8th February 2023.

Despite seeming to have been in the Free Press all afternoon, it had actually only been fifteen minutes so I unexpectedly found myself with just under 10 minutes to squeeze in a post-emptive/pre-active/pointless bonus pub on the way back across Parker’s Piece towards the station.

Still time to admire the Orchard Street houses attacked by trees,

and the vet’s sign borrowed from Bremen. They never change.

Compared to Sheffield and Manchester, Cambridge’s pub scene seems very static, and the few pubs I haven’t visited for years (e.g. the Clarendon Arms) don’t open afternoon anyway.

BRAPA is currently doing Norwich’s 31 Guide entries (hopefully not ALL tonight), which seems an awful lot and makes you wonder what it takes to NOT get in the GBG in the Norfolk county town.

In Cambridge, there’s still a fair few places safe from the Guide, most of them Greene King, oddly.

I hadn’t been in the Prince Regent for more than 30 years, when it was the foreign student choice for inexplicable reasons.

A year ago, I attempted a return visit on a busy Monday evening, but was studiously ignored in favour of younger and notionally more attractive female students at the bar, eventually giving up.

Wednesday afternoon, half a dozen in, no problem getting served though I had to make an expedition to the west side of the bar to find the pumps, mysteriously still majoring on Tiny Rebel (and a Big Wave).

“Cwtch please”

“It’s finished. Sorry”

Oh well, it was meant to be IPA, wasn’t it ?

Spot the problem;

No, not the characterless dining tables or modern pop.

Yes, it’s the hideous thin glass designed by folk determined to knock your NBSS score down from 2.5 to 2, and did the job perfectly. You’d never take it back, even at £4.60 a pint, but you’d always be disappointed.

When folk say “IPA isn’t what it was“, they’re thinking of this, rather than the glorious beer across Parker’s Piece.

Across from me, a group of tourists (Russian and Irish, I thought) were surveying the superficially interesting “Beer Menu”.

Level Head Session IPA” they read out, blissful in their ignorance that this was produced next to a sugar beet factory in industrial Suffolk.

And then they reached the “Pub Classics”.

Nothing more British than fish and chips !” said one.

One thousand one hundred and twenty-eight calories though” said the other.


  1. I live equidistant to two very different pubs in the Canton area of Cardiff, a Greene King pub called the Clive and a free house called the Lansdowne, a rescued ex-Brains pub, gentrified to within an inch of its life with stripped back pine, very decent selection of drinks and nice food. And while the Lansdowne should appeal to me and my citizen-of-nowhere demographic, I want to like the more Brexity Clive and support a true local. It’s spacious and comfortable and is quite good for sport but the beer range is awful with only one handpump (HPA) that’s always off, and the keg offer is no better sadly. So I’m rather jealous of all these GK pubs that you find that also seem to offer a couple of cask options. I guess it’s down to customer demand, but I feel my would-be local is suppressing the demand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always find HPA a depressing sight in a Welsh pub, Rhys, which may be unfair as in a pub near Builth last year it was fantastic.

      And you’re right, for all their criticism Greene King pubs often have more guests than their own beers. Tiny Rebel is unusual though.


      1. Damn it, meant IPA (they serve the Smooth version, which a kind bar lady assured me is exactly the same as the cask version, which I’ve never tried…) I’d jump for joy if they served HPA!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “…the hideous thin glass designed by folk determined to knock your NBSS score down from 2.5 to 2”

    Dissatisfaction guaranteed. I’m almost tempted to ask if they have a proper glass, but instead I just record NBSS 2 and write a damning review on Pubs Galore. Where it is read by a small percentage of the audience you get on this blog, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Good spot, Martin.

        Incidentally apropos Regent Street in Cambridge, I spent some time looking for the hotel at which I stayed a few times there.

        It used to look like this:,0.1250861,3a,75y,13.98h,90.42t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1shSWE4Y0VLJ9FgWTkhra2Dg!2e0!5s20080801T000000!7i13312!8i6656

        and I couldn’t find it, because it now looks like this:,0.125072,3a,75y,13.98h,90.42t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sFnuA7DIYawujfakyVQTZpg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

        Whatever, we made the mistake of turning right instead of left coming out, so missed the Regent.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The second picture is the refurbished University Arms which is further up Regent St. I think the confusion about the Prince Regent is that many people enter via the outside terrace from Parker’s Piece, rather than the street.


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