I would recommend the Eagle rather as a place of interest than a pub. Of course, a drink in the RAF bar and a toast to Crick and Watson, the scientists who met here to discuss their progresses in their DNA research. A commemorative plaque to Crick and Watson, who discovered the secret of the human DNA in 1953, is located in one of the bars. The RAF bar has signatures from WWII pilots on its ceiling while other military pilots often leave some kind of token (like a sticker of their aircraft type or squadron) at the bar. The building still belongs to neighbouring Corpus Christi College which also paid for the last refurbishment. The pub was opened in 1667 as “Eagle and Child”, but the child got lost somewhere along the way between the Glorious Revolution and Maggie Thatcher's election as Prime Minister.
This all means, however, that this is probably the most touristy pub in Cambridge. Instead of local students you will find tourists from all over the world and the food prices are a little higher (1-2 GBP) than in comparable pubs in Cambridge. Unfortunately, when the pub becomes quite full, you will get the advice that it could take up to one hour until your food is ready. Reservations for larger groups are highly recommended. Please don't get me wrong, the Eagle is a nice place. But if you just want to have a nice evening without the special environment, there are better pubs in Cambridge. One alternative is the neighbouring “Bath House”, a Greene King pub with traditional interior.
I was there twice in 2011, in January on my own and as always it was very busy and good. Then again in July, this time with several others, including a baby. Babies are allowed in the Eagle. ( Thank goodness for the no-smoking law). We were there for an early lunch and got a large table. The baby had his first chips with ketchup and loved them., especially the ketchup.
Again, the Eagle was packed! We went outside and got the last three chairs at a smokers' table. Fish and Chips again, as good as before and just as filling. We had a lager or two, but then it got too cold and we decided to give the table back to the smokers.
I still cannot understand why so many people think this is a tourist trap. Or maybe I'm just a tourist who likes it.
During our stay in 2007 we went to the Eagle a few times. This is one of the oldest
pubs in Cambridge and it is said to be haunted by several ghosts,but I must admit I didn't see or feel anything strange.
There is a bar in which members of the RAF have signed their names during WWII and sometimes a RAF soldier is seen sitting there and just fading away when people try to talk to him. I saw the bar, but everybody sitting there looked perfectly solid to me.
There is also a room upstairs in which the window is always open. Apparently there was a bad fire once, and a boy was killed because he wasn't able to open the window. So now his ghost makes sure that this window is never shut.
I saw the open window, but again, nothing (nobody) else.
However, even without ghosts, this pub was a special place. All of a sudden, the weather had become really hot and their cool lager was more than welcome.
I've heard people say it's an overpriced place,but I don't think so.
Of course it's more expensive than a fast-
food place, but you get good value for your money.
Update August 2008:
I like the Eagle. It's a very busy place, but they serve good food and are friendly. This time I had the salmon fish cakes with chips, really good. I may have got them a £ or two cheaper somewhere else, but as long as the quality of the food stays good I wouldn't call it a tourist trap.
Still no ghost, however.
There is also a more modern connotation to the Eagle, in 1953 Crick and
Watson announced in this pub that they had found the DNA .
Favorite Dish: There is also a good menu with British food from allover the UK. We had fish and chips,
and Welsh lamb, both was very good. Very large helpings, too, almost too much.
This is the famous pub where Watson and Crick discovered DNA. To be quite honest, it's pricey (well all of Cambridge is sort of pricey) and quite overrated. It's just like your normal cosy pub with added science kudos. Don't let this pub be the only one you visit- there are lots of good/better ones out there!
This place has been open for almost 400 years, so it must be good ! the pub is divided into rooms, some of which are no smoking, there are two bars and the food is basic pub grub, but the quality is excellent and the portions are large, giving excellent value for money, a meal costs £5.95 and there is a varied menu including vegitarian options
the Eagle has a very cosy feel during the day due to the room sizes but could probably feel rather claustrophobic when very busy in the evening, at the rear look out for the glass panels on the walls, these are to protect original wall paintings
Favorite Dish: we had steak and ale pie which was delicious, with it there was a choice of chipped, boiled or jacket potatoes and peas or salad
The food was good. No doubt about that. But the service was awful. We were a group of 17 students on a day-trip to Cambridge from London, and I phoned a day in advance to book a table. The manager told me they don't do table bookings, but if we'd pop in around lunchtime, we could pre-order the food and she'd book us a table. When we arrived at lunchtime next day, they had no clue what I was talking about, but agreed on our pre-ordering the food. But when we arrived that evening, they had lost our order list, had no idea we were coming, though miraculously had saved us a table, 30 minutes after the agreed time. We had to re-order the food, which then had to be prepared, and consumed, and we had to catch a bus at 8PM. All in all very stressful, and the staff actually advised us not to eat at the pub, especially as a group, as it never worked out, ever.
Favorite Dish: I had 'todays special', which was great, and some others had the succulent half chicken, which varied considerably in size on the different plates (think truly half chicken to only a leg). No complaints about the food.
Ambience is good. Afterall, this is the place Watson and Crick went to celebrate their discovery of the structure of the DNA
Favorite Dish: Fish and chips---that was the only thing available to eat when we went!