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,

Flag at half-mast foe Prof Hawking

and down the expensive terraces of Cam-side Chesterton,


to one of our most unheralded boozers (I use the term ironically).

Old Spring

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.

I wanted that seat !

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.

Proper pricing

Some cosy seating and the sort of scatter cushions that Mudgie loves so much.

Proper bench seating

When Pints and Pubs visited year ago, his review had a 3 word summary;


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.

“Real Ale” – until next month, anyway

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.






17 thoughts on “SPRINGING INTO 11.30am IPA ACTION

  1. “open that early in the day. And stay open so folk can run their businesses using free internet”

    I thought that was what Spoons were for?

    And 7 quid for a plate of veg soup isn’t my idea of a proper price. Perhaps for a cauldron of it. Or is it craft soup?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I doubt it but I did heard a rumour that it had something to do with pubco lessees who couldn’t match Tim’s prices. The Beacon always seems to get more business that the ‘Spoons but nobody would even think of doing anything against that gem.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t realize there was anything other than “Tapestry”. I admit to being curious what took you into the pub? I am assuming you had ticked it previously.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. She wrote 118 (one hundred and eighteen Top 100 Billboard hits), had 7 Gold albums, and wrote “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”. I suspect they were playing the “Music” album.

        Say, did Dylan do anything after “Blonde on Blonde” ?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “I wanted that seat !”

    You mentioned two suits; but I see three chairs. 🙂

    “Proper pricing”

    I think your definition of “proper” and mind differ somewhat. 😉

    “It was four quid.”

    I’m with you there. Thank goodness most places over here don’t charge by the ABV.

    “You just need to win the Lottery to afford to drink there.”

    Yes but, even then, would it be worth it? I sense you’d still have people eyeing you with “with offensive upper-middle-class eyes.” 🙂


    PS – “Flag at half-mast foe Prof Hawking”

    Just because Prof Hawking couldn’t row, doesn’t mean he was a foe of it. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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