Working through my never ending task of visiting as many pubs in the Good Beer Guide as possible, this is a Cambridge pub that I haven’t been to before. As I’m an idiot I couldn’t work out how to get in, but a customer did make it obvious and commented that this happened frequently. The external chalk boards were mostly rubbed out and it wasn’t entirely clear that the pub was open at first.
There were four real ales on, without nothing particularly interesting or unique, and I went for the Mad Wolf from Wolf Brewery. It didn’t seem entirely well kept, but it was just on the right side of not being vinegary to persist with it without taking it back to the bar and there wasn’t anything else particularly interesting on anyway. However, this is a Greene King pub, so I wasn’t expecting to be surprised or delighted with the beer. I note on their web-site that they claim “we pride ourselves on having the best ales in Cambridge” and then list Abbot and Greene King IPA below that. Perhaps my expectations were too high having just come from Thirsty, a formidable bar in the city which offers beers of an exceptional quality.
The pub was quiet, but it is an inviting atmosphere, there were friendly customers and plenty of heritage evident in its design. It was also clean and well presented, so the environment was sufficiently comfortable. The staff member was also engaging and polite, but it did feel like a pub for locals rather than aimed at tourists. They seem to have deliberately kept it old fashioned in terms of the decor and that seems very sensible, it’s got an authentic feel to it and that positively to the whole arrangement.
I initially thought that it was positive they had events taking place, until I realised that they’re in a different pub. It felt an odd marketing strategy, but I assume it’s clear to the regulars. They do have other events, such as showing University Challenge which I can imagine leads to a quite fun atmosphere in the venue. They also do free cheese and crackers on a Sunday, that’s something that feels really community led.
I’m sure that this offers a reliable option for the community and it’s obviously of a decent enough standard to be listed in the Good Beer Guide, so I might have just got unlucky with the beer. The beer wasn’t for me though interesting enough in range or quality, both combining to be a disappointing visit. Given the heritage of the building and the potential here, it just feels a shame that it’s part of the Greene King pub empire.