The chaps responsible for the rescue are new owner Josh Vargo and manager Shaun Cattermole. Both worked at the Red Bull Newnham and had been looking around for a pub to run for some time; they’d set their sights pretty high as they wanted something as close as possible to the ideal country pub; i.e. the Queens Head Newton. They viewed the Green Man in June and though it was in a terribly run down state, the low-ceilinged, heavily timbered interior proved irresistible. They managed to negotiate a satisfactory investment package with freehold owners Punch Taverns and set to work.

If you know the pub as it was then, walking in, you might think “Oh good, nothing much has changed”. In fact, there’s been a huge amount of work done, much of it invisible; this is a Grade Two listed building so a lot of like-for-like replacement was needed. A complete new kitchen had to be installed plus “new” furnishings – in fact, the characterful selection of tables and chairs was collected from places like Emmaus and Willingham Auctions. Josh and Shaun are particularly pleased with the Chesterfields in the bar, which took some finding, and they also commissioned a former regular to construct the pew booth which forms one of the many quirky drinking spaces. There are two real fires, one coal and one wood-burner. The walls are currently a bit on the bare side but a collection of framed historic photos will soon be hanging there.

You have a choice of four real ales. Three are from the Punch list (Woodforde’s Wherry, Adnams Broadside and Black Sheep Bitter when I called) but the fourth is free of tie. This will be devoted to local ales and the superb Cambridge Moonshine CB1 occupied it on my visit. Josh and Shaun are delighted by the real ale sales so far and more pumps may follow. Extensive selections of whisky and wine are available as well.

On the food side the local theme continues with as much as possible being brought in from the area’s own suppliers. The very popular sausages for instance come from Cruickshanks of Cherry Hinton. Head Chef Clint Attard, formerly of the Vine and Plough Coton, majors on traditional English food; examples include a Pie of the Day and Fish and Chips made with the pub’s own beer batter.

It really is great to see this splendid old inn in such good hands. Josh and Shaun’s commitment to quality shines through as does their genuine love and enthusiasm for their pub. Highly recommended.