City Centre Pubs, Cambridge
Ok we came here twice in one day but the first time was so comfortable that we ended up here again having a final drink before saying goodbye to Gillian Mclaughlin.
Cambridge has many pubs and eating houses and this one was as good as any. It is large and has many places to sit and enjoy a chat aswell as a drink.
Dress Code: Casual dress is Ok
Pubs are a GIANT part of English daily life. Pubs have a wonderful atmosphere with a much more intriguing aspect about them than any American bar scene. Locals come to relax, unwind with a nice meal, possibly with a good bitter, ale, or lager. Some even drink Jack Daniels (Tennessee Whisky), which REALLY surprised me! :-)
There is definitely an abundance of "Old World charm" in most pubs in England. I am no expert pub crawler, by any means, and actually, I am a lightweight when it comes to alcohol, but the attitude just seems to magically transform, almost instantaneously, upon entering a nice, friendly pub.
There is this awesome site I found when searching for the address of Wetherspoons in London. (See Restaurant Tips on London pages for info on Wetherspoons). You can search by the pub name, address, postcode, nearest tube station, etc. It is similar to VT as it has ratings and reviews from the patrons who visited the pubs. You may even refine your search to include extras such as Big screen TV's, dartboard, pool table, live music, Sunday roast dinner, car park, etc. The list is extensive, but those are a few basics.
Like VT, it is not neccessary to be a member to view the details. If you are looking for some information about a great pub in Cambridge, or anywhere else in the World, this will do all the work for you. All you need do is decide which pub best suits your taste. :-)
Dress Code: Depending on the establishment, dress code may vary, but most pubs in general have a casual dress code. All details can be found at the following website.
Usefully located on Regent street, we used to meet here frequently after work. And that is what the atmosphere is like in here (most of the time), office workers and other locals having a little chat after work. Looks great, pretty clean ladies loos.
This is a really great pub: good beer, good food, really nice wine list. There's strictly no smoking and no mobiles. Which can be good or bad, depending. The no smoking is mostly ok (except that its a bad place to meet your smoking mates) as is the no mobile rule (except when you forget to turn yours off, it rings, and you get dirty looks from everyone in the bar -- you will get thrown out if you flaunt this rule).
It's tiny so come EARLY (it opens at 6, by 7 you'll have trouble getting a seat), and people tend to settle in for a long night of chatting and playing games.
The Eagle is a great spot for a pint. Not to say you'll be the only tourist in there, but you certainly won't find just tourists either. Its fairly large, surrounding a pleasent courtyard. Good beer too (I am not one of those people who go on about if its a green king pub or a whatist pub, so don't get on my back about the beer being wrong, I just find it good).
I've never eaten here, but I've heard its been done.
Dress Code: None, but trying not to look like a tourist will get you far.
This is a great pub that faces Regent Street (a main city centre road in C.) and Parkers Piece. Quite hidden from the road, and down a small alleyway, it's a big pub that is cheap. Has a t.v screen for football games, dart boards, and pool tables - the usual. Decor is olde style, and seats are comfy and numerous.
Good if you want to sit in a quiet-ish pub, that's good value but in the city.
I think they also do food.
Dress Code: Casual.
I could throughly recommend the website listed below. The pair who write the site material review every pub in Cambridge - and make a great job of it. I especially like their map of the pubs which looks rather like an Metro / Underground map.
If I was to set out on a Cambridge pub crawl, the following selection of eight would provide a selection of pubs with history, good beer, picturesque settings and interesting clientelle :
1) Fort St George
2) The Champion of the Thames
3) The Mitre
4) The Baon of Beef
5) The Eagle
6) The Anchor
7) The Mill
8) The Granta
The popular 'Revolution' (better known as Vodka Revolution) chain has been present in Cambridge for a couple of years now. It is a popular hangout place for the young crowds, especially at weekends with the odd stag & hen party here and there. There are five bars on several floors and as the name suggests, this place is specialised on Vodka. However, that does not mean that you don't get any of the other stuff. I once kept ordering Jagermeister and Guinness for me and a friend and I'm happy I can still remember that night....
Prices are a little higher than in most Cambridge venues, however if you use their club card and/or stick to the happy hours you will find some real bargains. Food is good for pub food, however, it is a little more expensive than in other places (see above...) and limited, especially when the place gets crowded at weekends. There are many groups of mid-twenties and many people who are there for an after-work party. I went there several times and like that place. However, due to its chain character, it has a sterile touch and a lack of individuality.
Dress Code: No specific dress code, just don't look as if you were completely out of this world.
The Eagle has had a very long history, but only opened in it's present form about a dozen years ago.
The five-roomed pub is deeply traditional with deep red-walls, stone flagging and boards on the floor. The pub also has a couple of special feature : Firstly a gabled heated courtyard for outdoor drinking and secondly a RAF bar at the back with signatures of wartime piolts on the ceiling.
A plaque outside also records that this is where Crick and Watson came to drink after work during the period they were working on the structure of DNA. I have a sneaking suspicion that the bar snacks available here may have influenced their deliberations. Did the humble pork scratching provide inspiration ?
The Anchor public house is an excellent place to enjoy views of the river whilst having a spot to eat and drink. Plenty of floors and various types of smoking and non smoking areas to keep everyone happy.
Dress Code: Typical informal English pub
Most Wetherspoon pubs are just as good and as bad as any other. Even the Regal in Cambridge is probably not what I call a secret tip or must do. However, the pub has a kind of properties which make it a special one. First, it is located in the former lobby of a cinema (parts of the cinema are still in use above the pub). That means that black and dark red are the dominating colours. The pub takes up the whole size of the former lobby, that means two floors and a terrace (which may be interesting for smokers who don't want to leave the pub), making it Britain's largest pub. On weekends, it is a popular venue for the young crowd and has also a small dancing area.
The audience is pretty mixed, but on weekends, you'll find almost only students and teenies. Be prepared to have your ID checked as well as occasionally searched for weapons on Friday and Saturday evening. During the week, it's more like a pub you would go to after work. The menu is typically Wetherspoon, I didn't notice anything special. There was a surprisingly good choice of guest ales. Prices are as low as in an usual Wetherspoon Pub.
As I said, the Regal is Britain's largest pub. Britain's smallest is just a little more than an hour by train away: The Nutshell in Bury St. Edmunds. Cambridge's smallest, St. Radegund, is just 500 metres away.
Dress Code: No dress code, but I am sure you will be refused entry on weekends, if you look like causing trouble.
If you are looking for a place for large groups close to the youth hostel or the train station, the Salisbury Arms might be the right place for you. Popular with students, it has an atmosphere which rather reminds me of a pub back home in Northern Germany than a typical English Pub. It was fine, with one central bar and many seats and tables around. The staff was not unfriendly, but seemed rather introverted. I guess that any of the other guests (more than 30) would have made a better partner for conversation than those two behind the counter. Guest ales are always available, unfortunately, there was no stout for me.
Food is mainly served as lunch, although the kitchen is open until evening during the week. At weekends, there is a Sunday roast lunch. Outside of that, there is only crisps, biltong and nuts.
The place is OK, but if you are not in a large group, there are better alternatives within walking distance. This includes the Flying Pig and the Emperor (both at Hills Road), some pubs at Mills Road, the Kingston Arms (Kingston street) and even one of my favourites, the Geldart, at Ainsworth Street.
Cambridge is full of great pubs - the ones near the centre are often crowded at the weekend, so if you want somewhere quieter, head to the just-out-of centre ones.
Some recommended central pubs are: The Eagle (old with lots of character), The Mitre (old but can be a bit smokey), The Regal (big and busy) and The Hogshead (big and busy).
Dress Code: At the weekend some of the pubs have doormen, so they might stop you coming in if you look *too* scruffy. It's unlikely, though ;-)
There are literally dozens of really good pubs in Cambridge. It's a case of take your pick. My personal favourites are, for starters:
A Tap and Spile pub, so as such you can expect a great range of regularly changing beers. On a nice hot day you can take your beer outside onto the rather impromptu beer garden (otherwise known as The Bridge!!) and drink it while you watch first-time punters trying not to fall in.
Once while we were here, Stephen Hawking rolled by - we were just awestruck. I'd actually seen someone who's been on Star Trek!
Dress Code: Anything. It's just a pub!
Another great pub just next door to The Mill is The Anchor.
This is a sprawling multi-level pub with floors and mezzanine floor and a limited amount of outside tables overlooking the river. Despite it's size it gets a bit teeming with people on a busy weekend evening and has a pretty good atmosphere.
Dress Code: Anything.