Increasingly I’m getting away on Sunday nights, when the A14 is passable and hotels are half the Friday rates, but you can still expect 1 in 3 of the new GBG entries to be open.

So that means I’m spending more Saturdays close to Cambridge, tidying up blogs and cupboards.  Feel my pain.

Last Saturday I arranged to meet top pub man Leon for a quick pint at the Haymakers before Tranmere’s thrilling draw with Cambridge United. It’s important that visitors to the city see the gritty bits of Cambridge as well as the chain restaurants in the centre.

The walk from the new Cambridge North station to the Haymakers is one of the less heralded urban walks.


And street art along the guided bus route is at the primitive stage.


Problem was, I had nearly an hour to kill before I met Leon, so I drifted towards one of the real Cambridge oddities.

Almost famous

I wrote about the Golden Hind, one of the famed Tolly Follies when it was re-opened three years ago.  Oddly, it hasn’t graced the Beer guide since then, despite my rave review of the Broadside. Still looks lovely, though food trade was considerably lower than I remember in what was always a basic local before the refurb.

Like a cathedral of fake craft

Anyone who’s been in a modernised Greene King diner in the last year will recognise the line-up, plus or minus a Colchester or Buntingford beer.

Too many…

I nearly turned on my heels and walked out, being a beer snob and all.

Oh, not you.

Dreadful pump clip (changed again ?)

Well. would you resist ? Perhaps not the ideal lunchtime pint, unless you’re BRAPA or Mrs RM, but I knew you’d want to know if it was any good.

Northern head

Well, if there’s a more reliable pint, even when first out the taps in a lager pub, I’ve yet to come across it.  Not quite Staggs standard, but a chewy NBSS 3.5.

Decent lacings coming up

I joined the rabid crowds watching the Brighton v Derby Cup tie.  Since the volume was turned down on the telly and the R’n’B turned up, it was a painful experience.  All I can tell you is that Bogle miscontrolled the ball, because the lad opposite shouted that out.

Next to me a sockless Old Boy was tucking into his big breakfast, oblivious to Bogle.

Table service
Tim not shaking in his boots at that pricing

He asked the barmaid who took his plate for another pint of Peroni, and had the £5.05 ready for her when she brought it.  And I thought table service was dead.

An outwardly impressive but soulless chain pub, partly redeemed by some decent beer.

But was that pint of 6% heaven a folly ? Oh no.






26 thoughts on “A TOLLY FOLLY

  1. Northern heads, indeed.

    “I’ll have half a litre of best, please”

    “We don’t sell half litres”

    “I think you’ll find that you do”

    Always goes down well in Yorkshire.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Or
      “Could you put a double scotch in there please”
      “Yes Sir”
      “Well fill it up with beer instead then”.

      Or “I see the vicar’s in tonight”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course, I’d rather have 80% of a pint in a Sam Smiths pub for £2 than 99% of a pint in a Fullers pub for £4.70. I guess that, and my disinterest in beer festivals and preserving uneconomic pubs, are why I tale no interest in CAMRA.


      1. I have seen the Reverse Top Up before now, where what I consider a perfect pint is taken back, and a sullen request made for a “proper head” to be put on it, resulting in quite some waste of beer.

        But, y’know…

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I know I called you Russ by mistake yesterday but have I uncovered your secret?

        Anyway, keep em coming.

        BRAPA did one of those Periscope live blogs from Dewsbury a couple of years back. Drunkenly hilarious.


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