I would not recommend it as a regular haunt. It may have character and some very tasty food, but is far too expensive for students and instead functions as a massive tourist trap, riding the wave of Crick and Watson all the way to the bank. However, if you can get on a free walking tour and learn the history of it beyond the discovery of DNA, the stories of USAAF servicemen are quite entertaining. Just don’t get your wallet out here!
The Pickerel Inn
Cheap and close to College, this pub is often filled with students from nearby colleges and has a nice outdoor seating area. This makes it a great place to catch up with people in town for a couple of pints, and the price of beers and ciders make it an affordable option. However, with the price of a G&T pushing £6, this is not the place to go gin tasting! The food options are in all honesty not great, but the atmosphere ensures that it is a great drinking pub.
Beautiful riverside views and a more sophisticated feel make this pub a fairly inconsiderate option to add to a pub crawl. However, it is a lovely place to meet people, relax and enjoy the view of the river and the occasional punt on a lazy afternoon. It also has some tasty, if slightly expensive, sharing plates that make it even better suited to a long afternoon drinking session with mates. Prices are okay, but nothing to write home about. You’re certainly paying in part for the views, which are worth it!
The first pub on most people’s route into town, its position right next to the Magdalene bridge makes it a popular choice for many Churchill students. It is cosy, if quite cramped inside. Realistically, outside seating is the only option for most groups. The beer garden is colder than at the Pickerel Inn, largely due to the lack of outdoor heaters (better for the environment!), so bring a coat. With beers and ciders for under £5, this pub is an affordable and pleasant watering hole.
This is a pub with a smart feel and a wide range of gins, beers and other drinks, so you’re sure to find something to suit your taste. It also has a £6.50 lunchtime meal deal and 25% off your entire bill if you buy a main meal, making it a good first stop into town. The very friendly staff will help you navigate the menu, which includes a customisable fish and chips option, and make you comfortable enough to spend a long evening here. Despite the gastropub vibe, it is pleasantly cheap, with beers under £4 and cider for less than a fiver.
The Castle Inn
A delightful little gem, with a proper village pub feel thanks to the darker wood aesthetic. The food is as well priced as the drinks, so the pub has been used by many sports societies for an end of season dinner. Don’t expect fancy table service, but do expect a homely feel, cheap and good quality food and drink, and bumping into more students than at any other pub on Castle Street because of this. A thoroughly recommended choice, along with the Architect, as one of the best all-round pubs in Cambridge.
The Isaac Newton
If you can sneak through Medwards, this is the closest pub to Churchill. It has a somewhat corporate and slightly sterile feel to it, but a well-stocked bar ensures you are unlikely to run out of options. It’s typically less frequented by students (as are most of the pubs on Castle Street), so it isn’t the sort of place where you’d bump into friends. Nevertheless, it is a pleasant place to spend an evening. Beers and G&Ts for £4 also mean that it won’t hit your wallet too hard, so you can enjoy an evening without hurting your student loan.
Wetherspoons (The Regal)
As a local pub, this is rubbish. However, as a place to watch sport, catch up with mates over a cheap drink, and as a final destination on nights out, this is probably as good as Cambridge gets. If you’ve been to a Spoons before then you know what to expect: cheap food, cheap booze, and a sticky feel to the tables and chairs. It’s a bit far from Churchill, but it is a social hub for students, a position likely to increase as long as clubs remain closed and Cindies and Life are swapped for Dangerspoons.
A quirky pub, slightly tucked away near Jesus Green and known mostly for being a regular haunt of John’s students. Large wine, gin and whiskey menus are keeping with its more eccentric character, with prices to match. However, it can be a good place to end a Sunday night, as it closes at 3AM. Otherwise, it is probably a bit expensive for the average student.
The Cambridge Brew House
A great hidden gem that is off most students’ radar. Tucked away behind Sidney Sussex, this is a large and spacious pub with a great assortment of beers and some top-notch food options. The welcoming interior is complemented by a welcoming selection of affordable drinks and food. Certainly, a place that you’ll be glad you went out of your way to experience, with the bonus of being a great place to come and watch sports.
If you are new to Cambridge (or just want an excuse to visit some pubs), here is a very fun pub crawl to do:
1 – The Isaac Newton
2 – The Architect
3 – The Castle Inn
4 – The Pickerel Inn
5 – The Cambridge Brewhouse
6 – The Regal (if you can get there…)