AKA. ALL GOOD THINGS COME TO AN END. EVEN IN SPOONS.
You’re getting reports on ALL the pubs post 4 July. Even the dull Spoons.
All things have their purpose; even the dull Spoons in Cambridge which James and I visited on Friday to see how the local “hospitality” sector was doing.
The hospitality sector was doing OK, to be fair. Those odd little cafes facing Kings College called Fitzbillies and Copper Kettle and Cambridge Satchel Co. at least had visitors, domestic tourists replacing the Japanese and Chinese we know and love. The outdoor market, long an embarrassment to the city, now provides a culinary feast.
It was the shops that were struggling, the modernised downmarket Grafton empty and the modernised posh Grand Arcade bereft, bar a sad queue for John Lewis.
The Regal‘s trade on Friday lunchtime would be an acid test of the public’s confidence in a return to pubs with infections, if not deaths, still running in the hundreds.
We headed upstairs, somewhere we rarely go but a great place to be nosey.
Our table was a good 3 metres away from an internet using lady on her 3rd bottle of Tyskie and allowed us to admire some impressive rejuvenation of one of Timbo’s scuzziest* if largest outlets.
I ordered James a fudge cake on the App then wandered down with my 50p voucher for a beer. You can’t use CAMRA vouchers on the App, something which Discourse is urging CAMRA top brass (castle) to fix.
I got THIS close to the bar.
“Sorry, Sir. No queueing at the bar. You need to queue over there for table service”.
By the time I’d got to the head of that queue I’d forgotten the beers so just said IPA. Least I remembered my voucher. £1.60 a pint is plenty, as Sir Humphrey used to know.
Two minutes later, back upstairs, the nice lady told me the IPA was off. I remembered they had Wolf; they always have Wolf.
It looked OK.
I shared with James my joy at getting a replacement beer that cost 49p more than the original. He looked traumatised.
My joy turned to horror as the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing revealed itself as an NBSS 1.5 in NBSS 3 clothing.
Yes, it’s Saturday’s beer for Friday’s cask kids. No, I wasn’t going on the App to take it back. Or looking for a plant pot option.
On the way out, James noted only one brave couple of OAPs where normally there’d be dozens on Fish & Chip Friday. The little snug to your right as you enter, “Gentlefolk corner”, was deserted.
Perhaps the VAT cut and Rishi’s 50% will tempt them back. The cask won’t.
*Not a compliment