Cambridge Station was built in 1845, when it was located about a mile away from the city centre. Over the next century and a half Cambridge grew massively, until the station and city became one. Over the last few years, the station and its immediate surroundings have been transformed: CB1 is home to new apartments, office blocks, shops, hotels and eateries.
Only in the last few months has the area that greets visitors when they leave the station begun to take real shape. There are some unfinished sections, in particular the taxi rank, but the new businesses are pretty much fully functioning.
Located in this new development, below the Ibis hotel, is Cambridge’s newest pub – the Station Tavern. With the closure of many pubs over the last few years (as in many towns across the country), a pub opening is always a welcome sight. Rob and I were fortunate to be included on the guest list for the Station Tavern’s launch party on 5th April 2017.
I didn’t manage to get as many photos as I’d hoped, and I wanted to do the venue justice, so I’m very grateful to Bert Lissalde, General Manager, for recommending Tom Gold Photography who very kindly gave me permission to use his photographs in this post. Photos are clearly marked where they’re not mine – and it’s pretty obvious, to be honest! 😉
The pub is the first in Cambridge from Young’s & Co. – it only took them 186 years! As a nod to the Young’s heritage, a pair of shire horses and dray cart provided an unusual photographic opportunity outside in the sunshine.
We got there 30 minutes after the start, and it was busy. But, we managed to find some stools on which to perch and enjoy the first of our two free drinks. I had a pint of Camden Pale Ale, and Rob went with a drink close to describing the day he’d had: a pint of Hells. Poor guy.
There looked to be a mix of people who were there for the launch and the general public, who definitely chose the right night to pop in! Staff brought out platters of little tasters from their menu, and it’s fair to say they went down very well – and fast! Eventually we managed to find someone whose tray hadn’t yet been pilfered! 😉
On offer were small bites of beef burgers, monkfish scampi, Gressingham duck terrine, vegetable wellington & lemon meringue pies. What we tried looked great and was delicious.
I’ve had a peek at their menus and there are many dishes I’d like to try. I hope they’ve thought about a children’s menu; there aren’t currently any small-people dishes on their website and I’m not sure our boys would be happy with smaller versions of the main dishes.
To my (very) untrained eye there are no obvious vegan choices, and only a handful of vegetarian dishes. Don’t take my word for it though – they may well be very accommodating, so it would be worth asking them.
The pub itself is large, airy and light. Antique railroad lanterns delightfully brighten up a wood-panelled wall along one side. The tables were adorned with fresh flowers, and I hope this is something that will be a permanent feature. Not a lot of space is void of some kind of quirky decoration; one of my favourites is a bike (well, it is Cambridge) mounted on the wall using its wheels as the “OO” in “FOOD”. Love it.
Clearly a lot of thought has been put into railway heritage and the unique personality of our city of Cambridge.
The Sidings is a nice little snug, which doubles up as a function room. Whilst it wouldn’t be overly private, being glazed along two sides, it would be an attractive (and very Instagrammable!) space.
A nice surprise on the evening was a short talk by gin brand, Bombay Sapphire. We were invited to take a seat and get the low down on making the perfect gin & tonic: lots and lots of ice; one-third gin, two-thirds tonic; botanicals and/or fruit slices to enhance the flavour. Yes, we got to make one each, and I will never again scrimp on the ice!
Are you a fan of The Voice? I have never seen it, but I’m reliably informed that the lady with the excellent voice, who entertained us for much of the evening, was Leanne Jarvis – a contestant in The Voice 2013, reaching the quarter-finals.
The Station Tavern marketing was nicely done, and included in the very generous (alcoholic!) goody bag was a fun take on an old-style match book: it was filled with tokens, one for each day of the week. I hope that we’ll get to make use these; with my birthday this month and Rob’s in May, I’d say there’s a fair chance! 😉
For weary travellers, or for those setting out on their onward journeys, I would expect the Station Tavern to be a welcome sight. It is bright, inviting and has plenty of seating inside and outside. If the food is always as good as that on offer at the launch party, visitors are in for a treat. And, I can see it becoming a destination for locals too.
If you’re passing by, give it a try. 🙂
Bye for now!