ALE Spring 2004 No. 313 : Next section

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Pub Review : The Carlton Arms

What a difference a year makes! It has been that long since Terri and Jethro have been at the helm of the Carlton Arms in Carlton Way, Cambridge, and the transformation has been dramatic. It is alleged that the brewery were going to knock the pub down until this enterprising couple came along. Jethro is famous, amongst other things. for being the man in charge of the tombola at the Cambridge Beer Festival, he is the one that looks like Homer Simpson, and his partner Terri is the daughter of the late and great Trevor Littlechild of BBC Radio Cambridgeshire fame.

In the dark ages there were no real ales here, but under their stewardship this pub now boasts at least 4 real ales (usually 6), all served directly from the cask. On my most recent visit they included Adnams Bitter, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Deuchars IPA from Caledonian and Milton Nero. They have worked incredibly hard to turn this large pub round. The lounge has been refurbished with quality soft furnishings and is now no-smoking, whilst the spacious public bar plays host to a TV for sporting events that leads to a games area with everything from a pool table to darts and skittles. There are fruit machines also quietly and discreetly positioned away from the bar too.

This pub, once notorious for its lager-swilling louts and drug abuse, now has a strict zero tolerance on drug abuse. Quality is the name of the game here. There is an impressive menu with standard bar snacks at a reasonable price, and also specials like Beef Bourguignon at 6.95. There is a choice of a dozen malt whiskies and a similar amount of good-quality well-priced wines; coffee is also a speciality here.

Jethro and Terri have hosted three very successful beer festivals, there will be another one with around 40 different real ales at the end of June this year (29-Jun -> 4-Jul). At the first one, a beer-marquee was set up and a really high quality bar-b-q was fired up for the duration of the three-day festival. I was talking to a customer and neighbour who had not been in the pub for years and he told me that not in his wildest dreams would he have imagined the transformation in the pub, and he is now a regular.

This community-minded couple also raise vast amounts of money for charity, with the Cambridge Cancer Care Centre and the Lady Adrian School for children with learning difficulties being the main recipients.

A visit to the Carlton Arms has to be recommended, you will be sure of a warm welcome, and fine fare too.

Jerry Brown

Postscript

The pub was voted the Branch's Pub of the Year 2004.


ALE Spring 2004 No. 313 : Next section
Cambridge & District CAMRA