All Mrs RM wanted for her nearly significant birthday was a few beers, which is just as well. She’s saving the Pitfield bottle for a suitable occasion, presumably when I’m not around to share it.
I don’t get bottled beers to be honest, but I do like 3 at 3, one of Ely‘s better small cafes close to the Cathedral.
There’s a few seats downstairs and more upstairs in what looks more off-licence than café. The basic idea is you choose a beer from the beer menu or the shelves, and you can drink it accompanied by some very good cheese or pie platters or take it home.
All the beers are East Anglian, and the range is wider than you’d find at the Beers of Europe shop I wrote about in November. Mrs RM enjoyed a wine from Ely and a Black Bar Long Hair (6.2%), ignoring the beer-after-wine rule. 3 at 3 is very friendly and a good value lunch option; the addition of a cask/polypin of Milton would be welcome.
Ely is slow to change (no Spoons yet), which is part of its charm. A new shop promised Ely gin, sadly only to take away. Thwarted, we ended lunch at Ely’s only Beer Guide pub according to the CAMRA App (not sure why the Townhouse has been lost).
The Prince Albert is the stalwart of Ely CAMRA, surviving the departure of long-standing landlords to maintain a very traditional back-street pub. It has much in common with Cambridge’s Free Press, a Greene King pub with extensive guests, high quality, and cosy rooms.
It’s our first time there in a few years, but the GK handpumps never change, and beer quality is superb. I nurse a half of the sweetish Mild (NBSS 3.5) while Mrs RM races through a Milton Sparta (NBSS 4 based on that head). I drag her away before she spots the Old Peculier pump.
The Albert is one of those pubs, a bit like the Nursery or the Armoury in Stockport, that you can take for granted but really shouldn’t.
9 thoughts on “MRS RM’s BIRTHDAY”
Agreed on the Armoury – seems a bit ordinary at first glance, but actually is a real classic of the traditional wet-led boozer. Great pity it narrowly lost out to the Magnet (yawn) as S&SM CAMRA Pub of the Year.
Have you been in the Nursery since its refurb earlier this year? My local pub, as you know. Good beer, good food, keen, committed licensee, but somehow to me doesn’t quite feel right.
Are you going to be able to make it to Hillgate tomorrow night, btw?
Yes to Hillgate. No to Nursery since refurb ( and you’ve hinted at overall feel) but it certainly used to be the sort of pub bypassed for free houses.
And yes, I share views on pubs with narrow appeal like Magnet (and micropubs) winning awards.
The Magnet does what it sets out to do extremely well, and is also run by very nice people. Although, having said, that, personally I prefer the Crown as a pub.
The issue is more that one of these “usual suspects” seems to win the local PoTM every year.
That’s well put. Last time I ended up in the Crown (night of the game force winds) I was struck by how pubby it felt, like a local rather than a beer exhibition.
3at3 looks a nice place and sounds an interesting concept. Are any of the beers kept chilled? It’s probably OK this time of year, even despite the mild weather, but I can imagine some of the bottles not being that palatable at the height of summer. As the Australian said “You wouldn’t want a warm one?”.
There speaks an award-winning off-licence proprietor ! I think they came from a storage area. Certainly not chilled, though seemed just below room temp and right for the style. May have been a fridge as wine seemed chilled.