Another pub I haven’t been in for a while, and one I’m not expecting much from, but it turns out to have an okay-for-Greene-King beer range, and is pleasant enough for a pint – especially as it’s here I track down a beer I’ve been hoping to come across again since finding out it was on the GK guest beer list – Sharp’s Sea Fury, brewed to the same recipe as Sharp’s Special but rebranded. Very nice it is.
Also on the bar are Exmoor Dark and Moorhouse’s Premier Bitter, and on keg I’m surprised to see Camden Hells alongside Punk IPA, and the usual suspects like Peroni, Hop House 13 and East Coast IPA. It’s busy at 6pm with plenty of food being ordered. What used to be a three bar pub comprising of a public bar, a lounge, and a smoke room, has now been opened out and extended, although there are raised railed areas either side of the front entrance. There’s a low beamed ceiling throughout the older part of the building, with floorboards and tiles around the L-shaped bar. The piped music (I recognise Gabrielle Aplin but have to Shazam the likes of Jessie Ware etc) is partly drowned out by the struggling aircon unit I’m sat near. A conservatory at the rear leads to an outdoor seating area that you could say “backs onto Parkers Piece”, but more realistically just offers a narrow view of the traffic along Gonville Place.
The pub and the street are apparently named after the visit to Cambridge in 1815 of George IV, then Prince Regent, although he was only passing through, didn’t even come near this area, and is not known to have returned. Despite the tenuous link, there was also a George IV pub on East Road and a George Street named after him, neither of which exist now. It’s surprising the name endured for this pub, considering how unpopular he was as a king. Anyway, until about three years ago the pub sign used to show a colourful portrait of said prince, but this has been replaced by the bland design Green King have been rolling out across the city, just a green board with what looks from a distance like a squiggle, but on closer inspection is the truncated signature of George IV. Why that was considered an improvement I’ve no idea.
Gray, R. (2000) Cambridge Street Names, Cambridge University Press