Some people idolise brewers; with me it’s the guys and gals who get magic out of the pumps.

Our own Andrew and Helen at The Sun, Jeff at the Ypres Castle, Terri and Jethro at the Blue, and the folk at Durham’s Station House and Stockport’s Petersgate Tap.

Meet Tom the Pub, a Southern Cambridgeshire legend, and an exception to my general rule that people called Tom should be treated with caution (sorry Tom).

I’ve never had much time for the south of the county, but that changed when Tom started tipping up at GBG deserts a few years back.


He stayed just long enough at the Royal Oak in Barrington and the Plough in Shepreth to win them awards and GBG places before ending up in tiny Harlton (pop. 308) at the village owned Hare & Hounds.

Watering the pot plants but I didn’t need to use them

Its existence has felt a bit tentative over the years, Charlie Wells having little interest in a one room beer and skittles boozer (well, petanque in the garden).


Tom’s a modern publican, but the H & H is very old school unfussy.


Perhaps a dozen in post-Sunday roast, which is 4 % of the village.  Rishi’s largesse (well, yours, really) will help the lunch trade and Tom is giving it a go by opening pretty much all hours.

No 9% American Imperial Stout, yet, so you get proper beers;

Youngs is industrial Big Beer according to CAMRA

Sunday’s heat was a good test of the landlord’s craft, and the Grain and Tring were both as cool and crisp as you’d hope.  Mrs RM had a second pint, of Youngs, in order to catch up with me on the #SavingPubs front.

Note opening hours outside

A local came up and gave us a summary of his afternoon. Three pints of Side Pocket and now making inroads on the greengages“.

A crafty keg of Grain on the bar, and crafty hand wash in the Gents, but a pretty robust little local.

Dilute with Cloudwater to taste

I tried to get Mrs RM to do the walk past the thatch to the old concrete works,


How can you resist a Clunch Pit ?


The spirit was willing, but the flesh was two pints and some ready salted nuts weaker.

Caves in the clunch

But I’ll come back with James; the walk across the old pits is one of Cambridge’s hilly joys, and if Tom is keeping his pub open all hours I feel a civic duty to drink the Youngs (or Bass if, y’know, he puts it on).

17 thoughts on “TOM THE PUB RETURNS

  1. What a great welcome I had entering the Hare & Hounds in Harlton, The Beer was tops. Being a ale drinker I sampled three in front of me & all well kept
    and to my liking. Sampled the food also and can’t wait to get back in there. Very lucky village to have this all going on, well done ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


  2. Must be said, in my early drinking years, I much preferred Young’s Ordinary to the Special. Spent many happy hours in the Bridge Hotel in Greenford (lurking under the Western Avenue) in the early eighties. Sadly, now a shadow of its former self but are there any ‘relocated’ beers (BBB or not) that are a patch on the original brewery brewed ale?

    And No, Martin, don’t try to let on that Bass isn’t now merely a poor Brummy fake! ;o>

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know the Bridge well; close to the Cowgate Centre we ran in the ’90s, and of course the marvellous Hoover Building.

      I reckon it matters not a jot where Bass is brewed as long as it’s served in a Bass glass !

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Now, call me closed minded, but there is something about the combination of the words “clunch” and “pit” that makes that place uniquely difficult to promote as a popular tourist destination. 😉

    It’s not the two pints, it’s the ready salted nuts that are to blame: they’ll do you in every time!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “my general rule that people called Tom should be treated with caution” – aren’t you getting Tom mixed up with Tim ?
    Long, long ago Robinsons wouldn’t have got anywhere bringing out a strong beer named Old Tim.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Scott,
        I never thought of that but yes I have got a bottle of that left from buying several at the brewery a few years ago.


  5. Popped in tonight, on the strength of your report,
    Grain Bitter 8/10 (4 in your scoring system)
    Grain Oak 7/10 (3.5)
    Young’s Bitter 5/10 (2.5)

    Good to see Hector’s House still occupied.
    And I enjoyed reminiscing over the names on the Harlton C.C. awards

    Liked by 1 person

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