The Regal, Cambridge

The Regal in Cambridge city centre is a surprising one. It’s part of the J.D.Wetherspoon chain, and a pub that you tend to avoid at the weekends – there are bouncers on the door and lots of rowdy behaviour! However, during the day this pub is really pleasant – and most importantly, the ales are great and the cheapest in town at about £2.16 a pint!

The Regal used to be the old Regal cinema, built in 1937, which closed and reopened as an ABC cinema, an MGM, an Arts Cinema, and eventually, the Arts Picturehouse. A fact that I love about the place is that in 1963 The Beatles played on its stage twice! Nowadays, there still is a cinema upstairs, but in the 1990s the downstairs area (originally the stalls in the cinema) was converted into one of the largest pubs in the UK. It really is massive, spread over a couple of floors including terrace areas on both floors, and is nicely decorated in an art-deco style. There are 2 bars, one on each floor, and each floor sometimes has different ales on tap, so check them both out. There are 12 real ale pumps at the downstairs bar (two sets of 6) and 6 upstairs – the regular ales such as Theakstons Best Bitter and Old Peculiar are on all sets.

The Regal interior

The Regal, upstairs

On my last visit I sampled Cotleigh Blue Jay (4.2%) from Somerset, very hoppy and moreish. Caskade from Oldershaw Brewery in Grantham (also 4.2%) was thirst-quenching and a beautiful golden colour (I also had this later in my old favourite, the Cambridge Blue). I also tried Three Sisters from Atlas Brewery in Scotland (4.2%) which is ruby red and fruity, not the sort of ale I usually go for but pleasant nonetheless. We just missed out on Thwaites Wainwright Ale (4.1%) – but managed to find it later in the Mitre on Bridge Street which now serves several real ales; it had a lovely light and refreshing flavour, although served slightly warmer than I like. But I was very excited to find Betty Stogs from Skinners in Cornwall (4%) on tap in The Regal the day after I came back from my holiday in Cornwall – but the day after it had all gone; it’s just too popular!

The Regal, downstairs

The Regal, downstairs

Published in: on September 13, 2008 at 12:37 pm  Comments (2)  
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