skip nav  

Eagle, Cambridge

back to pub details

user reviews of the Eagle, Cambridge

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

Interesting historic pub, but, it's clearly on the "must see" list of tourists so no chance of a nice peaceful pint!
Aztecgoat - 6 Nov 2016 08:58
An interesting old pub but GK I'm afraid. GK seems to have cornered the market in Cambridge and around. There are many better pubs - if you can find one that's open that is.
jennyjohnson - 25 Oct 2016 16:15
Clearly a historical pub, but with historical bits added that don't really seem to be historical (if you know what I mean). Range of Geene King & other brewery beers, my one was fine. Very much a tourist pub though. Whatever you do, don't sit at the table in front of the Watson & Crick photos, otherwise you'll have people gawping at you (or through you anyway).
Wilson_MacDonald - 11 Sep 2016 13:34
Interesting from a historical point of view with the Watson & Crick connection as well as the graffiti on the ceiling. Couple of ales I hadn't seen before from Somerset although steep as over £4 a pint.
DuchyBoy - 3 May 2016 13:56
No visible price list for drinks: that's very, very poor service with regards to tourists, the principal customers of this establishment.

Famous for its association with Crick and Watson former customers and discoverers of the structure of DNA.

Food not great, acceptable I suppose. Pubs have forgotten how to make real home made food.

Price for 4 meals plus 2 beers and 2 cokes £51
mycetes - 23 Dec 2015 08:29
My late Uncle Bill studied in Cambridge in the 1950s, a bit of an achievement for an Australian in those penny pinching days, so a visit to the town was included in this year's pub crawl to honour his passing. I like to think he would have had a beer or three in this fine old pub but that is unknown. I did however, a Greene King IPA (3.40) which was satisfactory. Service was aloof, & perhaps this can be explained by the arrogant stupidity of a group of tourists (including out of control children) who, without ordering anything, wandered about treating the drinkers, furniture & fittings as objects to be scoffed at. One impertinent brat, rightly refused service when at the bar sans adult, went cyclonic & the missing adult suddenly appeared in high dudgeon. Funny in a train smash kind of way but ruined my solemn sipping.
Queenslander - 7 Nov 2015 21:22
With it's hubbub and wooden panelling I really like this as a pub to go to before heading off to a gig at the nearby Corn Exchange. The staff are always good and pull a good pint. There's a nice selection of beers - albeit GK in origin - with Brewdog Punk IPA on tap. Their own Eagle something beer is obviously a GK beer too, so don't be fooled.
littledrummerboy - 18 Nov 2014 15:56
Pub much bigger than it looks & so easy to lose someone in there - it's a good old fashioned pub with a good range of ales - some were GK but I had a good pint of Colchester Red Diesel. Not overly busy on Saturday afternoon.
Booze_Allen - 10 Apr 2013 18:09
Went to this pub on a Sunday afternoon recently
yes it was packed, heaving actually, went right through twice before finding a table.
Good choice of beer, mine was nice.
Good choice of food, we had snacks, and they were good. Also arrived much quicker than expected.
Yes, it is a tourist place, and so it should be, it is great to visit a place with so much history. Actually I was a tourist too, but I expect to be spending a lot more time in Cambridge and I will certainly revisit this place.
I find it gratifying to go into a pub that is doing so well, unlike the many that are unfortunately closing down
HSBplease - 4 Dec 2012 15:58
Friday evening at 5pm...busy but enough seats. Great atmosphere and efficient service: so will return.
caliwag - 1 Dec 2012 11:43
the photo at the top doesn't do this place justice. very nice pub. good selection of ales. their house ale was top quality. good food too
juninhocrunch - 29 May 2012 11:26
Despite being very busy the food came really quickly (much quicker than the 30mins we were told it would be) and was very nice. The food is surprisingly well priced. It would be nice to go back when it isnt quite so busy. The outdoor seating is nice if the weather suits.
CanalWalker - 21 Jun 2010 11:30
JohnBonser's review from August 2009 is very fair. Yes, at the wrong time you'll feel hemmed in and of course it doesn't have the personality that a pub with a landlord/landlady might have, and it IS pricey. But the building is attractive and interesting, the beers very well kept and the food not at all bad. As tourist pubs go, not a bad one.
Arctium_lappa - 7 Feb 2010 20:08
This is a tourist pub, that is an average pub, that is probably not worth the trouble unless you like faceless places without atmosphere (literatly, it gets very hot crowded and sweaty inside). Although it does have a nice courtyard to sit in.
The_Ace - 12 Nov 2009 21:56
Describing itself as the most famous pub in Cambridge, the Eagle is a largish bustling pub with a warren of interconnecting different seating areas, including a shady courtyard.

It's a reasonably characterful City Centre pub, very popular with tourists seemingly, enjoying a standard pub lunch menu in the main ( eg - Steak and Ale Pie - � 7.45p, Fish and Chips - � 6.95p )

The pub dates back to 1525 and is owned by Corpus Christi College, leased to Greene King. Of particular note internally is the RAF bar with much wartime memorabilia, in particular the ceiling which is covered with the names and squadron numbers of World War 2 airmen, written using cigarette lighters and lipstick apparently.

It's a Greene King pub and this pub had the biggest range of GK beers seen for some time. I had a pint of Cambridge University Ale 1209, the official octocentennial ale brewed to celebrate 800 years of the University.There was a guest on - Piddle Express from the Wyre Piddle Brewery.

Perhaps surprisingly, this pub is one of 8 Cambridge pubs selected by Greene King to participate in their Cambridge Gallon Challenge. Visit all 8 in a period of a fortnight and get a free T shirt - wow !

The previous BITE reviews here are rather mixed, but if you're a first time visitor to Cambridge and you like a bit of history with your pint, I'd suggest it's worth calling in on.
JohnBonser - 10 Aug 2009 17:31
An iconic Cambridge pub in a prime location, always packed. Which means the folks who run it can rest on their laurels. I'd like to have had the option of something besides Green King IPA on a busy evening last Tuesday.

Ok pub. Could be great.

SillyPoint - 14 May 2009 14:37
A 'must' to take visitors to Cambridge to, with its RAF bar, double helix connections and picturesque coaching inn gallery. A lot of locals do seem to use it at lunchtime, in spite of rather high prices and slow service. For plain good-value beer and food at lunchtime I prefer the place next door in Bene't Street.
wuzatar - 14 Feb 2009 17:33
Visited this pub over xmas whilst down in Cambridge. Loads of history, definitely worth a second visit. Found staff to be friendly and helpful. Good food menu and prompt service. Ten out of Ten.
Jamesriley - 20 Jan 2009 21:46
This pub, with it's "we're really important, so we sometimes have a fat man outside deciding whether we're full or not" attitude, needs to sort itself out.
It has long been a popular place to go for people of all ages, but at busy periods, they still serve all the pretty girls with the revealing tops before anyone else.
I am only ever in here because people I know are, never through choice.

One tip at busy times- as soon as you get your beer, start queuing for another one.
Poorly managed, profit-driven place. Beer adequate.
quietriot - 17 Jan 2009 10:13
Historic old pub owned by Corpus Christi since 1525. The ceiling of the RAF Bar has the names and squadron numbers of RAF & USAF in WW2. Unfortunately it is under Greene Kings beer control. Four hand pumps; IPA, Abbott, O/S/H and thank goodness a genuine guest. It has a notice up offering a historic guided tour although I don't think they would appreciate requests at busy times.
Love_good_ale - 2 Jul 2008 22:52
Very old pub with a lot of history and an interesting story (including the RAF bar at the back) - I would imagine that it would attract the tourists. Reverand James was the only alternative to GK here though.
Rod_Hariga - 1 Jul 2008 20:34
Certainly one of the better places to get a beer in Cambridge. Plenty of history, and a nice feel to the place inside.

Couple of drawbacks:

1) Greedy King beer. So bland, so lifeless, so ubiquitous in Cambridge.

2) Not much room a lot of the time. But that's just the way it is - a victim of its own success.

Although it's very close to the corn exchange, so good for pre-gig pint (assuming you can get to the bar).

Worth a visit for the history value.
Quinno - 31 May 2008 12:50
So many tourists in one little pub. Small courtyard with tables and no chance of a seat let alone a drink from the bar.

CambridgeBlue - 12 May 2008 12:01
Its a Greene King pub full of tourists in the middle of Cambridge worth stopping for a pint sitting in the courtyard but no big deal.Still its much better than the pub next door now that is bad.
hogshead - 3 Mar 2008 11:15
Theologians, eh? Crick and Watson? Well, maybe, after a few pints of Abbot....
earlydrinker - 25 Jan 2008 23:37
DATE OF VISIT: 28/11/07

After much walking around finding somewhere to eat and rest my feet I decided to take my chance and pay a visit to the Eagle. On the outside there is a notice proclaiming that theologians Crick and Watson frequented there on a regular basis. As there were lots of people there it's usually a good sign of a good pub though it was a bit difficult getting a table because of this.

Got myself a pint of XNXX (I think?) which was �2.90 and grabbed some steak and ale pie from the servery which came �6.75. The food was very nice and you can ask them to pile it up if you wanted. Went and sat in the RAF room which is adorned with flying photos and WWII memorabelia. Apparantly The Eagle was refurbished about 15 years ago but fortunately has still got plenty of character. The toilets were reasonably clean and the staff friendly. There is a courtyard area has patio heaters for all the smokers.

Would I go again should I ever visit Cambridge another time? Yes and I would recommend a visit as it's perfectly situated for the city centre shopping and historical part of Cambridge. For me, it ticked all the right boxes but as I was desperate for somewhere to eat and sit down it's fair to say that I was easily pleased...
wezmiester - 30 Nov 2007 19:07
I visited the great looking pub at late lunchtime, so I understand that the atmosphere would be better of an evening.
My first impression was marred by two small children running around shrieking. I am not fond of foreign staff in English pubs as is now the norm, and the Eagle was no different, having a Rumanian barman. The employee who clears the tables was kind enough to take and collect my food order.
I ordered Chicken Curry. Now from my experiences, curry is a hot spicy dish. What I got could at best be described as slightly peppery. It couldn't make it's mind up if it was curry or chicken supreme. When I commented on the dish's lack of curryness, I was told the chef was Polish, as if that served to explain everything (shades of Fawltey Towers). I was hungry so I ate it. A big mistake. I have just about recovred from the gastro.intestinal nightmare that followed. Nobody would stand near me for three days. The other diners around me (yes, diners not drinkers)were mostly foreign tourists, including some Koreans who photographed everything, bless 'em! Revisit? Yes, but only for the decor.

Cibalia - 24 Nov 2007 07:07
This pub is right in the centre of Cambridge very close to the oldest colleges. It is therefore very much used by Undergraduates and Tourists. It was a coaching inn. It also has an outdoor area (courtyard) that was used for outdoor plays. the courtyard is overlooked by balconies from where the audience watched.
Much other history as mentioned above. Worth a visit for the atmosphere. Gets very crowded especially during term times and the tourist season.
The food is passable and the beer is good.
Rhode_Runner - 9 Oct 2007 13:32
I wish I could like this pub more but I don't.

The main problem is that is so crowded of an evening that finding a seat can be a real impossibility, hell even getting in is a challenge, and on each of my visits there has only been GK beers (no guest ales). GK is ok but not spectacular (that's GK's fault, not the Eagle's). But what is having the bar staff dressed like scruffy schoolkids supposed to be about? Not keen on the way the pub is cleared out in snowplough style at closing time either.

I'd like the chance to go in and explore this pub; take time to appreciate the history and character of it - if I could buy it then I would lock everybody else out for an hour each day, just me and my mates having a nice quiet drink; sadly never been possible on any occasion that I've visited.
Drinking_Bull - 9 Jul 2007 17:26
There was a time when I wouldn't have dreamt of visiting Cambridge without a few pints at The Eagle; bugger Crick and Watson, Clive James (and even the Rev. James) - it was just one of the greatest pubs in the world.
The refit may be sympathetic -it probably is -but it's not the same place now, and ,like Lord Radlington, these days if I'm in the middle of town, I tend to take a 5 minute walk to The Champion.
earlydrinker - 1 Jul 2007 22:09
O yes. Big history. Big character. Sympathetic refit keeps the layout of the rooms and retains much of the original charm. Lots of stuff to see. The ceiling in the RAF room, the original painted walls from 1500s, the many fire-places - so much to entertain. Greene King beers served in good condition, and a rotating guest (Rev James on our visit). Highly recommended. A must visit pub due to the significant history - most important of which, of course, is that the first public announcement of the discovery of DNA was made here.
SilkTork - 27 May 2007 11:16
A great pub. Drinking here is a real pleasure with several interesting nooks and crannies adding to the experience.

Some eccentric student types add to the atmosphere - one of the few pubs in Britain where under 25 year olds can be seen smoking a pipe!

Not a big fan of Greene King but the beers are perfectly good and seem to be well kept.

boozerbill - 14 May 2007 08:58
The Food was warm and hearty. The Staff was pleasant and helpful. The atmosphere was steeped in history. I could only imagine how the American flyers felt while having ther pint(s). Thanks for the great service.
tatrimble - 30 Nov 2006 23:30
I don't usually place comments but am compelled to do so in this instance, as I am amazed by some of the negative comments previously posted. I was in Cambridge for a week in August 2006 and ate and drank regularly at The Eagle. The food was excellent and fairly priced, the portions were enormous (you really should try the huge cod)!. The staff were friendly and helpful, and were obviously enjoying their work. There was at times up to 40 minutes wait for food in the evenings but, this was to be expected considering how busy they were. A truly enjoyable visit and I will surely return!
anonymous - 22 Sep 2006 21:26
overrated. poor staff and average beer BUT good location and building. a must for the cambridge crawl but with all the inevitability of prostate cancer.
colinqueen - 24 May 2006 01:52
No, the front bar is where the toilets USED to be. Wouldn't be worthy of comment normally, but they were very minging toilets.....and sorta famous, cos they'd been on telly
dodgy - 30 Apr 2006 00:24
This is a really fun pub I like to go is always on the list when me and my friends have a crawl. There are lots of smaller rooms to sit and talk and drink the hour away. The courtyard is really nice and I was told by a reliable source that it is where the announcement of the dicovery of DNA was first made public as they toasted their newly acquired knowledge. I don't know what the other user was talking about, drinking in the front bar where the toilets are...the toilets are down the stairs, quite removed.
anonymous - 29 Apr 2006 10:16
I grew up in this pub practically, started drinking in it when I was 15 (sorry, I'm sure no one is going to get done for it 20 years down the track). It is a very different place now than it was then, and most aren't aware (especially looking at the comments) that it was subject to a very big refit (if you ever see old episodes of Porterhouse Blue where Zipser sits in the courtyard waiting to dash into the toilets - where the front bar now is - to get condoms you'll see what I mean). And as far as we were aware back then Corpus Christi were all for getting rid of the pub but the planners wouldn't give permission for change of use; but I digress, this isn't supposed to be a nostalgia trip

What is the Eagle now is a decent bustling city centre pub which serves its market very well indeed. The food is OK but a bit corporate, and the kitchen does struggle to cope; I too would stick to the beer, which is kept reasonably well. The big sell here is of course the history, which is undeniable. The pub these days is much more corporate and less scruffy than it used to be, but that's OK for what it is. I wish they made more of the courtyard though - a lovely place to sit in summer, you used to have to go through it to get from bar to bar, which made it more of a hub with a buzzy atmosphere

Oh, and don't go in the front bar - who wants to drink in the toilets? ;-)
dodgy - 17 Apr 2006 21:18
Sorry to buck the trend, but I have to say that I had an awful Sunday lunch at the Eagle last weekend. The food was overpriced, and the staff were embarrassingly offhand. My advice is go to the Eagle, admire the RAF stuff, then find somewhere else to eat.
AG_20 - 6 Mar 2006 09:42
Famous and deservedly so, though if the RAF bar wartime graffiti hasn't been embellished then my name is The Red Baron. They barred Greaves, purportedly on account of his drunkenness, but in fact I think he was scaring the tourists unused to seeing such an unusual driniking style. Grab a seat in the courtyard on a summer afternoon and seethe with envy at the Corpus Christi students who can call this 'home'.
iceinthecider - 24 Feb 2006 13:03
Indeed a decent pub but, in my opinion, mainly on account of the building itself. I must admit I haven't visited the Eagle in some time due to my preference for smaller pubs. When/if in Cambridge centre, my personal recommendation would be to visit the St Radegund and/or the Champion Of The Thames (both on King St).
lord_radlington - 14 Dec 2005 13:02
Beautiful pub; a tribute to the owners, Corpus Christi College, who ignored financial advice to turn it into offices, and instead refurbished it very well.

Always heaving with students and tourists. Beer reliable but not cheap. Staff are all young, and reliably rude when gettting rid of customers at - or rather before - drinking up time. So sadly a slightly corporate feel, as is probably inevitable with a large, famous, busy pub. But there is nothing else to touch it in the centre of Cambridge (possibly saying more about the centre of Cambridge than about the Eagle).
sir_despard - 3 Dec 2005 23:44
Great Ale Pie and good beer make for a superb combination. Crowded but not crushed. Interesting history makes for plenty of chat. Staff friendly & helpful. Quck service. A lovely pub.
laphroaig - 16 Nov 2005 15:17
Excellent - great food, historic pub, all-around good place. Ale and cider well-kept and presented.
hereward - 10 Aug 2005 02:02
Quite touristy for historic reasons (DNA discovered there; popular with WWII pilots), but a nice old pub in any case. The courtyard gets very busy on Sunday days. The food is unexceptional, canteen standard stuff, but the beer is tastier.
rah - 2 Jun 2005 14:28
great place, really impressed. you can smell the history. any local will know but for those just browsing it was apparently the boozer of choice for Francis Crick and James Watson, the chaps that mapped out the structure of DNA.

was there Saturday, and enjoyed some great ales and a great atmosphere. my evening was only partially ruined by an offensive londoner completely off his skull on whisky who started spitting at other drinkers. that is disgusting and unacceptable behaviour and, sad to say, he wasn't asked to leave by any of the bar staff.

that aside, a lovely pub that combines towny intelect with a more rustic feel.
anonymous - 30 Mar 2005 15:20
A pub at its best! I turned up in Cambridge with a mate to see a gig at the Corn Exchange, we were several hours early and at a loose end and found ourselves feeling rather thirsty!! Having never been to Cambridge before we were unsure where to go, we wanted to find a good local! The first person I asked recommend the Eagle, what a stroke of luck! A really good, traditional, friendly pub with a really interesting history! After sinking several jars we headed to the gig, and managed to make it back for a couple more at last orders! If you�re at a loose end in Cambridge, you now have a solution!
cannon1882 - 22 Feb 2005 12:49
A year or so ago I would have recommended the food at the Eagle very highly (as it had been to me). Since then, I have eaten there twice and have been disappointed that high quality food was no longer to be expected. Last night (24 Oct 04)I had sausage and mash; my friend had a steak. The sausages were over cooked and lacked flavour (a year ago I had the same and was amazed). My friend's steak looked and tasted like the final burnt offering from a pyromaniac's barbecue. However, they are quite good at beer: I had a very nice pint of Old Speckled Hen.
Rick - 24 Sep 2004 12:44
Has some excellent features... the location, facade and what remains of the RAF bar. Unfortunately now a formulaic Greene King house. Average beer, average food.
Mark - 7 Sep 2004 18:02
I was a barman at The Eagle in 1996-1997 while my wife was doing her PhD at Cambridge. Though pub work is not all that glamorous (no, REALLY!), I have nothing but fanatastic memories of the place and I wouldn't give up the experience for anything. The Eagle has a magical atmosphere, paricularly in the "RAF" bar (tourists sometimes would actually ask where the famous ceiling noted above "came from"), and in the courtyard (we used to tell the tourists that the old coach numbers painted high on the courtyard walls were an old landlords winning lottery numbers). Peter Hill, the landlord while I was there, kept a truly lovely Abbot Ale, which I long for to this day. We had an amazing group of regulars and staff who kept things fun and lively. I live in California now, but I often think fondly of my days at the Eagle. Come to think of it, I think it's time to home-brew some cask conditioned Abbot for old times' sake!
Justin Black - [email protected] - 25 Apr 2004 08:22
Great atmosphere. Horribly slow food service on a Sunday. I waited so long I decided to set up permenant residence in the queue.
jason - 9 Apr 2004 00:04
Really nice pub. Not the best value for money - but nice inside, nice little traditional nooks and crannies to sit in and the beer selection is good. Food looked a bit dire when we were there - the sort that is sat on a plate ready for you to say "i'll have sausage and mash" and they pull it out warm but soggy and plonk it on the plate in front of you - not appetizing. Though that could have changed. Gets busy - is a fave with people I would say.
Lucy - 20 Feb 2004 13:56
Fantastic interior, great in summer ot sit outside or winter to sit by the fire
Acid Sorceror - 18 Feb 2004 09:46
Almost the best pub in Cambridge (after the Pickerel Inn). Good food and very cosy on a cold day.
anonymous - 16 Jan 2004 19:04
As a resident of Cambridge, this is one of my favourite pubs in the city. Not only, as was previously mentioned, the RAF crews wrote on the ceiling with candle flame, but also with lipstick and charcoal! It isn't, however, cheap, Guinness is about �2.60, one of the most expensive in the city. They have a non-smoking room, which is nice, and although it is a local student haunt, locals do frequent it aswell. The bar staff are very friendly too, although one of them continually used to ask me for ID, and I don't look that young! Watch when you visit though, it get very crowded at the weekend!
Iain - 2 Dec 2003 13:55
I visited last week after England's big win and had great welcome, beer and pasta.

RAF bar is a must for anyone with a sense of history. My dad (B-17 pilot, USAF 381st bomber group) came here many times in '43 with his friends before being shot down over Neth.
Leslie - 26 Nov 2003 14:00
Great Pub for Good old traditional atmosphere. The back end and restaurant area is the famous RAF bar, where pilots and crew from WWII put their names and messages on the ceiling with candle flame! Great pub, gets busy at the weekend but good ales and load of nooks and hideaways to loose yourself in.
Simon - 26 Sep 2003 17:26
I think this was also the pub where Crick and Watson first announced to the world that they'd discovered the structure of DNA and thus the "secret of life" - enough to put it top of my list (they also do a nice pint of IPA!)
Chris - 5 Sep 2003 17:42
Claim to fame: Clive James had student rooms above this pub (see autobiography).
Vindaloo - 16 Aug 2003 08:46
I lost my Wallet in there at Christmas, it was returned with everything intact. Nice to know there is still some honesty in this world
Michael - 8 Aug 2003 14:30
This pub is one of the cosiest and nicest atmospheric pubs in Cambridge. The courtyard is big enough to crowd a few students into and not feel too packed, the inside is MUCH larger than it first appears. The drink is fairly cheap compared to other places and the food is okay.

In the evening it can be very busy but it doesn't get packed out with the students as much as I would have thought it does.
Lucy - 13 Jun 2003 11:13
Really cosy-doesn't feel too large. Gorgeous courtyard. Nice comfortable atmosphere where you can settle down with a drink or three..
anonymous - 2 Apr 2003 21:49
Apparently this is the oldest pub in Cambridge, and it's bloody huge to boot. I visited this pub at opening time, but it certainly feels as if it's a pub that would have a good atmosphere. Being slap in the centre of one of the most famous University campuses in the world probably helps in this regard. There is a restaurant towards the rear of the pub serving decent hearty meals at a fair price.
Loz - [email protected] - 17 Mar 2003 09:49

got anything to say about this pub?

Please read our reviews policy before posting.
Only registered users can post reviews. Please log in. If you don't have an account yet, register here.