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My second home...
Pubs in Cambridgeshire in general
Member Name: Faloula
Pubs in Cambridgeshire in general
Date: 28/03/02, updated on 28/03/02 (320 review reads)
Advantages: Choice (13?), A pub for every taste; disco, indy, house, no music at all, Good prices, familiar faces
Disadvantages: Staff get to know you and you feel ashamed
I was just having a typical night out at my favourite Cambridgeshire pub. Standing at the bar, instead of rushing to serve me like they normally do (well, before I moved to Essex), the staff began to speculate as to whether I actually lived in the pub.
My friend was even more of a sad case (although he's moved away now too - oh, how they must miss us both); he was the last to leave at night and the first to grace its doors in the morning. His excuse? "Well, they do an excellent fried breakfast."
Let's see... yes, they may have had a point.
The first half of my birthday was spent in that pub, countless New Year's Eves were spent in that pub, I danced, sang, laughed, barfed, cried, pissed, kissed, ate, met date (s - trying to keep up a little rhyme here, in case you hadn't noticed) and, naturally, drank in... the Robin Hood.
Now, this opinion is about the pubs in St Ives. It may only be a small market town (not to be confused with the Cornwall town) but St Ives boasts over a dozen pubs; there are loads in the town centre, some hidden down alleyways, some by the river Ouse, others all in a row (handy when you've reached stumbling stage).
I had to start, of course, with my so-called second home, and the Robin is certainly rockin' on a Saturday night.
I was 16 when I got my first taste of the place. Me and the girls had met some older guys (weren't we cool) and managed to sneak in the back entrance to drink cider in the back room, which had a pool table (those really were the olden days; that pool table has long gone).
Unfortunately we were soon chucked out and it was a while before we had the nerve to try and get in there again.
But it was such fun living in St Ives at 17! Where's the thrill now of trying to get past the bouncers?
One friend turned 18 before the rest of us, but we joined her on her nights out, carryin
g borrowed ID (in those days all we needed someone else's driving license). This was fine until one nasty bouncer asked me for my license no. I ws cocky, saying "Come on, who knows their license number" and he agreed, asking me my date of birth. But I'd been thrown offguard and got it wrong! Silly me...
Anyway, let me describe the Robin Hood. I just love the smell of the place; that brewers smell, plain and simple.
It's always dimly lit in there, a welcome retreat from the sunshine during a summer's day, and 'atmospheric' at night. The bar's in the middle and there's comfy seating running along the window with wooden tables and stools.
To the left of the bar, a DJ (and his box) can be found on Sat. nights, and a handful of fruit machines.
To the right there's a step (watch out! I've tripped before and many a 'giant' has banged his head on the low ceiling stepping up it) and two more tables by a fireplace, with a huge screen in the corner for the football fans to get their fix (and this place is PACKED during England games).
The room at the back is often empty, although you can sit in there and have food, or a private party (oo-er).
Then there's a poky loo with 2 cubicles for women, and a loo for men (may have been in there... can't quite remember).
Out the back is a nice patio with about 4 benches. This is where I spent my 19th birthday; my then-boyfriend plied me with pints of cider that contained the added ingredients of Baileys (how could I not have noticed how it curdled?!) and vodka. There's a photo of me leaning against my boyfriend (unable to sit up straight I was practically lying on the bench) laughing my head off.
I'm sure it was a birthday to remember. If only I could.
Anyway, the pub is a favourite with leather-clad motorbikers, students, hen parties etc alike. It's a real mix of St Ives folk and I
love the way, if I was to stroll in there tomorrow there'd be at least one person I'd know.
There's a juke box, and on Friday nights you can often hear the Pulp Fiction soundtrack playing, or some indy tunes.
They refurbished it recently; strangely enough just after my friends and I decided to dance on the chairs and I banged my head on a lampshade, making it wonky.
The young bar staff are quick to serve you... but when they started calling me the 'Smirnoff Ice girl' producing a bottle and putting it on the counter before the words were out of my mouth, I wondered if I should sample Smirnoff elsewhere...
A few shops up the road and you're outside the Golden Lion. It's actually a hotel but has a large pub downstairs.
I call this place the 'disco' pub; it has that kind of atmosphere. Weekends see (hear!) a DJ, loud upbeat dance music blaring.
After a recent refurbishment however, the place is reminiscent of a supermarket. Whose bright idea was it to introduce the artificial strip lighting and automatic doors?!
They were very kind though when a friend was overambitious and tried to jump from the table onto a chair (yes, the ol' furniture-dancing again) but landed awkwardly on the carpet. She'd actually broken her ankle and was lifted into an ambulance, the DJ having called it, switching off his music.
The prices of drinks in the Robin and Lion are pretty much the same; around £1.15 for a half, £2.30 for a pint (I think; I rarely buy 'em) and £2.60 for bottles.
Over the road is The White Hart. I used to think this was an old man's pub until I was co-erced inside, and realised it was actually quite nice; small and snug. Perhaps it wasn't wise for 4 of us to smuggle in our bottles of Smirnoff Ice purchased at the Robin and casually put them on the table in the Hart - they don't actually sell Smirnoff Ice!
's split into 2 sections with 2 bars; one near a pool table, the other in a small room with lots of wood and a fireplace. No music.
Another 'image-revamp' has occured at Floods. Formerly an old man's pub (fishermen, British legion etc) it now attracts the young 'uns, although there are still some of the old clientele (a few who like to perv!).
Nice food, narrow (and watch out for the step as you leave; you never notice it when you go in). Perhaps one of the attractions of the place is the cheap(er) drinks. It's a long pub (encourages intimate contact) with a few fruit machines and a garden area...
By the river you'll find the aptly named The Dolphin. A fave with students, this hotel is packed out in the summer as there's a huge outside patio. You can see the bridge from your seat and sit and watch the boats go past
My only complaints are the slow service (get more staff in!) and the fact I got locked in there once! I'd been to the loo and couldn't get out! My friends were laughing at me through the window; fort. a smirking bouncer released me before I could start panicking...
There's 2 bars; one in an open airy room, and another in the posher 'family-function hotelly foody bit. You'll see the odd bride milling around as the place hosts a lot of wedding parties (although when me and a friend turned up for one we invaded someone else's by accident! Now we know that there are TWO bridal suites for parties... it's easy to wander in and out though)
Onto the bars... The Lounge, formerly The Birdcage (put a lot of blokes from going in there), fondly remembered as Broadways (when I was 16 this was the coolest place in town; I could only dream of getting in there)/
Even now, it's known as the place where the beautiful people go. Image, posing...
Strange place though, really. You walk in and there's a packed, too-small bar
and a bigger back room with comfy armchairs, then there's a cellar bar which is all wood and mirrors (and cold!).
Out the back there's a yard with an outside bar and heated lighting.
The music's totally house and I like the brightly coloured straws they give you with your bottles!
The Ice Bar has just opened but I haven't experienced the place yet; it used to be a bowling bar, now it's app. got green armchairs and poles!
That's the town centre pubs covered (oh, there's also the Royal Oak (for older people, I find) and the Aviator - popular on thursdays as they have a jammin' session night where local bands play; you can plonk around on drums etc). Ooh, and my old local (tastes change; funny how everyone decides to suddenly go somewhere else every weekend) The Nelson's Head. Down a narrow sidestreet, this pub is like a tardis. It's long and thin and is home to hot nuts and there's a real smell of wood when you enter. At the back there's a pool table and a dartboard, and there's a miniscule garden with 2 tables. One complaint: there's never any music and I need music! Where's the atmosphere? But strangely enough they do play soft music from speakers in the loos!
Down an alley there's a tiny but pretty pink pub called the Oliver Cromwell. The regulars are old men who prop up the bar and chat to anyone, and it's nice for a change.
Well, all this talk of the St Ives pub scene is making me feel rather homesick because where I live now, there's limited choice...
My second home will always be waiting for me though, should I return to St Ives...