The legal drinking age is 18 and drinking establishments (and indeed the supermarkets) are quite strict, so if you have the good fortune to look under 30 you will be asked to prove your age at some point. Don’t forget to bring along ID when going out for drinks.
Cambridge is truly teeming with public houses. You shouldn’t ever have to pay entry to a pub, unless there is some special event on (and even then, it’s very rare).
Anchor With a patio area on the river at Mill Pond, this establishment offers prime seating for watching tourists make their first attempts at punting. The cuisine isn’t bad either.
Granta Strategically placed near the Sidgwick Site, its terrace area has great views in the summer. Mediocre food.
Pickerel Great for people-watching. With open fireplaces, photos of various Cambridge societies and a heated outdoor patio area, it is a great watering hole, especially in the winter months.
Maypole Despite its location off the beaten track, the Maypole is always busy, always buzzing and always open late.
Fountain Inn One of the few pubs with a true late licence (3am), this inn is somewhat pricey. You pay for the lively atmosphere and the privilege of out-of-hours drinking. Has live DJs at the weekend, and a quiz machine all the time.
Regal Obligatory Wetherspoons, this megapub (bearing a vague resemblance to a cruise ship) has the cheapest drinks you’ll find in a commercial venue in Cambridge. The vittles are similarly cheap, and all that comes with that.
Eagle A somewhat touristy drinkery due to the supposed discovery of DNA within its confines, it boasts a nice courtyard and (despite the prices) is always busy.
Bath House Cheaper, slightly less nice version of the Eagle (no patio area, and no DNA).
The Bun Shop The 2008 temporary closure at the hands of bailiffs disap-pointed those fans of sawdust floors, for whom this rustic establishment was a standard point of departure (or terminus) on King Street runs. Re-opened with fanfare, sans sawdust.
Honourable mentions: Castle, Mitre, Mill, Baron of Beef, Slug and Lettuce.
Bateman Street/Mill Road
The Alma Recently under new management, it offers a first-rate array of real ales and appetizing fare.
Kingston Arms Excellent grub, a multitude of ales and free wireless internet. A must-visit.
Cambridge Blue Friendly atmosphere, and a smorgasbord of real ales com-plimented by a comprehensive food menu: great place for a classic pub experience.
Empress Voted Cambridge’s Pub of the Year in 2010, this cosy public house sells a prime selection of well-kept beers and ales. It also hosts a wildly popular pub quiz every Tuesday (£1 entry per person), and offers a collection of board games for the rest of the week. But it’s the large beer garden complete with sty for three living and breathing miniature pigs that secures this pub’s status as a must-visit in your time here.
Honourable mentions: Elm Tree, Cricketers, Free Press.
Sir Isaac Newton. Technically the closest pub to Wychfield… and has a pool table.
Castle Inn. Really nice pub with choice food, two floors, a two-level patio garden and a selection of ales and beers. Friendly staff, scrumptious burgers and its convenient location halfway into town make it a regular haunt for Wychfielders.
County Arms Its Victorian decor is somewhat nondescript, but this place is still a viable occasional alternative to the Castle. The only Everards real ale pub in Cambridge.
Ta Bouche Conveniently located on Market Passage with outdoor seating, it’s perfect for an early drink in the afternoon, and usually fills up as the evening progresses due to its close proximity to many of Cambridge’s fine clubs.
Vodka Revolutions Buy a Revolutions card at the start of the year and it’ll entitle to you some pretty good discounts throughout. Also hosts CUSU’s LBGT Rendezvous club night.
The Vaults Happy hour 5pm–7pm, with two cocktails for £6.
B Bar Upmarket bar opposite Ta Bouche—somewhat pricey, and therefore somewhat empty a lot of the time.
Hidden Rooms A newcomer on the Cambridge bar scene, Hidden Rooms is located in the basement of the Pitt Club and has some fantastic drink deals throughout the week. Good for having birthday drinks, as they’ll usually be able to reserve you a “VIP” area.
La Raza This underground bar hosts the GU-organised Lifted every Tuesday.
Niche A good, if pricey, after-hours drinking venue, usually open until 3am. They occasionally charge entry.
River Bar and Kitchen Tucked away behind Henry’s Bar, you’ll need to tread a wooden footbridge along the Cam opposite Magdalene and ascend some inconspicuous stairs to find this trendy restaurant-bar. The journey is worth it as the cocktail menu here is both original and palatable. They also take pride in serving the old classics—the martinis are especially worthy of consideration to the discerning patron.
Honourable mentions: All Bar One, Henry’s Bar, Bar Room Bar/The Cow, ADC Theatre Bar.
Every college has a bar, but they vary in price and quality. Notable establishments include:
St John’s Bar Ridiculously cheap—you’re supposed to be a college member (or the guest of one) to order drinks but we’ve never had trouble coming in off the street.
Emmanuel Bar This is a very studenty bar, and indeed it’s student-run—the atmosphere is cheap and cheerful.
Darwin Bar Also student-run (and therefore good value), you have to be signed in by a Darwinian to be served any drinks, but once you’ve navigated this hurdle the comfy leather sofas and old-school decor make it well worth the effort.
Clare Cellars Our next-door neighbour’s reasonably-priced and rather trendy bar. Set in the crypts below Clare Chapel and with excellent music, you won’t regret dropping in here for a few.
Trinity Hall Bar Never forget our own college bar.