The Secret Pubs of Cambridge: The Architect

Image credit: Julia Stanyard and Sian Avery

This week, your humble reviewers fought against the November elements and scaled Castle Hill to reach ‘The Architect’. Formerly the Country Arms, Julia has been looking upon the scaffolding-obscured place in hungry anticipation of its refurbishment since the beginning of term as she struggles up the hill on her Girton travails.

On stepping into ‘The Architect’, we felt less like we were entering a pub and more a middle class, urban family kitchen. With its whitewashed walls, light blue wooden panelling and large, communal tables with chairs in a vibrant, child’s-play-area shade of red, the atmosphere was completely different to any pub we’d visited in Cambridge; still possessing a friendly homeliness, it was free of the dark shadowy corners Sian prefers to lurk in, uninterrupted, with her pint.  

More like a 'middle class, urban family kitchen' than a pub. Image Credit: Julia Stanyard and Sian Avery

Although sadly not afforded this luxury in the well-lit pub, Sian was cheered by the first round of pints. Opting for the guest ales, the Wolf Brewery Werewolf was pleasantly seasonal, dark in colour with a sweet toffee tinge.  The Medusa was slightly lighter but still, we thought, fitting for an autumnal evening. In all honesty, it was the colourful names of these which first drew us in; having Halloween-themed guest ales was certainly a nice touch.

Julia loving the halloween-themed guest ales. Image Credit: Julia Stanyard and Sian Avery 

‘The Architect’s’ emphasis on local brews was similarly welcome, as Cambridge’s own Best Bitter and its counterpart Citra Bitter made an appearance. As the brewer himself pointed out (whom Julia literally stumbled upon at the bar) the Best Bitter was easily palatable to irregular bitter drinkers such as Julia. On the downside, one of two regular beers – the other being Caverley’s – the Everards Tiger Best Bitter was hardly prepossessing, wishy-washy as it was.

Again, we seemed to have stumbled on something more of an eatery than a drinking pub. Location-wise, this is probably a wise decision on their part, given how it rubs shoulders with several well-established watering holes and looks out on the Castle Inn. Our fellow drinkers were not this time so mature but were still far from being fellow students. The chic interior seemed to lure in the thirty-something middle class populous of Cambridge to enjoy the not-too-bitter bitter and a snack from the menu, ladened as it was with feta, hummus and the like. 

We must here admit to having caved to these temptations, ordering a portion of the sweet potato chips after someone else’s food was once again mistakenly laid before Julia; the temptation was simply too much. However, we refrained (largely out of financial limitations as opposed to any real self-control) from their dinner menu which ranged from antipasti plates to whole chickens to cote de boeuf.

Who can resist sweet potato chips?! (Sian + the famous chips) Image Credit: Julia Stanyard and Sian Avery

Overall, although an unobjectionable and pleasantly clean-cut surrounding, ‘The Architect’ probably isn’t what the average student looks for in their regular. Though very friendly, it lacked a certain cosy scruffiness often so desired at the end of the day. That said, the guest beers were enjoyable, the bar staff friendly and the atmosphere comfortable.  Sitting proudly atop Castle Hill, we would recommend making the effort to get to ‘The Architect’ as a new alternative to such common haunts as Bill’s, however, not for a casual evening down t’pub.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Stories

In this section

Across the site

Best of the Rest