Review: The Pickerel

Colm Murphy 14 March 2014

One word encapsulates The Pickerel Inn – ‘warmth’. As soon as you cross the threshold, a feeling of comfort softly envelops you.

The aesthetic of the place mainly contributes to this. Wooden beams and tables are gently lit with well placed candles. The pub also has a distinct personality. As an example, The Pickerel clearly has a close connection with neighbouring Magdalene College – group pictures of college football teams and choirs hang on the walls. You can find other interesting signs on the walls, if you look around.  There is a plaque informing you that J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S Lewis used to unwind here. Also, amusingly enough, an anti-Justin Bieber mural hangs above the bar, with news clippings of the star’s recent arrest and a sign informing the customer that ‘Every time you tip us a little bit of Justin Bieber dies’. If it’s a sunny day, and you don’t want to be inside looking at pictures, there is also a spacious beer garden round the back.

The bar staff were cheerful, and very accommodating when I asked to try a beer before buying one. That turned out not to be necessary, as the ‘Nelson’s Revenge’ ale I chose was very much to my taste – a clear and refreshing pint of beer. Behind the bar, they seemed to have the usual variety of lagers, ciders, ales and spirits. But, with many varieties, ale clearly seems to be their strong-point. They also had a usual selection of pub food available – chips, fish, steak and so on.

Admittedly, at around £3.70 for a pint of Foster’s, the place is somewhat expensive. Yet, for Cambridge, their prices are not too extortionate. Besides, it’s worth it. As I sat in the corner, munching on crispy chips and sipping my beer, I felt very much at home. If you want a good drink, in a place with character, I recommend the oldest pub in Cambridge.