“Just the place to moor your puntful of glittering people and nip up for a quick Pimms what ho! Very drinkable beer nonetheless” opined a student guide in the 1970s. Back then it was a “formica and plastic wood job, definitely bijou” with a small public bar and a slightly more comfortable smoke room with a small corner bar (I’m guessing one of those bars may have been where the present toilets are on the left as you enter via the main steps, as at that time the pub still had “primitive” outside toilets).
It probably has the best views of any Cambridge pub, overlooking Sheep’s Green and the more picturesque of the mill ponds, facing the former mill building (now Millworks restaurant) and the former Jolly Millers pub (latterly an Indian restaurant, still closed after recent fire damage). Although the beer range is GK and guests, they’re well-kept and on a previous occasion ales included TT Landlord and a surprisingly good “limited edition”(!) GK beer called Starry Night, the flashing pump clip pre-empting the much-anticipated appearance of Rocking Rudolph. Anyway, there’s always the Pilsner Urquell. It’s a pub I enjoy visiting and generally find a seat even when nearby riverside pubs are packed out – for me, perhaps one of the most underrated pubs in the city.
The present pub is much altered, opened out into a single bar, with the extension perhaps dating from 1975 including a bar cantilevered out over the mill pond. The outdoor terrace at the rear is the site of the former brewery and is a very pleasant place for a drink. In 1991 it had a “spanking new interior, in traditional style”. Now there are plans for another refurbishment, with improvements to the outdoor area including a new free standing awning to replace the existing jumbrellas, a lick of paint and plenty of new signage, thankfully retaining a pictorial inn sign.
A mid-nineteenth century inn with the adjoining Granta Brewery opening in 1865, since demolished. By 1890 one Herbert Tebbutt and a business partner had taken over the brewery, and in 1897 he dissolved that partnership and formed a new one with H.B. Bailey, transferring the business to the newly acquired Panton Brewery on Panton Street (see Panton Arms). In 1925 the Panton Brewery and its 48 public houses were bought by Greene King and Son, giving them a foothold in Cambridge, and the rest is history.
R.J. Flood (1987), Cambridge Breweries