The chance came when the Dewdrop, an old Tolly pub in Gwydir Street, was put up for sale. Chris and Debbie bought it and moved there in April 1985, though they also retained the Free Press tenancy. After a while this arrangement became difficult to manage so in 1988 they sub-let the Dewdrop, now renamed the Cambridge Blue, first to the Banks and Taylor brewery then to Nethergate. The landlord during most of this period was our old friend Nick Winnington, now guvnor at the Waggon and Horses Milton.
Chris and Debbie finally gave up the tenancy of the Free Press in December 1999 and moved back to the Blue which for the last eight years operated as one of the few true real ale free houses in the city. Cambridgeshire beers were always strongly represented and the Blue was a fixture in the Good Beer Guide. However, all good things come to an end and the LIoyds have decided to retire, though Chris will continue his part-time labour of love at Churchill Boathouse. Chris and Debbie have so many interests though - cycling, walking, travelling, sport etc that they'll certainly keep busy. An early treat will be a weekend in London, with meals and theatre tickets, which was a surprise leaving present from their grateful regulars.
Debbie says that what she'll miss most are the customers and the staff; the latter helped them keep in touch both with younger people and folk from all over the globe who came to spend time working at the pub. What she definitely won't miss is the paperwork! Debbie admits that leaving is a real wrench but this has been made easier by knowing that the pub will now be in the capable ownership of Terri and Jethro, from the Carlton Arms, who will build on the Blue's tradition of excellent ale, food and company.
When we visited the week after opening, the new regime was still bedding in. The walls were waiting for further decoration though an interesting collection of enamel signs and local photos was already developing. The main physical alteration has been the removal of the snug, making the entrance much less cramped. You're now faced with a glass-fronted cabinet displaying the extensive range of exotic bottled beers.
Jethro aims to have at least 10 real ales on sale and up to 17. Seven will be sold on handpump, the rest being fetched from the "tap room" at the back. Fixtures are the locals' favourite, Woodforde's Wherry and a beer each from Adnams and City of Cambridge. There will also always be a mild. Continental beers on tap include Liefman fruit beers, Erdinger Weissbrau and Bitburger. The draught stout comes from the London micro, Meantime. The wine and malt whisky selections are extensive as well.
For the time being Terri and Jethro are running the Carlton as well, though it's on the market and they'd prefer to be able to concentrate on the Blue - not least so that Jethro can get stuck into organising his first beer festival there [which was held 30th November - 2nd December].