Full marks for the Sam Smiths styling

Mrs RM had put up with me trudging round with her in the electronics section at John Lewis (Robert Sayle to me), so she felt she’d earned something strong in Pint Shop. Cambridge’s craft place is the one she picks when we’re out, in the same way my sister has always ended up in Falmouth’s HAND.  Decent seating, people watching potential, strong distinctive beer.

The Pint Shop looked like a Cambridge take on the Tap or Port Street formula when it arrived in 2013.  What initially put me off was the apparent focus on food (“Meat, Bread, Beer”) and self-conscious hipster touches such as the loss of the pence on the blackboard. Reading Trip Advisor you’d still think it was a posh restaurant with fine wines.

Just don’t think about the prices and you’ll be fine

If you stick to the bar area, it can feel quite pubby, with all the restaurant noise well out of earshot. And it does attract a reasonable age range of custom in its civilised setting.

It might well be the strength, but we’ve always enjoyed the drinks there a lot. It might not compare with Small Bar or Beermoth or Euston Tap, but you do get a decent range of styles and strengths.

Mrs RM went for the strongest keg, from Moor (9.2%); I went for the Arbor on cask.  The keg was less chilled than expected, the cask was an ideal temperature and superbly smoth (NBSS 3.5). As Mrs RM said of her half, you’d pay more (no pun intended) for a lesser glass of wine of similar strength.

Moor seem able to get their excellent beers into good outlets (as in Chester) which care how they’re kept; that’s the key to reputation management as a brewery.

I can’t say the banter is classic; the notable event came from me uttering foul oaths (see below). Folk here aren’t beer geeks, but they’ve probably heard of Adnams Lighthouse.

Perversely given the name, not many pints are served either, but a decent amount of beer.  For Cambridge, beers from Weird Beard and Magic Rock are still a novelty; goodness knows what it makes of Sam Smiths.

Bank Holidays in years past would have meant people settling in for the afternoon and working through the beer list (when it was IPA and Abbot). I would have bought Mrs RM another half (bet they wouldn’t sell it in pints), but my bank was closed on Bank Holiday Monday and unable to arrange the necessary banking business.

Why nearly Top 100 ?  On every visit, I’ve banged my head on those stupid dangling lights when sitting down or passing Mrs RM her beer.  An ergonomic disaster.

21 thoughts on “(NEARLY) TOP 100 PUBS – PINT SHOP, CAMBRIDGE

  1. I’ve never knowingly been in a branch of John Lewis. Does this disqualify me from entering this pub?

    The first thing I notice is the lack of clips on the pumps. I took notice of the prices and the daft formatting thereof. Thus, if nobody hears from me by the time Hull City Association Football Club (Tigers) Limited concede at Turf Moor, please send the coroner to my flat.


    1. Yes Tom, you wouldn’t be allowed in without a John Lewis bag. You can buy them for 5p though, and fill them with gravel for optimum effect.

      Yes, “this sort of thing” (that’s a Father Ted reference) will never catch on in Kingston-Upon-Hull. Or Grimsby.


      1. Careful now.

        I’ve never bought a carrier bag and I don’t intend to start. I might have to somehow nick one. I hope I don’t get caught otherwise it will be embarrassing appearing on the front of the newspapers and explaining to the other inmates what crap crime I had committed.


  2. Is this what used to be the Cambridge Arms, my local when it was a GK tenancy run by an ex Plymouth policeman ?
    Some of these prices probably equate to what we spent in a week…..


    1. I can see why you’d ask that Malcolm. The Cambridge Arms is now a monstrosity called D’arrysCookhouse and Wine Bar (still notionally G King).

      Pint Shop was University pensions office !


  3. Thanks for that, I remember the King Street run with affection.
    From memory;
    Horse & Groom ( Whitbread )
    Rhadegund ( Tolly Cobbold )
    Champ of the Thames (GK)
    Kings Arms (Tolly)
    Cambridge Arms (GK)
    And somewhere called, I think, the Criterion.
    I may be missing one. Sometimes we started in the Hopbine for some reason.
    Happy days…..


    1. The King Street Run is supposed to have eight pubs in it. In my day King St has never had that many. So it is made up at either end by adding other pubs, such as the Hopbine. One version I know started in Trinity Bar. The Prince of Wales, which was a cellar bar somewhere off Sussex Street, was included in another version. The above list was usually the core – I can’t remember what was there before the King’s Arms. The Criterion was right the way into Market Passage (closed in 1967, I believe)

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Incidentally, the Horse and Groom has gone by the name of The King Street Run for years (there was a period when every other Cambridge pub seemed to be changing its name to a tourist themed concept) the Boat Race, the Graduate, the Cambridge Blue, the Town and Gown …

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Martin, is the Corner House still going ? List count if how many kebab a la grecque were consumed early evening after the College changed their charging system.


      1. The Corner House was a Greek Cypriot restaurant rather than a pub. It was originally on the corner of King St and Malcolm St (hence the name), and had both a first floor and cellar dining area, but when they demolished that block and built the new one, they gave them a new unit all one floor and pretty much next door to what was then the King’s Arms. It stayed open until the old lady who owned it (after her husband’s death) finally retired. Then it became a noodle bar. Don’t know what it is now.


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