I wasn’t going to write about the first pub that my friend Nathan and I visited in Cambridge last weekend, primarily as I thought that I already droned on about it before in another post. But I hadn’t so will now instead. It’s one of the largest pubs in the JD Wetherspoon estate, although it has since been surpassed with some even more substantial venues, not least the Royal Victoria Pavilion in Ramsgate. It’s also the only outlet that the chain have in the city since their other one, the Tivoli, burnt down in 2015 and they decided not to re-open it.
We popped in for a quick bargain breakfast and I can’t really complain about the value. All to brand standard and to my expectations, as well as being brought out quickly. I’d quite like them to bring the half a tomato back, but I won’t lose any sleep over its disappearance.
We had a couple of half pints as lunch-time approached, perfectly well kept and very keenly priced. They were the Fat Turkey from J Buckley Brewing in Wales and Citramas IPA from Hanlons Brewery in Devon, nothing exceptional, but something different as I don’t think I’ve had anything from those breweries before.
These are photos I took a few years ago which show the size of the venue, which has the one big area that was once the main screen of the Regal Cinema from which the pub takes its name. There’s another area down a few steps, an outdoor terrace and there are also some quieter areas upstairs. The pub doesn’t take up the entirety of the building, as they share it with Picturehouse Cinemas who have some screens upstairs.
The pub closed for four days in September 2021 for a refurbishment, but I’m not sure what they did during that relatively short time, but perhaps it was a replacement of the carpet or similar. A refurbishment a few years ago did put in a number of extra power points which was quite useful.
Like most JD Wetherspoon outlets, the reviews are broadly positive with a heap of angry people complaining that their bacon was cold or similar. Usual small number of people who think it’s fine to insult bar staff, namely this:
“Ordered our meal via the app. It turned up with no drinks. The waiter told us that drinks hadn’t been on the order and he was too busy to deal with it. He advised us to go to the bar and speak to them and they can add it to the the order. Spoke to bar person who was as thick as a brick who advised me that I hadn’t used the app correctly for the alcoholic drink and was told me that I entitled to a soft drink to which she didn’t even offer to get it. I know it is a Wetherspoons and not the savoy but it has Really poor service. Won’t be back”
In short, a customer has just not selected a drink on the app and they go to the bar and call the staff member “as thick as a brick”. Nice….
The environment in the pub is perhaps a little sterile and anonymous, but it’s a huge venue and it’s not going to be particularly easy to offer an attentive and engaging service to everyone. Anyway, for a quick and reliable breakfast, I’m entirely happy with the Regal as it was clean, the staff were friendly and the prices were very agreeable.