CK Travels

26 best pubs and bars in Cambridge, UK

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After a long day of exploring Cambridge or punting on the River Cam, we can think of no better reward than a pint in one of Cambridge’s best pubs and bars (because city adventures are thirsty work)!

There are over 100 pubs, bars and taprooms in Cambridge frequented by locals, students and tourists alike. From riverside pubs to backstreet bars and boozers, there is something for all ‘tastes’ and these are the best bars and pubs in Cambridge:

Best pubs and bars in Cambridge map

Best pubs and bars in Cambridge

1. The Pint Shop

What is not to love about the Pint Shop, one of Cambridge’s best (and smallest) pubs with 17 taps and a cute, cosy taproom in the very heart of the city centre? In a city where there is a plethora of pubs, many of which are historic and hugely popular,  you really have to work hard to differentiate yourself and the Pint Shop have done this, a welcome addition to the Cambridge city craft beer scene.

We visited one weekday afternoon and it was nice see to the front parlour come to life with a mix of couples, locals and students.

After much deliberation (so much choice), we opted for a Mother’s Hip APA and an Egyptian Cream for Nene Valley Brewery (tap choices change often). The pub’s interior is warm and welcoming (albeit downstairs is a little like a classroom) and it is quite easy just to stay here, work your way through the taps and watch the world go by through the large bay windows. Recommended.

Address: 10 Peas Hill, Cambridge CB2 3PN


2. The Town and Gown

One of the best Cambridge city centre bar and pub set-ups and hidden away in a side street away from the usual hustle and bustle of the city, the Town and Gown is a cultural centre of sorts boasting a beautiful bar, a famous  frimge theatre and a restaurant on site. The drink selection was good and we opted for an Rivertown Brewery IPA and a McMullens Brewery / Macs IPA.

The Town and Gown bar Cambridge

Located in Market Passage, we liked the Town and Gown as the interiors were lush, including balconies where you could drink overlooking the bar (great for people watching) plus there were the rather unusual barrel style tables where you could eat and drink in a semi-barrel recess.

The Town and Gown theatre hosts regular events, from comedy and live music through to plays and quiz nights – we are very very intrigued by Bingo at TIffany’s and will be planning a return visit!

The Town and Gown bar Cambridge

3. The Grain and Hop Store

This charming and cavernous pub, a former warehouse overlooking Parker’s Piece green, was the first pub we visited in Cambridge after jumping off the train and we were not disappointed, primarily due to the craft range on tap and the super-friendly and knowledgeable bar man (we didn’t get his name but amazing beard!).

The Hop and Grain Store Cambridge. Copyright CK Travels

First impressions of the Grain and Hop Store were Its lush interiors although this may be due to the fact it was recently refurbished in late 2021 so it is fairly new in terms of its current look. We grabbed a booth at the end of the huge bar downstairs with views of the green. There is also an upstairs area similarly decorated with high vaulted ceilings and woodwork everywhere.

The Hop and Grain Store Cambridge. Copyright CK Travels

We opted for a Wild Card Pogo and Brewboard’s Bambino APA after being given several samples by the barman. The pub is possibly too modern for some tastes (not ours) but we would definitely return.

Address: 69 Regent Street, Cambridge CB2 1AB

The Hop and Grain Store Cambridge. Copyright CK Travels

4. The Eagle Cambridge

Possibly the most well known pub in Cambridge, the Eagle is renowned as the drinking establishment where Watson and Crick first celebrated their DNA discovery and the ‘secret of life’.

Dating back to the 14th century in parts, the Eagle feels like stepping back in time when you first enter – wood paneling and wooden beams dominate the back bar and at the front there is a larger bar with signatures and scrawls from visiting guests over the years adorn the walls. Whilst we there, an American family were adding their scrawls to their ceiling – no clue if they were allowed to.

The Eagle pub Cambridge. Copyright CK Travels

We really liked the Eagle, more for the history and setting than the beer (although I tried a pint of their own Eagle DNA ale  – surprisingly good). Most of the drinkers appeared to be tourists and prices were a little more expensive than most of the other Cambridge pubs we visited.

Their sister pub The Bath House is also just a few doors down on the same street (Bene’t Street).

Address: Bene’t Street, Cambridge CB2 3QN

The Eagle pub Cambridge. Copyright CK Travels

5. The Mill

Located just across from the Scudamore’s punting station and overlooking Laundress Green and the River Cam, the Mill is a classic Cambridge pub, cosy as with a curious mix of the old and new. The neon jukebox and craft beer bridge are somewhat at odds with the historic fireplaces and dimly lit settings.

The Mill pub Cambridge. Copyright CK Travels

A very popular pub given its prime riverside location, whilst we didn’t eat here, the food smelt amazing as it wafted around the small snug we were sitting in. With board games a plenty and a 15% student discount available, the 19th century Mill is a good drinking spot for locals and tourists alike and a great spot to explore the nearby meadows and Mill Pond.

Address: 14 Mill Lane, Cambridge CB2 1RX

The Mill pub Cambridge. Copyright CK Travels

6. The Cambridge Blue

The busiest pub we visited in Cambridge by far, The Cambridge Blue is an award-winning freehouse, popular for its range of ales on tap, as well as a huge Belgian beer bottle selection (check out the fridge chock full of beautiful Belgian goodness as you first walk in).

The Cambridge Blue pub. Copyright CK Travels

Depending on what your choice of drink is, a night out at the Cambridge Blue can either be a cheap as affair or expensive evening. Our half a pint of stout was £2 whilst the Belgian beer we picked from the fridge was over £7 (no prices on display so you many want to ask first).

With a nice mix of locals, students and workers, we could recommend a session in the Cambridge Blue based on the beer selection (although we did find the service here a little surly).

Address: 85-87 Gwydir Street, Cambridge CB1 2LG

The Cambridge Blue pub. Copyright CK Travels

7. The Anchor Cambridge

Possibly the best pub viewpoint in Cambridge, The Anchor has several tables indoors (plus a small terrace) directly overlooking the River Cam and Mill Pond meaning you can enjoy a pint whilst watching the punting (the famous Cambridge rowing boats).

The Anchor pub Cambridge. Copyright CK Travels

Dating back to the 1860s, the historic Anchor pub has an enviable setting and draws in many tourists, looking to try traditional British fare like fish and chips and Sunday roasts. Alas, the beers on offer are all quite standard (Amstel, Beavertown etc) but with an incredible vantage point like this, it can be forgiven (just).

The Anchor is also famous as it where the band Pink Floyd used to play a lot before they became famous (founder Syd Barrett was a regular) and there are several references to the band in the pub including a mural downstairs.

Address: Silver Street, Cambridge CB3 9EL

The Anchor pub Cambridge. Copyright CK Travels
The Anchor pub Cambridge outdoor beer garden. Copyright CK Travels
Outdoor dining at The Anchor Cambridge

8. The Granta

The Granta’s USP is that not only does have a sublime riverside setting (with a huge terrace overlooking Mill Pond; likely the largest waterside terrace in downtown Cambridge) but it also has its very own punting set-up whereby you can hire a punt before you head in for a pint – but remember – drink responsibly and do not drink and punt!

The Granta pub Cambridge

Along with the nearby Anchor and Mill pubs, The Granta’s view overlooking water makes this easily one of Cambridge’s best pubs. The terrace is heated too in the winter making this an all year round affair.

Promising the ‘best of British cuisine’ and an extensive home-cooked a la carte menu with seasonal dishes, indulge in a Charter Pie whilst you look out towards Coe Fen Gardens and the River Cam.

Address: 14 Newnham Road, Cambridge CB3 9EX

The Granta pub Cambridge
The Granta pub boat hire Cambridge

9. Thirsty Cambridge

We hadn’t heard of this taproom / bottle shop before visiting Cambridge but it came highly recommended by a barman at Eagle so it was nice to see some brotherly love between the pubs in Cambridge.

Thirsty Cambridge craft beer bar

Consisting of a well stocked taproom and outdoor courtyard on Chesterton Road and popular with craft connoisseurs and students alike, Thirsty has various visiting street-food pop-ups and does a mean cheese toastie too, priding itself on ‘Revolutionary Drinking’.

We last visited Thirsty taproom in Cambridge in July 2022 and were impressed by their 20+ range, chilled out play-list and general laid back atmosphere  – each night, a different street food truck rocks up outside and you can see the full list of  the upcoming food vans on a chalf-board outside.

Thirsty Cambridge craft beer bar

Our last Thirsty visit coincided with a 25c day (hot!) so the discovery of Snail’s Bank Raspberry Ripple cider on that day was an absolute blessing – cooling cider and the flavour of icecream in one glass). As you’d expect, the range at Thirsty changes regularly so expect to try something new on every visit.

Address: 46 Chesterton Road, Cambridge CB4 1EN

Thirsty Cambridge craft beer bar

10. Fort St George

Like the Mitre, this is another gem of a Greene King owned pub, a little walk away from the Cambridge city centre but well worth it due to its riverside views and huge beer garden, making this one of the best spots for sunny drinking days in Cambridge.

Fort St George pub Cambridge

Inside you’ll find the standard beer lines on tap (so far, so average) and wooden fires and historic fireplaces but this is all about the incredible location directly on the River Cam.

Fort St George pub Cambridge

In the summer months, Fort St George not only has a few tables overlooking the River Cam but also a huge beer garden overlooking the nearby park, Midsummer Common.

If you are looking to do a riverside pub crawl, combine the Fort St George with The Granta, The Anchor and The Mill (you’re welcome and cheers!)

Address: Midsummer Common, Cambridge CB4 1HA

Fort St George pub Cambridge

11. The Orator

Now this is one nice beer garden! Located in a stately Victorian building that is home to the world-famous Cambridge Union, the brasserie and bar inside have lush opulent interiors and more shiny brass than a locomotive steam engine.

The Orator Cambridge

With the Union having previously hosted the likes of Winston Churchill and the current Dalai Lama, these truly are hallowed halls and the bar and seating area outside make this a destination pub in Cambridge – also it is hard to believe this calm and peaceful outdoor area surrounded by historic buildings is literally just a stone’s throw away from one of Cambridge’s busiest thoroughfares.

The Orator Cambridge

12. The Boat House

As you’d expect from a pub called The Boat House, this Greene King pub has prime views over the River Cam with a sunny beer garden and terrace that spirals over seven levels until it reaches the river edge.

The Boat House Cambridge

The Boat House has a family-orientated pub with ample indoor seating spaces and a cheap and cheerful pub grub menu l – for instance, you can buy two pub classic dishes like fish and chips or bangers and mash together for less than £14 Monday to Saturday. With live entertainment and sports also a main-stay, this is your standard chain pub made all the better with its outdoor seating and riverside area.

The Boat House Cambridge

13. Tivoli

Recently opened in Cambridge in the summer of 2022, the Tivoli is an epic social space and entertainment venue located over several floors. A former theatre (and once a Wetherspoons pub), the Tivoli has been transformed with a beautiful rooftop bar taking pride of place overlooking the River Cam (with an equally nice bar on the ground level as you first enter

Tivoli bar Cambridge

Serving all manner of street-food and specialsing in pizzas and burgers, you can also play a round of crazy golf on the nine hole Electric Greens or a spot of shuffle board in the basement section called Club Shuffle.

We were here for the rooftop and on the Saturday afternoon we visited in July 2022, it was a very hot day so the Cambridge Rivoli rooftop bar was bustling – the deckchairs over looking the river were incredibly popular and the range was good. Artwork on the terrace walls also added to the pleasant  outdoor environment.

Tivoli bar Cambridge
Tivoli bar Cambridge

14. Calverley’s Brewery

Whilst doing our research into Cambridge pubs and bars before we visited, we were surprised to see that there were hardly any boutique or locally based taprooms or breweries in the city. Thankfully, we discovered Calverley’s Brewery, a small batch brewery that has a cute and charming taproom just off Mill Road, a short walk from the city centre.

Caverley's Brewery pub Cambridge. Copyright CK Travels

Started in 2014 by two brothers, Calverley’s Brewery and Taproomhas a wide selection of their own and guest beers on tap and their latest taproom is quite new having opened in April 2021.

Service was great (very friendly) and the neighbouring table had ordered sourdough pizzas which smelled amazing. Calverley’s range includes IPA, porter, pale ale and coelsch; for a new taproom set-up, prices were very reasonable and definitely somewhere we would return to again next time we visit Cambridge.

Address: 23A Hooper Street, Cambridge CB1 2NZ


15. The Elm Tree

Hidden amongst the Cambridge backstreets in a quiet residential area, the Elm Tree is a quirky real ale and Belgian beer pub, decorated inside with a multitude of retro and vintage advertising and transport signs (it kind of felt like a museum, but in a fun way). The quirkiness continues with a series of upside hats stuck to the ceiling plus oodles of pictures of previous nights out and events at the Elm Tree.

Elm Tree pub Cambridge. Copyright CK Travels

Obviously specialising in Belgian beers, we stuck with local ales and found this to be our cheapest round during the whole of our Cambridge trip. Like the Free Press pub, we found this to be  a friendly, local pub and definitely worth seeking out. Located on Elm Street, visiting this pub luckily wasn’t a ‘nightmare’ on Elm Street.

Address: 16A Orchard Street, Cambridge CB1 1JT


16. The Free Press

Perched along Prospect Row and one of the oldest pubs in Cambridge, this felt a very charming and cosy pub, dimly lit with candles in the fireplaces. We visited mid afternoon and as we walked in, were greeted by a small group of locals drinking at the bars on stools (always a good sign). The bar then soon started to fill up with drinkers and their dogs; possibly ready for the Free Press pub quiz that evening. It was nice to see a local pub doing well.

The Free Press pub Cambridge. Copyright CK Travels

The decor is quirky, with the walls adorned with hundreds of passport style pictures of staff, locals and all the visitors who have been there over the years. Outside, there is also a huge beer garden and outdoor terrace (a bit cold to use in the winter unless you are smoking).

So how did the Free Press get its quirky name? The pub originated in the 1830s when local home brewer Sarah Horne opened up her home to distribute home brew. This coincided with a teetotal movement campaign newspaper launching called the Free Press (which only lasted one edition).

Address: 7 Prospect Row, Cambridge CB1 1DU

The Free Press pub Cambridge. Copyright CK Travels

17. The Bath House

If you can’t face the tourist hordes of the famous Eagle pubs a few doors down, the Bath House might be the Cambridge city centre for you. Based along Bene’t Street, the Bath House is brought to you by the Greene King brewery chain of pubs, meaning you know you’ll get an OK pint and hearty pub grub.

OK, this may not be the most original and outstanding pub in Cambridge but the reason we include it is it appears to be a bolt-hole for locals, who actually sometimes want a nice pint with a seat and aren’t able to get that in a lot of pubs due to all the tourists.

The beer selection was good with standard Greene King fare like Ice Breaker but there were also a few more craft choices like Tiny Rebel craft brewery and Beavertown (a brewery we’ve visited before in Tottenham link) – so if you fancy a peaceful pint in a nice setting, the Bath House in Cambridge might be for you.


18. The Punter

A charming Cambridge pub with a cosy as beer garden and rustic interiors, the Punter is a Cambridge institution found in the back streets of Pound Hill. As you arrive, the first thing you notice is lovely looking, white painted neighbourhood pub with an array of colourful hanging baskets and flowers on the outside.

Punter pub Cambridge

An old coaching house / horse stables, the Punter has an array of eclectic fittings and furnishings inside and feels a little rough and ready inside which is all part of its charm – note that given the name, you might be expecting a riverside location but this is more of your classic backstreet boozer.

Punter pub Cambridge

19. The Tram Depot

The Tram Depot is a huge, plush pub converted from what used to be a horse tram depot (hence the name). Next door to the Anglia Ruskin campus, expect it to be busy with students and campus staff during term-time. Although when we visited on a cold January evening, we practically had the place to ourselves, meaning we could bag one of the big, comfy sofas- bonus!

Tram depot pub Cambridge. Copyright CK Travels

The renovation of the Tram Depot has been done well (tiled floors, huge timbered beams etc) and the tap range was good. It has a separate dining room although most people seemed to prefer to eat in the bar. Our preferences for unfiltered lager and a fruity number were satisfied; Tram-tastic!

Address: 5 Dover Street, Cambridge CB1 1DY


20. The Mitre Cambridge

Based on Bridge Street and a short walk from the famous Cambridge Round Church, the Mitre is a Nicholson’s pub (UK brewery chain) and given its city centre location and old world / classic interior, popular with tourists and out of town visitors.

The Mitre pub Cambridge. Copyright CK Travels

The Mitre specialises in pie dishes and the award winning Nicholson’s pale ale and steak pie comes recommended as does the beef rib version (vegan and veggie dishes are also available along with the usual pub grub fare).

Address: 17 Bridge Street, Cambridge CB2 1UF


21. The Wrestlers

Located a little way out of Cambridge city centre and the furthest out pub in this ‘best Cambridge pubs’ list, The Wrestlers is famous for its Thai food kitchen and was recommended by several bar staff at other pubs we frequented whilst exploring the city.

Very much a hidden gem in terms of the tourist trail, The beer and ale selection at the Wrestlers is also good (lots of nearby breweries like Charlie Wells and BrewPoint) and the Thai food is delicious and reasonably priced (spice levels to your choosing).

Address: Newmarket Road, Cambridge CB5 8JE


22. The Maypole Freehouse

Located along Portugal Place in Cambridge, the Maypole is a family-run freehouse (meaning it isn’t tied to a particular brewery or supplier) and is famous for its drinks selection. So much so that it was awarded the accolade of Cambridge CAMRA pub of the year a couple of years back. The Maypole Freehouse has 20+ taps and kegs on at any one time, plus a wide range of gins, whiskeys and other spirits on.

The Maypole Freehouse pub Cambridge

Dating back to the 1850s, The Maypole offers a warm welcome plus hot Italian inspired dishes such as open pizza sandwiches, polpette and arancini balls as well as the standard burger fare.

We also think the Maypole possibly has one of the largest beer gardens in Cambridge, with a warren of outdoor tables and hidey holes plus a little serving hatch for takeaways or outdoor pints – so if The Maypole is full, you can always grab a craft beer takeaway and drink it on nearby Midsummer Common. One of the best craft beer collections on tap in Cambridge, the Maypole fittingly had us dancing with joy

Address: 20A Portugal Place, Cambridge CB5 8AF

The Maypole Freehouse pub Cambridge

23. Old Ticket Office

Fancy a pint as soon as you ‘hop’ off the train at Cambridge Central? Then the Old Ticket Office might be for you! As well as convenience (this is literally 15 seconds walk from jumping off the train), the experience here is all about the lush interiors and railway themed decor.

Old Ticket Office pub Cambridge. Copyright CK Travels

You can (probably) ignore the ‘Beware of the Trains’ signs as you sit in the railway carriage inspired snug, drinking your craft beer or cocktails. The Old Ticket Office often has drink offers like 2 for 1 cocktails on selected nights, plus an outdoor terrace at the front overlooking the newly developed square.

Address: Unit 1, Cambridge Railway Station, Cambridge CB1 2JW


24. Station Tavern

No prizes for guessing where this is located in Cambridge. The Station Tavern is a new-build pub, part of all the recent development work and infrastructure improvements located around the Cambridge train station frontage.

Station Tavern pub bar Cambridge

Very much a meeting place for people getting on or off trains (we visited on a Saturday morning and it was heaving with family get togethers and hen dos etc), this is more of a warm-up or ‘one last beer before our train’ type place than a destination pub. Inside, the Station Tavern has a certain faux-rustic charm and the large terrace outside was convivial and full of cheer.

Events at the Station Tavern are quite eclectic and we were intrigued by the upcoming ‘Paint and Prosecco’ workshop – cocktail offers also come as standard.


25. The Pickerel Inn

Although this pub sounds quite ‘fishy’ (and actually located just a stone’s throw from the River Cam at one of the main punting areas), the Pickerel is one of Cambridge’s most popular bars and has a gorgeous bar. 

The Pickerel Inn pub Cambridge. Copyright CK Travels

Operated and run by mega brewer Greene KIng, the Pickerel is one of their flagship pubs and has changed ownership many times over the years. In fact, the Pickerel is one of Cambridge’s oldest pubs (some say the oldest pub in Cambridge but open to much debate), with a licensed venue first recorded at this location back in the early 17th century (although the beer is much fresher today).

The building itself partially dates back to the 1500s and has been everything from an undertaker to a brothel (do not confuse the two!) and serves up hearty traditional food like fish and chips or steak.

Address: 30 Magdalene Street, Cambridge CB3 0AF


26. The Regal / Wetherspoons Cambridge

Finally, we’ve included the Regal (a Wetherspoon pub) mainly because it is housed in a former cinema so the quirky is quite interior (check out the film reels woven into the carpets) and if you are on a budget, this is likely the cheapest pub in Cambridge.

The Regal / Wetherspoons pub Cambridge. Copyright CK Travels

People from overseas may not have heard of the Wetherspoon chain, but it is known as one of the least expensive bar brands in the United Kingdom and the Regal is quite a good Wetherspoon pub as they go.

Pints of ale start from as little as £1 so it is definitely the cheapest pub in Cambridge (even when you take into account student discounts) and like all Wetherspoon pubs, it has long trading hours (open from first thing to late night). This is also a good opportunity to try a traditional England breakfast (a fry-up) or other traditional English dishes.

Address: 38-39 St Andrew’s Street, Cambridge CB2 3AR


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