Pubs are an increasingly endangered species throughout Britain, with at least one pub a week closing somewhere. Cambridge has not escaped the pub wasting disease, but fortunately there are still many good pubs left to suit every taste. There isn’t room here to cover all of Cambridge’s pubs, but here are some you might try:
One of the oldest pubs in Cambridge. Used by the RAF and US 8th Air Force pilots during the Second World War. They wrote their names and squadron numbers on the ceiling, using lighters or candles. The ‘RAF Bar’ is preserved today pretty much as it was then. Not to be missed. Try a pint of Eagle DNA – Crick and Watson used to drink in the pub every lunchtime.
8 Benet Street. ( Tel: 01223 505 020).
The Champion of the Thames
They don’t come more traditional than this. Superb city pub offering a very warm welcome from landlady Bex and her team. Oak interior and leather seats. Open coal fire in winter. The beer is always top notch. Quiz on Tuesdays.
68, King Street. (01223 352 043).
The St. Radegund
Another Cambridge legend which should not be missed. Has its own boat club – www.radbc.co.uk, Also the headquarters of the Monday Hash House Harriers. Excellent range of ales. 129, King Street ( 01223 311 794).
Re-opened in 2013 after sympathetic refurbishment. Now once again one of the most popular city watering holes. Scenic location opposite the Mill Pond and Scudamore’s punt station. Good range of real ales and ciders. Tasty pub grub includes home made sausage rolls and scotch eggs.
14 Mill Lane. (01223 357026)
A family-run free house in the heart of historic Cambridge. Near St.John’s College and Magdalene College. A stone’s throw from the ADC Theatre. Good range of real ales and some hearty home made Italian food.
20a Portugal Place (01223 352 999)
The Pint Shop
A recent addition to the downtown pub scene and off to a flying start with some great reviews. Inspired by the beer houses of the 1830s, the Pint Shop is a place where you can feel equally at home having a pint or a sit down meal. Wide range of ales and some very tasty food.
10 Peas Hill. 01223 352 293.
The Kite Area
The Free Press
Dates from the 1890s (pictured above). Coal fires in winter and bags of atmosphere. Still retains the original snug bar, which can be booked. Quintessential English pub, popular with townies and students alike. Good food and guest ales. Advisable to book for dinner and Sunday lunch.
7 Prospect Row, CB1 1DU
(01223 368 837)
The Elm Tree
Tucked away in a quiet corner of Cambridge near historic Parker’s Piece and within easy walk of the centre. Usually ten or so real ales on offer, plus extensive Belgian beer menu. Regular music nights.
16a Orchard Street (tel: 01223 502 632).
The First and Last
Dates from the early 1800s but now refurbished into a modern pub offering Thai food.
18 Melbourne Place (01223 305544).
The Clarendon Arms,
Excellent pub food and good range of ales and wines. No machines or muzak, just a warm welcome and great food. Coal fire in winter. Almost essential to book for dinner most nights. Dogs welcome!
35 Clarendon Street (01223 778272)
The Hopbine recently re-opened as a free house (previously Greene King) and is a very welcome addition to the Cambridge pub scene. Fine range of real ales. Quiz night Sundays.
11-12 Fair Street. (tel: 01223 367204).
Recently re-opened after refurbishment by new owners Milton Brewery. Now stocking a good range of real ales. Tasty pizzas.
High Street, Chesterton. (tel: 01223 862 067)
The Old Spring
Near the river towards Chesterton in the De Freville area of Cambridge. Excellent food and service. Very popular with the rowing crowd (as in people who row boats, not as in people who argue a lot). Advisable to book for dinner.
1 Ferry Path (tel: 01223 357228)
The Castle Inn
Hugely popular Adnams pub near to castle mound, where the Romans started it all nearly 2000 years ago. Two floors containing many original features. Wide range of good value food and snacks. The manager is a former member of The Rutles!
38 Castle Street (01223 353194).
Renovated coaching house popular with diners. Real ales, wide range of food, kids and dogs welcome.
3 Pound Hill (01223 363 322).
The Pickerel Inn
One of the oldest pubs in Cambridge, situated near the river and Magdalene College. Excellent range of real ales. Hearty pub grub.
30, Magdalene Street (01223 355 068)
The Back Street Pubs
The name given to the community of pubs to found in the cosmopolitan Mill Road Area (surely the most fascinating road in the country?). The close proximity of the Back Street pubs make them ideal for a pub crawl…….
The Live and Let Live
The pub man’s pub. No music or machines. Small, cosy, wood-panelled with excellent real ales and Belgian beers. Great pork pies. Rum fests from time to time. Regular award winner.
40 Mawson Road (01223 460 362).
Just around the corner is Cambridge’s first CAMRA pub, the Salisbury Arms. Completely refurbished and re-opened on 13 March. Now offering stone baked pizzas and a range of pub grub.
76 Tenison Road. (01223 576 363)
Also nearby is the cosy Six Bells. A steak and chips feast for £7.50 on Thursday nights. Quiz night on Monday (free chips) CAMRA Cambridge Community Pub of the year 2014. Live music every week.
11 Covent Garden. (01223 355 559).
The Alexandra Arms
Log burners, sofas and burgers. A cosy pub offering good ales and quality food.
Gwydir Street. (tel:01223 324 441)
Fine range of ales and imported beers, plus some very tasty food. The ‘recession menu’ offers high-quality meals for around a fiver. Gets busy, but diners can book.
33, Kingston Street (tel: 01223 361 868).
A real rarity, a pub which has been refurbished and re-invented with no loss of character. Hugely popular with diners is the meat cooked on hot rocks. Regular music nights. Essential to book if eating.
1 Ainsworth Street (tel: 01223 314264)
The Cambridge Blue
Huge range of real ales and foreign beers. Gwydir Street (tel: 01223 361 382)
Now run by the Milton Brewery and completely refurbished. Has quickly become popular with real ale enthusiasts.
1 Devonshire Road (tel: 01223 316 610)
The Dobblers Inn
Sports-mad community pub offering bags of atmosphere on big match days. 5 large screens. A very warm welcome at all times from landlady Emma and her team. Quiz night Tuesdays. Occasional music nights. Pizzas and light bites available throughout the day. Two open fires make it very cosy in winter.
184 Sturton Street (01223 576092)
The Earl of Beaconsfield
Under new management this has become a very welcome addition to the network of Cambridge community pubs. A relaxed and pleasant place to enjoy real ales and a thriving music venue. Blues jam on Sunday nights and acoustic jam on Tuesdays. Free entry to both. You will be surprised at just how good the musicians are. Also gigs on other nights and sporadic outbreaks of Irish folk music.
133 Mill Road (01223 247 761).
The White Swan
Large, late night venue famous for its sports coverage, particularly rugby. Open until 2am every night except Sunday. Tasty, simple pub food. Five screens which can and do show up to four different sporting events at a time. Set amongst Mill Road’s famous curry houses, its the sporting mecca for many Cambridge fans.
107 Mill Road.
The Flying Pig
A Cambridge institution. Candle-lit, cool music, hearty grub at lunchtimes. Warm welcome from Matt and Justine. Music every Tuesday and Wednesday from hugely talented local musicians. Free entry. Sadly and disgracefully this wonderful pub is under threat of demolition by developers, Pace Investments. Pop along to show your support and look out for the online petition.
106 Hills Road (01223 354 263).
Current managers returning it to the popular music venue it once was. Also a great place to watch sport. A mecca for Six Nations followers.
26 Russell Court (tel: 01223 316 722).
Regular gigs and poetry in the upstairs function room.
21 Hills Road (01223 464633)