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Elm Tree, Cambridge

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user reviews of Elm Tree, Cambridge

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

The Elm Tree is a Charles Wells/Banks & Taylor pub which had a decent range of guest ales in addition to their own selection. The full range was Charles Wells A Good Stuffing & Bombardier, Youngs Winter Warmer, Caledonian Edinburgh Castle, Roosters Red State, Yeovil Stout Hearted, Black Sheep Holy Grail & Banks & Taylor Shefford Bitter, Dragon Slayer & Extra Stout. They also had a real cider - Abrahalls Slack Alice. In addition, Belgian beers appear to be a speciality. The pub is a cosy, single room with a step leading down to the larger seating area. Whilst we were there, we were entertained by a guy walking off the street looking for a job. His pre-prepared speech was certainly well practiced. But it didn't really win anybody over! Another very good Cambridge pub.
blue_scrumpy - 27 Jan 2017 19:42
Great little back street pub with a good range of beers. Also a fantastic choice of bottled Belgium beers. Cool décor and wonderful staff. Always one of my must visit pubs when passing through Cambridge.
Shot18 - 3 Sep 2015 12:13
After my "warm welcome" at the Free Press, I tried the Elm Tree.

Nice barman , good beer , and a good range.

One day in the summer , I will come here for the day.
Leftinthepub44 - 23 Mar 2015 15:05
Excellent little pub with a great beer range. Called in yesterday for a pre Xmas shopping beer, the pub was empty but a great welcome from the staff.
Aztecgoat - 23 Nov 2014 09:24
Great little pub leased to B&T under an agreement with Charles Wells. Beers were in very good condition and the lad behind the bar friendly.
littledrummerboy - 22 Sep 2013 18:01
Cracking pub. Great beer, staff who know what they're talking about. No food , but Thai pub 3 paces away does good stuff.
minesabeer - 4 Jun 2013 18:33
Lovely pub - very long and narrow inside, lots of Atmosphere and lots of ales on tap - Glastonbury Lady of the Lake, very nice.
Booze_Allen - 10 Apr 2013 20:01
A decent street corner alehouse with nine different brews on. The Shefford's Turkey Trauma was a nice enough brew. Bloke behind the bar seemed passionate enough about ale.
Snarling_Mallard - 24 Dec 2011 23:41
Top pub. Lots of real ales and a fantastic list of Belgian beer on a menu with descriptions on all the tables. Great decor and very comfortable.
rpf1955 - 20 Nov 2011 17:47
Nice pub, visit it whenever I'm in Cambridge, far better than any of the pubs in the city centre not that that's saying much, but it's well worth seeking out.
simjons - 11 Nov 2011 13:10
I'm so lucky to have this pub on the way home from work. Occasionally a line of the guest beers are not to my taste. But there is always one of the excellent Belgian beers as a substitute.
billyb8 - 13 Jul 2011 12:17
Great little pub even if it took forever to find hidden away off the main drag. Full of vharacter and the beer I had was great. Sadly the barrel ran out just aa i'd discovered it but the staff were freindly and knowledgeable and pointed me in the direction of another pleasant ale.
Next time i'll try the nibbles platter as it looked great and the belgian beer menu on the table was a nice touch.
If I lived in Cambridge I'd definately make it a regular haunt.
ironside33 - 9 Jul 2011 23:12
Cosy little pub buried away down back streets of Cambridge but certainly worth the short walk from the city centre. Range of 7 or 8 handpulls including Nethergate Old Growler (very good). Laid back, ideal for chilling and staff attentive and helpful.
mikey64 - 21 Mar 2011 21:49
We had a fantastic pint of Black Dragon cider here. I don't usually go for the ciders but this stuff was gorgeous. There were also 7 or 8 real ales on tap which seemed to be well kept from couple I tried. Bar staff were friendly, plenty of seating and a nice laid back atmosphere. Please don't change anything about this pub! If I lived in Cambridge this would be my local...
undeaded - 21 Mar 2011 13:01
The pocket of Cambridge in which you'll find the Elm Tree seems almost obscenely well-served by good pubs - from the doorway of one, there are another two only yards apart, in plain sight, with a couple more only short strolls away. After a day traipsing around town, such a chance encounter was like manna from heaven. The choice of TV sport (in the Cricketers, opposite) or a satellite & mobile-free pint (in the Elm Tree) seems a real luxury for a Sunday afternoon pub-goer, but that's the minimum on offer in this neighbourhood. The drink was pretty good too - James Fellows' Legacy, a tasty porter (forgotten the name!) and Nethergate Mild. Plus helpful staff offering tasters of the ales, dozens of Belgian bottled beers, a selection of board games and eccentric locals. Great place.
TheHofBear - 15 Mar 2011 12:33
The Elm Tree is the Collins definition of a local pub. Every member of staff behind the bar has an intimate knowledge of the often-changing tap beers and bottles, and all are polite, friendly and invested in the establishment.

After my first couple of visits, three members of the bar staff had remembered my name and asked after both myself and my partner on subsequent visits. You simply cannot put a price on that level of customer service, which is so much lacking in modern day establishments. In fact, I'm reluctant to call it customer service; the Elm Tree has something more, a family atmosphere that makes every single soul that walks through the door a member of the extended bloodline. Be you a first time customer wondering which of the 40+ Belgian beers is for you, of a regular ale drinker contemplating which of the 8+ taps to sample that day; there is always a word of advice and a line of friendly banter.

I moved to Eden St four weeks ago. I would not stray to a single other local pub (and there are many) for my 'local pint', nor would I recommend another establishment in Cambridge to anyone looking for an excellent pint and a friendly experience while you drink it.

Yeah, I could find a cheaper beer if I really wanted to, but could I find a friendlier, more relaxed and generally hospitable establishment in Cambridge? I doubt it...and if that's not worth an extra 20p, I don't know what is.
brashleyholland - 15 Aug 2010 00:09
Two pints, two dirty glasses (very dirty).

One beer, recommended by the barman, was stale and had sediment floating around in it. The other beer was average at best.

During the 45 mins I was there on a Sunday afternoon I was asked for change by a homeless drug addict, and babbled at by a local nutter.

The only positive things I can say are: there is a large selection of real ale (even if the quality is suspect), the bar staff are friendly and there are plenty of free seats.

Won't be going back.
Cambrews - 25 Jul 2010 17:51
I normally really enjoy my visits to the Elm Tree but I have to say on my visit on the rainy May bank holiday it was very dissapointing.
Of all the ales they had on I could not find a decent ale most were too strong to drink on a daytime pub walk, I was recommended one, either March hatter or Mad hatter I think and it was very cloudy and tasted mouldy and turned my stomach, I tried different beer from the selection but after the first rough pint I could not finish the second.
Having said that the staff were upto their usual friendy witty standard and I will visit again and have another go when in town next time and maybe give a better score.
CambridgeBlue - 4 May 2010 13:02
Ten ales, relaxed, friendly staff, usually good music placed (not too loud), occasional music and lots of foreign bottled beers.
Killian42 - 2 May 2010 15:11
This was the first pub we tried on our short trip in December 09. We weren't disappointed in this pub, or the other great Cambridge pubs we discovered.

My other favourites being: The Champion of the Thames, The St Radegund, The Free Press, The Live and Let Live and finally ... The Cambridge Blue.

Just like nmckenn 4 April 2010, New Model Army was also blasting out during my visit. Made me feel old, as I hadn't heard it since I was about 19 in 1989.

Agree with all the comments abot how relaxed and friendly it is ... especially the bar staff.

When the barmaid recommended a wheat beer for me, she offered to buy it off me if I didn't like it, because she liked it so much. How often do you encounter service like that.

Lovely little back street boozer.

I'm planning another Summer Cambridge weekend and this pub will certainly get revisited.

Try it.

Pat_Bateman - 23 Apr 2010 14:17
I visited for the first time last Saturday on the way to seeing Hayes lose at the Abbey Stadium.
It's a great pub with a wide selection of beer - the IPA was very nice indeed.
Both the girl serving and the fellow customers (and dog) were very friendly.
I would definitely visit again next time I'm in Cambridge.

TheBeerMonkey - 23 Apr 2010 12:49
A great pub. Firendly staff and great beer. When I visited on a saturday lunchtime ( well, late morning if I'm being honest ) it was the perfect place to sit and read the paper. The barmaid had great taste in music too ( there's not many pubs where you get New Model Army ). Good range of beers on offer too.
nmckenn - 4 Apr 2010 22:34
Ten beers - really nice Springhead was my choice but many others looked tempting. Advertises Hairy bar staff and sems to be a bit hippified which was just fine by me! we arrived mid powercut on saturday afternoon and there was a good crowd making their way through the ales on tap. Great boozer.
hairy_hippo - 9 Mar 2010 23:14
Probably gets my nomination as "most-improved pub" in Cambridge, though even as a straight Charlie Wells pub, it wasn't that bad. Nicely placed by footpaths between Parker's Piece and what was known as the Kite. The beer and drinks menu (on a folder on the bar) gives the customer a great description of what's on offer, and as well as the consistent Banks and Taylor and beers from the Wells & Youngs list, the guest beers are often rather interesting and always well-served. Friendly staff and clinentele, and comfortable long single bar. Stop off here on your walk between the bus station and the Mill Road trio or coming into town from the railway station.
Arctium_lappa - 7 Feb 2010 18:15
Congratulations on another excellent welcome and beer range during an all too brief visit between Christmas and New Year. Very friendly barmaid who looked after us and steered us in the direction of some real hits. Shefford Dark Mild was like uncovering a creek of pure gold. Lovely stuff and will be back soon to sample the forest of handpumps. You run a great pub with cracking service....
realalemadness - 5 Jan 2010 19:12
I like this place. A lot. First of all the range of ale is fantastic, having something like 10 handpumps with a different (and usually very good) beer on. One thing to note however is that I know about three people who've had a dodgy pint here and been quite ill so be careful. Best to give it a good sniff and if you think it's funny take it back to the bar, where the friendly (and very, very knowledgable) barstaff will help you out. There is also an excellent range of belgian beers so there's a lot of choice. I've been to this pub rather a lot and I think I've probably had something different every time which speaks volumes for the choice on offer.

Atmosphere is good, quite traditional lay out and no annoying piped music. There are also books and bored games on offer. Customers tend to be a mix of locals and the kind of students who know what a good drinking establishment is all about. It's perhaps a little "clique-y", more so in my opinion than the Cambridge Blue, a place which often has this label attached to it. However this is not enough to put me off such a fine establishment!
thaymouse - 21 Oct 2009 21:15
Smallish traditional back street pub close to the Free Press ( just reviewed ) .

A blackboard outside welcomed me with the message "great beer, no food, angry barstaff" , although on leaving the pub later, I noted a Charles Wells sign indicating that "freshly prepared food" is available.

The hanging pub sign indicates that the Elm Tree is a Wells House, but the etched windows ( and a message inside the beer menu ) suggest that it is a B& T House ( formerly known as Banks and Taylor ) .

The friendly landlord - not "angry" in any way - explained to me that its leased to B & T by Wells. As part of the agreement, they are obliged to stock 3 Wells beers - on my recent lunchtime visit, these were Courage Best, Waggledance and Youngs Kew Gold ( a beer incidentally that I've not seen on draught before ). There were 3 B & T beers on, plus several guests which included Milton Sparta and a beer from Allgates. Belgian and German beers are also available. Both the B& T Shefford Bitter and the Milton Sparta were in excellent condition.

It's a smallish single bar pub with a fine collection of brewery memorabilia - posters, mirrors, enamel signs etc - including from breweries long gone ( eg - an enamel sign for Royston Fine Ales, The Swan ).

There's some outside seats in an alleyway.

I really liked this one - it's well worth seeking out and, unlike many Cambridge pubs, it stays open throughout the afternoon.
JohnBonser - 10 Aug 2009 12:40
Interesting back street boozer. Plenty of choice of ales, however my 'Lazy Landlord' was not right so I swapped to B&T bitter. Good to see the real landlord, who was definitely no lazy taking such an interest in his beers.
Sandman1 - 3 Aug 2009 16:52
Mistaken about it being a G,k place a while back. Looking at internet it used to be a Charles wells pub and now leased from them by banks and taylor!!

Well done for remembering their beers? but not the one cider??
howardb - 8 Jun 2009 18:32
Very enjoyable visit yesterday, good range of ale on the ten handpumps, friendly and well informed barman, fairly eclectic soundtrack at background volume. I recall this pub from a Cambridge jaunt a few years ago when it was a fairly run of the mill GK outlet and music venue. It now has a relaxed, slightly bohemian feel, decor is mainly old tin signs plus other artifacts including the Hobgoblin. A sign outside states that the pub is a football free zone, so no TV/Sky Sports in here. Shelves contain a few board games and old copies of the GBG and other beer books.A broad selection of Belgian beer too, with menus on the tables.
Yesterday's selection was, Banks and Taylor Dragonslayer, Shefford Bitter and Shefford Dark Mild, Sharps Atlantic IPA, Oldershaw First Class Bitter, Nottm Rock Bitter, Oakleaf " I can't Believe its not Bitter" ( a cask lager), plus staples Wells Bombardier, Youngs Bitter and Courage Directors. A cider was on behind the bar too, but I didn't record the name. Highly recommended.
Maldenman - 27 Apr 2009 09:16
Again, my review was removed. Thankyou. A truthful review. Unfortunately it seems there are some on here that do not want negative reports about this pub!!!
howardb - 30 Mar 2009 11:00
Probably already in the top 10 specialist beer pubs in the UK (up there with the Pembury and the Grove), given its fantastic real ale and Belgian range. Not seen the custom to support the real ales yet but hopefully will follow. A lovely homely pub as well, and has now introduced simple but good food. Manager and staff are brilliant. On the down side, expensive Belgian beers reflect Cambridge costs and euro exchange rates, and I can't take my children which limits my visits.
mtaylor40 - 25 Dec 2008 00:49
A saturday afternoon visit while shopping in town. As usual a very good selection of ales on offer. No food available which is a shame. Bar staff very friendly and helpful when trying to decide which of the ales to try.
If you like your Ale or your strange forign bottled beers and do not want a pub with a big screen TV this is the place for you. Who needs a TV when you can play one of the many baodr games they have.
CambridgeBlue - 10 Nov 2008 11:54
Friendly, very pleasant pub with impressive range of ales and bottled beers. Selection seemed especially good, aimed both at quality and breadth across different styles. Tasting notes are provided for the 30 or so bottled beers (which include a variety of unusual ones, Belgians especially). Piped music but it was quiet enough to be unobtrusive.

Staff were making a real effort to make everyone happy, making very good suggestions to customers who were not quite sure where to start given the wide range of choices.

One of the best pubs I've visited.... well done!
dpv - 8 Sep 2008 13:56
A friendly pub with lots of ales and Belgium beers available, amongst others. Worth seeking out.
blamm - 8 Sep 2008 12:44
Review refers visit 28Jul, apologies to Rob for delayed posting.
Banks&Taylor – Edwin Taylor’s Extra Stout, Black Dragon Mild, Shefford Bitter, Hydes Eager Beaver, Blakemere Navajo, Red Rose ‘Old Ben’, Downton Olympic Flame, Wells Eagle, Youngs Best, Directors. Compulsory stocking of a B&T range and other mainstream staples limits, to a degree, the more unusual offerings from micros, but I’m sure a good rotational policy will maintain an interesting choice under expert care. A single-roomed pub, wood floored around bar, carpetted beyond in main seating area, a small raised ‘stage’(?) nr door. Furniture comprises wood/cast-iron tables, wooden benches & chairs, cushioned stools. Decorated with breweriana, mirrors, tin advertising plaques, high shelves filled with old bottles, glasses, flagons etc. Easy-listening background soundtrack (13:30). Games ‘corner’ offers draughts, scrabble, chess etc. The bottle menu leads with a welcome note, nice touch, and tasting notes accompany the Belgian & German selection. ‘Double Vision’ cider is served from a vat behind the bar, ‘L’ drinkers can choose between Erdinger & Red Stripe. No food, but willing directions given by friendly barman to a customer seeking an eaterie. That barman was Dom, who, along with Jo, joined Rob from Reading in this new venture: buy yourself another pint if you can spot the ‘souvenir’ that accompanied them in the journey from the Hobgoblin. A comfortable drinking pub with a good beer choice in the hands of proper ale lovers, I enjoyed meeting them & having a chat over some beers. They said to ignore ‘elmtreepubdotcodotuk’ as it’s well out of date & the jazz has moved elsewhere, but looking at it today shows bands still listed for future dates? Oh, & I have to mention the Indian guy who was here on my visit & explained that he was spending his redundancy touring on a motorbike and camping in a tent whilst ticking off GBG pubs – outstanding!
trainman - 22 Aug 2008 12:56
We enjoyed our recent visit to The Elm Tree. A great selection of ale on the ten hand pumps. Met Rob the new landlord who I had previously chatted to on the BITE FORUMS. Rob told me about Banks and Taylor’s approaching him when he was at The Hobgoblin in Reading. Wells and Young’s still own the pub but B&T now own the lease. The only condition that Rob has is that he has to stock three B&T beers and also three Wells and Young’s beers. The other four hand pumps are constantly changing. He always tries to make one of those a dark ale. The pub also stocks a number of continental beers and had some rare American beers in the fridge. The two bar maids seemed a good laugh and the other customers were friendly.
Love_good_ale - 2 Jul 2008 01:00
Cracking range of real ale. New landlord has come from the Hobgoblin in Reading apparently so knows his ale. Seemed a friendly pub where people go to enjoy good beer and have a chat.
Rod_Hariga - 1 Jul 2008 20:50
Upon recommendation, I called in here after falling out of the Cambridge Beer Festival a couple of weeks ago.
With due respect to Bunter, this pub is just what Cambridge needs - another proper real ale outlet within 500yds of the city centre!
And open all day!

79Thatcherite - 7 Jun 2008 01:46
Newley refurbished and under mew management.
What a sight to behold, 10 Ale Hand pumps on the bar and 7 of them ales that I have not seen around Cambridge before.
An excellent stopping off point for a quick ale or stop and sample the whole lot.
CambridgeBlue - 2 Jun 2008 10:11

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