The one downside of meeting old work colleagues (apart from them blaming you for the collapse of the NHS) is that they always want to meet in dining pubs. Not that there’s many dumpy old men’s pubs left in Cambridge for a pint and scratchings anyway.
The closest boozer to work used to be the Unicorn in Cherry Hinton, one of three casualties in the last decade (wonder why) and now emerging from an ill-advised spell selling craft “caps” and burgers to focus on the new drug.
Cherry Hinton is far from the picturesque Cambridge village you might imagine, a place of light industry, disused chalk pits,
and Chinese takeaways. There’s more betting shops than pubs nowadays. Even the famed Folk Festival has managed to avoid becoming a mini Latitude.
The sole real pub left in a village of 9,000 is the Red Lion, the only Beer Guide entry in my drinking lifetime and still a decent advert for Greene King community locals. It served proper Thai food a decade ago, but that Cambridge fad has largely passed (with one exception). You can tell the customer base by the transport arrayed outside the entrance.
Once upon a time the Robin Hood was a proper pub too, with plenty of discrete drinking areas for discrete conversations. I had a job interview here over a couple of pints, I danced on the table to the London Boys* in ’89, it was a almost a community melting pot. Albeit one with a decent local food trade and a play area.
Now it’s an Eating Inn, with greeters and, as WhatPub describes, “an entirely anonymous décor as befits a chain organisation”. I do like it when WhatPub speaks its mind.
Why do all pubs have exactly the same menu ? You know the answer. Fish and chips for £7 were competently dull, the Abbot similar.
But you won’t believe what beer they had on. On the 23rd November. No wonder it’s a shaky photo.
*I’ve checked, this admission is covered by the Statute of Limitation.