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. 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.
QUIZ TIME – IS THIS THE UK’s BIGGEST PUB ?
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.
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 Cineworld their first Beer Guide entry.
*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.