Cambridge got one of it’s closed pubs back today as the Royal Standard on Mill Road was reopened, and a fine thing it looks too. The Standard was never one of the city’s great pubs when in Pubmaster hands, but in an area of East Cambridge that had lost several locals in recent times (Duke of Argyll, Jubilee), it’s return is a significant event. Much is written in CAMRA publications about the Mill Road real ale pubs, but Romsey over the bridge remains very under-pubbed.
In the last couple of years Cambridge has seen what looks like continual pub redevelopment, with new pubs (Pint Shop), brewery taps (Calverleys), rebuilds (Queen Edith) and substantial renewal (Haymakers, Brew House). Many of these welcome changes, however, are very central (Edith excepted), and the revival of the Royal Standard brings back a real pub to a sizeable population.
The Standard is another venture from Terri and Jethro, who have already given Cambridge the rebirth of the Carlton, the Blue Moon and the Three Horseshoes in their new guises, as well as maintaining standards at the Cambridge Blue.
Visiting a new or rebuilt pub on it’s first day is always a risk (the Piccadilly Tap looked a mess early on), but I enjoyed both the look and pubby atmosphere of the new Standard. The six cask beers were from local breweries like Son of Sid and Nene Valley, with continental beers dominating the keg fonts and bottles. The Son of Sid was a competitive £3.20 a pint, and was easily Beer Guide standard (NBSS 3.5). The Belgian bottles list was good, but I wondered who would pay £5 + a bottle, even to accompany a Belgium-inspired menu based on mussels and steaks. Mrs RM may be the better judge of that.
The pub is open-plan, though without any distinction between drinkers and diners. Maintaining a good mix of custom will obviously be key to long-term success here. A few mature drinkers seemed to have worked through their way through the range and enjoyed them all. If I have any concern it’s that a pub can support 6 handpumps as well as the keg and other lines, in a small city with well established specialist beer houses, but I’d expect continued high quality beer (and food) here.