out mainly on the grounds that the new building would have a detrimental impact on the conservation area. GK have now come back with a new application to replace the pub with 14 houses. As there are three other pubs in the village, South Cambs District Council will no doubt find refusal difficult.
The Cambridge Tap, the exciting new venture at the railway station, is now expected to open in February.
The First & Last, ex-Cricketers, in Melbourne Place, Cambridge closed its doors suddenly in mid-November having only re-opened in September. We understand that the tenancy is held by a small Norwich-based pub company which has gone into administration. Hopefully the closure will be short-term only.
The Green Man, Grantchester hosts another Beer Festival from 16 – 18 December with the usual mouth-watering selection of beers and ciders (including the products of most local breweries) accompanied by live music. As usual, pints are £3 for CAMRA members.
Apologies to Emma and Anthony Eagles. In last issue's News From the East we said that Greene King had “removed” them from the Red Lion, Brinkley. We're assured that they left voluntarily having given proper notice – this being because GK wanted to increase the rent significantly. The pub is still closed and on the market with Fleurets.
Finally to our customary round up of other pubs which were up for grabs at the time of writing. Greene King have tenancies available at the White Swan Conington, the John Barleycorn and Wheatsheaf Duxford, the Clarendon Cambridge, the Dog & Duck Linton, the Hop Bind Cottenham and the Old Crown Girton. The Enterprise list once again includes the Rupert Brooke Grantchester, Red Bull Newnham and Three Horseshoes Comberton but the Black Horse Melbourn is shown as “under offer”. Christie's are still trying to sell the King William 1V Heydon and the Pheasant Great Chishill.