Nothing is better than a huge meal of pie and chips with an excellent frosty pint every now and again. Fortunately, Cambridge is brimming with gastro pubs selling delicious cuisine and fine liquor. Pub food in Cambridge ranges from pasties to ploughman’s, roasts to rabbit pie. Does it sound mouth-watering? Here are a handful of the best gastropubs in Cambridge.
3 Pound Hill, Cambridge, CB3 0AE
The Punter, a lovely Cambridge pub with a quiet beer garden and rustic décor, is located in the back alleyways of Pound Hill. The first thing you notice when you arrive is a wonderful-looking, white-painted neighbourhood bar with an abundance of colourful hanging baskets and flowers on the exterior. The Punter, a historic coaching house/horse stables, has an assortment of quirky fittings and furnishings inside and seems a touch rough and ready, which is all part of its charm. Note that given the name, you may assume a riverbank setting, but this is more of your standard backstreet boozer.
Town and Gown
8 Market Passage, Cambridge, CB2 3PF
The Town and Gown is a cultural hub with a magnificent bar, a famous fringe theatre, and a restaurant on site. It is one of the most incredible Cambridge city centre bar/pub setups and is nestled in a side street away from the regular rush and bustle of the city. Finding the Town and Gown pub in Cambridge is as easy as taking a photo through a virtual passport photobooth nearby – no special effort is needed. Many pub visitors note that they have enjoyed the Town and Gown in Market Passage because of featuring balconies where you could drink above the bar (excellent for people watching) and the extraordinary barrel-type tables where you could dine and drink in a semi-barrel recess.
The Blue Lion
74 Main St, Hardwick, Cambridge CB23 7QU
The Cambridge News Food and Drink Awards Pub of the Year was recently awarded to The Blue Lion in Hardwick. The charming 17th-century rural bar with low-hanging beams and large soft seats serves high-end, global cuisine. The Hardwick Blue Lion strives to “offer a warm and inviting setting for a quiet drink, a hearty business lunch, or a social supper with friends, family, or co-workers.”
43 Castle St, Cambridge CB3 0AH
The Architect, owned by the same company that owns the Blue Lion in Hardwick, has long been a Cambridge local favourite. The well-known brand has lately undergone a gastro makeover, specializing in all things pie and mash. The bar is famed for its excellent fish and chips if you don’t like pies (apparently, such people exist). Because the cuisine is the main attraction, the alcohol should not be overlooked. The founders are passionate about establishing an intriguing bar, so anticipate a superb selection of craft beers, guest ales, and a fantastic gin menu.
14 Mill lane, Cambridge, CB21RX
Located right across from the Scudamore’s punting station and facing Laundress Green and the River Cam, the Mill is a quintessential Cambridge tavern, intimate and with an odd combination of old and new. The neon jukebox and craft beer bridge contrast with the ancient fireplaces and low lighting. The 19th-century Mill is a beautiful drinking location for residents and visitors alike, with plenty of board games and a 15% student discount available, and a perfect spot to explore the neighbouring meadows and Mill Pond.
The Anchor Cambridge
Silver St, Cambridge CB3 9EL
The Anchor offers numerous tables indoors (plus a small patio) immediately facing the River Cam and Mill Pond, making it possible to have a pint while watching the punting. The historic Anchor pub, which dates back to the 1860s, has an attractive setting and attracts many travellers who want to taste classic British food like fish and chips and Sunday roasts. Unfortunately, the beers on sale are all quite ordinary (Amstel, Beavertown, etc.), but with such a spectacular view, one may be excused. The Anchor is also notable for being a frequent stop for Pink Floyd before it became famous. There are various tributes to the band around the bar, including a painting below.
The Boat House
14 Chesterton Rd, Cambridge CB4 3AX
This pub boasts fantastic views of the River Cam, as you’d expect from a bar called The Boat House, with a sunny beer garden and terrace that spirals across seven stories until it approaches the river’s edge. The Boat House is a family-friendly pub with plenty of indoor seating and a cheap and cheerful pub food menu. For example, on Mondays and Saturdays, you can order two pub classics like fish and chips or bangers and mash for less than £14. With live entertainment and sports as mainstays, this is your conventional chain bar elevated by its outdoor seating and riverbank location.
16 Chesterton Rd, Cambridge CB4 3AX
This pub opened its doors in the summer of 2022 and is an immense social area and entertainment facility spread across many stories. Formerly a Wetherspoons pub, the Tivoli has been renovated into a stunning rooftop bar overlooking the River Cam (with an equally wonderful bar on the ground level when you first enter Tivoli bar Cambridge). You may also play crazy golf on the nine-hole Electric Greens or shuffleboard in the basement part dubbed Club Shuffle, which serves all kinds of street cuisine and specializes in pizzas and burgers.
Where to Go?
Obviously, there are lots of worthy gastro pubs in Cambridge; you will definitely have more than plenty of options. So if you are planning your stay in Cambridge to attend some of the festivals scheduled for 2023, make sure that visiting one of the above gastro pubs is a part of your agenda.