A pub that in the 1970s had “numerous diversions, including an electronic tennis machine”, and in the 90s “the Twin Electric Quiz Game”, now has “free to play consoles and games, 3 stations permanently set up to play on over 35 consoles and thousands of games including Megadrive, N64, NES” etc. Once an electronic games pub, always an electronic games pub. That said, it no longer has the “excellent bar-billiards table”, nor the “comic seaside postcards” or “red leatherette chairs lined in a neat row against the wall”, which apparently gave the impression “one has accidentally stepped into a dentist’s waiting-room” in the 70s.
It’s more appealing inside than its location might suggest – worn wooden floorboards and benches, a fireplace in the public bar, a refurbished lounge the brighter of the two rooms. Part of the public bar is set up for live music, and I’ve come here a few times to see bands. I suppose that’s when I’m most likely to return, when it’s busier, because it wasn’t at its best late afternoon, with just three other drinkers, who I’m guessing were regulars, sitting mostly in silence.
Despite the pub looking spruced up, it’s on possibly the most dismal road in Cambridge, a stretch of industrial units and a ‘leisure park’, concrete as far as the eye can see. The Corner House was built c.1930s, before the south side of Newmarket road was largely purged of residents, on the site of an older pub, the Butchers Arms. At one time, on the opposite corner of River Lane stood the Brickmakers Arms, and on the opposite side of Newmarket Road, the King William. Now the opposite corner of River Lane is the site of a demolished Renault showroom, while on the opposite side of the road, a Travelodge and a Premier Inn tower over the busy road junction. Still, at least they provide more trade for the pub.
Anyway, what this pub’s electronic games collection really needs – what every pub really needs – is Barrel Pong.