Sometimes, after a long a day of grind, age old tradition calls for post-work drinks. You might just be chilling with your work wife, letting off steam, having to impress a client or your boss or it's your turn to plan the work outing. Either way, as seasoned pub-goers we have compiled a list of our favourite post-work drinking spots that will make you look like the office cool guy. A lot of them do nice food too and a good selection on non-alcoholic drinks. Tell us what you think.
01The Free Press — Prospect Row
A cosy traditional pub, with a fire and lots of dark wood, the Free Press is well worth finding. It’s located on the back streets of Cambridge, but still a short distance from town. We go here a lot, because it’s close to our office, but also because they do a nice range of ales, gins and amazing chips. Seriously good chips. In fact, the whole menu is good, and they cater well for vegetarians. The Free Press feels like a step back in time, they even have a tiny snug, which apparently used to be for the ladies to sip sherry, and the bar staff are keen to tell you more. There are board games, a courtyard for the summer and half a boat on the ceiling. All in all the place is steeped in British eccentricity, it’s a great place to bring out of town clients, or cosy with colleagues for a game of Guess Who.
The vibe: Relaxed, quirky and traditional.
Try the: Locally sourced burgers.
Bonus fact: They do a free communal cheeseboard on a Sunday.
02The Maypole — City Centre
Located near the ADC Theatre, the venue that propelled many British actors and comedians to fame, The Maypole is a Cambridge must visit. It has a really big covered terrace with heaters, fairy lights and a separate bar hatch with a bell. It’s a university favourite because it opens late on weekends, but somehow still maintains a local vibe. The bar staff are always knowledgeable and clearly take pride in the great selection of beers and ales they do, as well as a good selection of traditional ciders. As well as UK breweries they have a good stock of bottles from all over the world. Take your colleagues here on a Friday night to soak up the good vibes and claim one of the outdoor sofas under a heat lamp for a long and happy evening.
The vibe: Friendly, lively and dynamic.
Try the: Old Rosie. Ever changing, always delicious.
Bonus fact: Many Cambridge greats frequented the Maypole including Mitchell and Webb, who used to meet up and write together here.
03Thirsty — Chesterton Road
A local’s favourite, Thirsty has a very continental vibe. It’s essentially a wine shop with communal tables, but the atmosphere is always great. They do selected wines by the glass, or you can buy a bottle to share with work friends from the experts behind the counter. The staff are exceptionally welcoming, and work to create a cool, welcoming, Berlin-like vibe. Every day of the week they have a different food van from one of Cambridge’s many amazing food vans, which you can take away or eat in the shop while you enjoy your carefully selected artisan Cotes du Rhône. The price is low for the quality, and they also do good beers.
The vibe: Cool, relaxed and welcoming.
Try the: Gin and tonic, if you don’t fancy wine they make a good one.
Bonus fact: They also have a Thirsty Riverside, a big outdoor bar with a festival field by the Museum of Technology.
04The Pint Shop — Market Square
Located just off Market Square, The Pint shop is a multi award winning bar and eatery. It has a really good restaurant, but the bar is great for post work drinks. The décor has managed to capture a 1930s influence with bold brass piping, while keeping a modern and welcoming feel. The Pint Shop has a slightly more up-market feel. They specialise in gin and craft beer, and serve good wine in glass decanters. If you’re not eating in the restaurant they have an exceptionally tasty selection of hot and cold bar snacks. It’s a great place for a one-on-one drink (or even a date) as well as a large group, although you might have to get there fairly early to get a good table.
The vibe: Hip, indulgent and romantic.
Try the: Home made Scotch egg.
Bonus fact: They have a huge mural in the backyard of a pig with a babies head, which I love.
05196 — Mill Road
I love this tiny bar. Imagine a speakeasy with candles, cocktails and hand quilled menus and that’s exactly what you get with 196. It’s table service, or you can prop up at the beautiful tiled bar to watch the cocktail magic and write poetry or something. It’s pretty small, but they also have pavement tables where you can watch the beautiful people of Mill Road pass you by. It’s quite far out of town, so you have to make a special trip to get there but it’s a truly special secret that all the locals know about. The cocktails come in vintage glasses and they really care about the quality. They have a variety of meats and pickled things to nibble on, but the drink menu changes seasonally. In the winter you’ll find delights like a maple old fashioned and a pomegranate daiquiri in summer, but all year round they make the classics and they make them well. Ask for recommendations if you can’t decide.
The vibe: Charming, intimate and creative.
Try the: Sidecar.
Bonus fact: They have a controversial photographic mural in the bathroom. See what you think.
06The Mill — Mill Pond
Another of Cambridge’s most iconic pubs, The Mill is a pint-sized post-work dream. It’s very central, right next to the cam and does beers in plastic cups to go. In the summer, the clientele spill right out onto the wall over the Cam to watch the punts, and even on to the Laundress Green, just beyond. It’s a 19th century building with lots of character, both in the building and the punters (not the ones on the river). They serve great food, which you can nibble on while listening to professors, locals or visitors from all over the world. They have a proud selection of local beers, good wine and bar snacks all at a fair price for such a good venue. Oh, and they have board games and a good amount of the regulars bring their dogs.
The vibe: Relaxed, chatty and welcoming.
Try the: Natural Born Mill-ers, a beer they’ve had brewed just for them by the lovely Cambridge Brewing Co.
Bonus fact: They have an amazing radiogram record player and they might let you choose a vinyl if they’re quiet.
07Calverley’s Brewery — Petersfield
This little gem is only open Thursday-Saturday, and it’s in a car park next to a rail line. That may not sound appealing, but this is one of the most appealing end-of-week spots in Cambridge. I bring people here when I need to assure them I’m cool and in the know. It’s primarily a brewery, with tables amongst the beer kettles, outside and in an outbuilding too. They really know what they’re talking about when it comes to their beers, and there’s always something unusual to try. For food, they have a visiting food van and you have to follow them on twitter to find out what it’s going to be. This one feels like a great find, and it’s fun to wrap up at an outdoor table with friends.
The vibe: Hip, alternative and industrial.
Try the: Weirdest beer, they always have fun flavours.
Bonus fact: They have only been brewing since 2013 but already have CAMRA accolades, which is really good going.
08The Cambridge Blue — Gwydir Street
A traditional ale pub with a huge back garden that backs on to Mill Road Cemetery, The Cambridge Blue is hugely popular for a good reason. It’s a large pub, boasting tons of kegs, barrels and bottles as well as top-notch comfort food. They even have classic pub snacks like pickled eggs. In the summer months the back garden is always rammed with happy people. Sometimes they have a gazebo up, with BBQs and beer festivals too. Inside is just as cosy in the winter, decorated with rowing memorabilia and old school drink adverts. You tend to get a lot of post-graduate students in here, as well as hoards of locals all soaking up the atmosphere.
The vibe: Welcoming, familial and no-nonsense.
Try the: Good selection of pies.
Bonus fact: They have a board outside that tells you how many pints of real ale they’ve sold to date.
09The Salisbury Arms — Tenison Road
Located between the train station and Mill Road, this is a good one to bring the team for a good cheap meal. They do a fun selection of pizzas, with thought-about veggie, vegan and gluten free options, as well as earthenware pots of delicious things like stew and brisket. You can see all of this being cooking in a big stone pizza oven that’s visible to the whole pub too, which adds to the fun. They have a library at the back, where you can cosy up with a book, or a board game with friends, or even take yourself for a post work drink.
The vibe: Friendly, homey and fun.
Try the: Mac n' cheese, it's so good.
Bonus fact: They do two-for-one pizzas on a Monday.
10The Kingston Arms — Petersfield
Slightly off the beaten track, this is an independent pub with a sizable garden and cat that will occasionally show interest in you if you sit near it. They keep a really good cellar and have a tasty, but unpretentious selection of food with some very special specials. They let dogs in, they have a real fire and the décor is traditional and welcoming. Despite the tradition atmosphere, the guests are very cosmopolitan - meaning you hear a mix of languages and chatter, which makes for an interesting place to relax.
The vibe: Homey, unpretentious and welcoming.
Try the: Specials board, they always have something interesting.
Bonus fact: They always have ‘sausages of the week’ and you can mix and match if you have the sausage and mash.