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Champion of the Thames, Cambridge

68 King Street
Cambridge
CB1 1LN
Phone: 01223351464

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 7 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines


Moby Duck left this review about Champion of the Thames

A traditional and well lived in two room Greene King pub, It's certainly one of the better Greene King pubs I've been in and not a typical example of the genera. It was obviously a locals favourite and had the feel of a local and definetaly one of the better pubs of the day, My JHB was in reasonable form and I was quite comfortable here.

On 5th May 2024 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1889 recommendations about 1862 pubs]


Steve of N21 left this review about Champion of the Thames

A smallish two room well run community pub just far enough away from the colleges and town centre to be able to avoid the tourist hoards and be the preserve of those in the know.
The late 19th Century wood panelled decor is very deserving of its CAMRA two-star heritage listing and the bare boarded wood-panelled public bar to the left as you enter has some impressive etched window showing the Rowing champion from whom the pub takes its name. The panelled right-hand room was empty on our arrival and just about big enough to squeeze the 12 odd members of the PuG crawl. Sadly, the seating upholstery in this room is in desperate need of some TLC and looks like it hasn’t been reupholstered since the late 19th century.
No hot food available as I do not believe there is a kitchen, but a decent selection of scotch eggs and Pork Pies are to be had. Four ales available from the five pumps on the bar with beers mentioned below and my half of Wolf Sirius Dog Star was very well kept.
We were informed by the landlord of the previous pub that The Champion had just been announced as the local Cambridge and District CAMRA branch as their pub of the year for 2024, but I couldn’t help thinking whilst I sat here, “are you sure?” So much so that I had to Google the local branch web site on my return to indeed find that it was true. The reason given was the pub “has long had a great reputation for the quality of its ales including Abbot Ale and Abbot Reserve which are second to none”. I’m sure there must be more to it than that, otherwise it’s a first for me, a local CAMRA branch awarding a POTY based on the quality of its Greene King ale.
It just proves what a subjective thing this pub reviewing business is. Best pub in the whole of Cambridge? With respect to the wonderful period interior and the excellent community feel, The Champion didn’t even make it into my personal top three for the pubs we visited during our crawl.

On 12th April 2024 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2147 recommendations about 2019 pubs]


Steve C left this review about Champion of the Thames

A CAMRA favourite, The Champion of the Thames is a small local’s boozer that has seen better days, I suppose that adds to the charm. To the left is a bare boarded L-shaped bar with a counter along the rear wall. One of the hand pumps was unused leaving GK Abbot and IPA available alongside Oakham’s JHB and Wolf Brewery’s Sirius Dog Star. Premium and craft keg was also available from the governor who was chatting to a couple of locals at the bar. In the right is a parquet floored room with exposed brick and wood panelled walls. The seating upholstery was very tatty, this pub has certainly been well used. The JHB was decent, but this heathen didn’t take to the pub as much as my comrades.

On 10th April 2024 - rating: 7
[User has posted 5303 recommendations about 5271 pubs]


Tris C left this review about Champion of the Thames

This is a late 19th century pub with a largely unchanged interior, attracting a CAMRA listing of **.
The interior is low ceilinged and wonderfully traditional though some of the upholstery is very tatty indeed, all lapped up by a local crowd.
I had a half of Oakham JHB, paid for by BF so I don’t know the price.
This is a lovely place, worth including on a crawl and perhaps worthy of a prolonged stay.

On 8th April 2024 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2009 recommendations about 1975 pubs]


Graham Coombs left this review about Champion of the Thames

A very traditional little pub with two rooms, at time of visit at least occupied mainly by locals rather than students or tourists. The listed building has a timeless sort of feel, helped by the lack of electronic noise. On handpump were Greene King Abbot and IPA, Oakham JHB and Wolf Sirius Dog Star.

On 7th April 2024 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3353 recommendations about 3290 pubs]


Will Larter left this review about Champion of the Thames

On a previous visit to Cambridge I missed going to this pub, but I can't remember if this was due to time being short or just the avoidance of Greene King pubs. Nowadays I'm usually on the look out for pubs on Camra's list of heritage interiors, of which this is a two star example, so I was definitely going to do it this time. I'm glad I did, because, as my notes made at the time tell me, it was a lovely pub, and friendly and welcoming too. It retains a mostly unaltered 19th century interior, and five hand pumps on the bar. Two of them were Greene King (Abbot and IPA), plus Butcombe Bitter, Oakham JHB and Woild Moild from Wolf brewery, just across the border near Attleborough. I went for the latter, partly because I like a mild, but also because I wanted to try out my Norfolk accent. The lass behind the bar said that it was very good. And the beer was very good too (NBSS 3.5) and I liked the pub too. If only Cambridge didn't have so many really good pubs, I could have stayed here longer.

Date of visit: 28th February 2024

On 3rd April 2024 - rating: 8
[User has posted 3795 recommendations about 3523 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Old Boots left this review about Champion of the Thames

GBG 2022 listed Greene King pub, Abbot and IPA on plus Oakham JHB and Taylor’s Boltmaker, I just missed the Green Devil. Two old fashioned woody rooms with low ceilings, bench seating and square wooden tables, although with a laminate floor. Pumps are in the larger room, there’s a smaller room to the right with just a small hatch like counter. A good mix of customers with a group of rugby types in the big room and mostly middle aged couples in the smaller one, the reason may look obvious but a lack of seating shouldn’t be ruled out. More younger people arrived later and the staff were very good, I liked the place. I couldn’t remember if I’d been there many years before or not, it didn’t look familiar and it’s the kind of place that probably doesn’t change much over the years.

On 25th July 2022 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 3284 recommendations about 2990 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Bucking Fastard left this review about Champion of the Thames

A very authentic small boozer tied to Greene King but with an interior worthy of inspection.The apex door gives access to a square tap room with a real fireplace,wooden floor,attractive carved wooden bar and lots of etched glass windows.There is also a side snug with it's own small bar access ,very charming with a couple of alcoves where you can settle in.The small size means conversation can flow easily and the barman is an engaging figure creating a friendly atmosphere.
I was in just after the 3pm opening but telephone bookings were coming in thick and fast ,this maybe necessary as the evening wears on,there are just 11 tables of sizes up to 6,overall theoretical capacity 35 but a single person on a 6 seater will reduce actual capacity .
GK Abbott and IPA with a single guest in St Austell Tribute (NBSS 3) with a couple more pulls unused,so not an exciting range from this 2021 GBG entry.However worth a visit for the listed interior and boozer vibe.

On 22nd October 2020 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2748 recommendations about 2748 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Rex Rattus left this review about Champion of the Thames

This is still a Greene King pub, so the ale choice wasn't as exciting as some Cambridge pubs, but it did have on GK Abbot, Black Sheep Bitter, Hogsback TEA and Brain's Rev James. That's not too bad. I didn't see any sign of food on Saturday afternoon, but they apparently do food, even though I gather that the menu's a bit limited.

This pub is on CAMRA's Regional Inventory of pubs with historic interiors. This is mainly because of the separate room on the right, separated from the main room on the left by some original (if fairly plain by Victorian standards) glazed screening. The bar counter's Victorian as well, but the bar back looks a more modern piece of work.

The pub itself is still fairly unpretentious I'm glad to say, with plain normal tables and chairs, and the panelling on the walls still it's proper brown wood colour and not painted gastro grey. The one stand out thing about my visit was the presence of a ferret sitting in a chap's lap at the counter. I've never seen that sort of thing in London pubs.

You will find many pubs in Cambridge with a better ale selection, but this still seems to be a fairly down to earth pub. I enjoyed my brief visit here.

On 20th October 2019 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2606 recommendations about 2520 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Rob Hunter left this review about Champion of the Thames

Not a bad pub, but just bear in mind it is a Greene King place, so nothing very exciting on the ale front. Five cask pumps at the time of my visit offering Greene King IPA, St Austell Tribute, Gem by Bath and can't remember the others. I had the Gem which set me back £2.30 for a half - a bit on the expensive side I thought.

The left hand room as you come in is where the bar is, and is quite traditional. I didn't go into the room on the right. A real fire was going, which was perhaps a bit unnecessary on a bright day in May, but nice nonetheless.

A couple of chaps at the bar were having pork pies and the barmaid was hand washing pots under the bar. Service was friendly and welcoming. Nice and traditional but more expensive than the Cambridge Brew House that I had just come from. The beer was possibly a bit on the warm side, and the selection was not that great. Worth a look if you like old traditional pubs, but probably the kind of place I would go to once and not feel a need to go back to.

On 17th May 2018 - rating: 6
[User has posted 761 recommendations about 606 pubs]

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