Mrs RM put the Christmas tree up on 30 November.  You can imagine how thrilled I am about that, but I put the figures into my “Quiet Life Model” and it told me to live with it. At least she didn’t ask me to help. I haven’t bought a present for 25 years, and that was a power drill Mrs RM needed for some shelving.

The tat at least reminded me I needed to use up my Spoons vouchers by 30 November.  Christmas, after all, is basically a month when you can’t get 50p off a pint of adequate cask ale from our favourite pub chain. You’re not a real CAMRA member unless you use them all up, as it proves you’re supporting proper pubs.


So lunch at the Regal it was. Rack of ribs for James, halloumi for me.  If I went for Chicken Club as well I wouldn’t have been able to use my last voucher on the Adnams Mosaic (NBSS 3). About ten real ales on, the widest selection I’ve seen for a while here, and not all with reindeer and sleigh bells in the title either.

Not that anyone, from professional drinkers on the high stools to the OAP diners who dominate this cavernous hellhole*, seemed that interested in the cask.

Nice hat , Sir

Although it’s never been in the Beer Guide, there have been spells since it opened when beer quality and range were as good as anywhere in town.  The beer festivals were a real event, with wooden barrels of German beer a highlight.

Over the last decade, until it burnt down, the 2nd Spoons in student-land outperformed the Regal on beer quality, staff and price.  If not my favourite Cambridge pub, the Tivoli was the one we used the most.

But the Regal was the busiest I’ve seen it for a while, meaning we had to wait a good 17 minutes for our food. They’re doing something right.

As is the owner of the pub a few feet away that served the Pheasant’s Rise before our film at the Arts Picturehouse. Mrs RM was miffed the Punk IPA was off, but this was a malty gem (NBSS 3.5).  Perhaps even good enough to get Arts Picturehouse heir first Beer Guide entry.

Jam Jar alert

*The building is the problem with the Regal, a dark alleyway of a pub, and spectacularly naff when the music starts on Saturday nights. The Tivoli was much airier and lighter.


  1. I thought it was another Wetherspoons that was the biggest in the UK. The one by Piccadilly station in Mancester. With all the tramps.


  2. I think you mean the one on Deansgate. The big house one in Exeter is massive as well, must qualify as Britain’s biggest beer garden? Apparently the forthcoming spoons in Ramsgate could take the prize once it’s open.


    1. Yeah, the Deansgate Spoons, The Moon Under Water, is held by sources written and on t’interweb to be the largest pub in Britain. 8,800 square feet with a capacity of 1,700.


  3. Regal or Regent? Anyway, that picture of all the posing tables sums up much of what I dislike about Spoons.

    I gave all my vouchers to Simon Everitt, who will make better use of them than me, but I thought the prohibition on using them during December had now been dropped.

    It’s the one on Deansgate that was claimed to be the biggest pub in Britain when it opened. The toilets are so far away that, by the time you’ve been and got back, you want to go again.


    1. Regal. One day all pub will be called The Pub (And Dining) and life ill be simpler. Giving your Spoons voucher to a fellow real pub user is, of course, commendable Mudge. Spoons dropped the December prohibition a year or two ago but it’s back now.


  4. The Velvet Coaster in Blackpool now claims to be the largest pub in Britain at 9,150 square feet. It opened in Spring 2015 – prior to that the Moon Under Water in Manchester (8,800 square feet) was generally regarded as the biggest and was even recognised as such by the Guinness Book of Records.


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