Being retired means I can do my duty to Greene King gastro pubs by drinking their IPA at 11.30am on a Wednesday. Yes, we do have pubs, such as the Old Spring , that open that early in the day. And stay open so folk can run their businesses using free internet.
So a brisk walk past the rowing clubs,
and down the expensive terraces of Cam-side Chesterton,
to one of our most unheralded boozers (I use the term ironically).
I started my NHS “career” a few hundred yards away in Union Lane, and even 30 years ago, before Craft, the Old Spring was gastro. It was the first place I saw “Taramasalata” on a menu; that’s how posh it was.
In the days when completion of the accounts meant working weekends through to July, we’d often spend Sunday lunchtime agreeing reclassification of the spend in the “Chairman’s fund”, or chasing folk in Waveney (where different time zones apply).
I suspect that sort of financial manoeuvring still goes on in here, though over flat whites rather than IPA and Abbot. I was (just) beaten to the seat by the fire by two suits who proceeded to talk SCART leads for 20 minutes over expensive coffee.
The other customers, braving half a coke, were here early for their noon lunch appointment with the Cambridge pashmina society. They couldn’t decide whether to make a decision about their dining choice, or just dither when the rest of them turned up.
I’ll say this, they at least know how to indicate the price of things here.
Some cosy seating and the sort of scatter cushions that Mudgie loves so much.
When Pints and Pubs visited year ago, his review had a 3 word summary;
“SIX POUND PUNK“
The Brew Dog on tap is, of course, worth every penny, as it’s genuine craft. But the recent reintroduction of Punk into Spoons rather highlights the premium.
Until the CAMRA Revitalisation proposals get passed next month, I am of course allowed to pick the cask.
Please don’t tell me I should have had Strongarm/ Olde Trip/”House” beer; I knew the IPA would be the cheapest pint. It was four quid.
It was also pretty good; cool, foamy and smooth. An easy NBSS 3+, and a shoe-in for the Beer guide anywhere in Scotland.
Apart from the crackle of the fire and the SCART talk, the only noise was pleasant; a soundtrack of Carole King (amazingly, NOT Tapestry).
It’ll be another 20 years before I go back, but this is more proof that in Cambridge you don’t play the Cask Ale Lottery. You just need to win the Lottery to afford to drink there.