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The Free Press, Cambridge

7 Prospect Row
Phone: 01223368337

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

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Rex Rattus left this review about The Free Press

The ale selection in here was pretty good - Greene King Abbot; GK XX (a rarely seen mild); Skinner's Cornish Knocker; St Austell Tribute; Woodford Wherry; and something from Redemption. Food is clearly a major player in here, as most people were eating during our Saturday afternoon visit. Ham, egg & chips is £8, fish & chips is £12, and a new one on me was the pulled jackfruit pie (topped with mash) at £12. The barman said that I wouldn't be able to tell the jackfruit from chicken pie - I didn't believe him and went for the cheese & chutney sandwich at a reasonable £4.50.

This is also on CAMRA's Regional Inventory of pubs with historic interiors. Even though most of the fittings aren't original, it still retains the tiny snug at the back on the left. All over the pub there are are small shelving units (old print trays according to the Pub Heritage Group) in which customers place messages, business cards, and the like. I've never seen that before. There were also framed WWII newspapers as decor. It's also clearly dog friendly. At one stage a dog hurled itself at the door to open it, ran to the bar counter and placed his paws on it as an indication that the barman should reward him with a doggy treat. The barman duly obliged whereupon the furry missile sat in the middle of floor to devour his treat, until his breathless owner eventually made his way to the pub to reclaim his hairy chum.

Even though this pub appears to be food led (at least on Saturday afternoon) it still apears to be a traditional pub. I would be very happy to visit this one again.

On 20th October 2019 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2599 recommendations about 2513 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about The Free Press

On our visit we met a friendly local, along with his dog sitting by the coal fire in the main front bar. The student barmaid was also friendly and chatty and what with a choice of eight pumps including one cider, this was a difficult one to leave. There is a tiny snug leading off the main room, which has a record of holding 64 people in it at one time. Goodards Fuggle De Dum was our choice on the day.

On 11th March 2016 - rating: 8
[User has posted 3090 recommendations about 3090 pubs]

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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about The Free Press

Another one of Cambridge's excellent back-street locals - this one retaining a multi-room layout (including a tiny snug at the back of the compact bar area, and a slightly larger room at the back). Very traditional furniture and decor, as you would expect, and an excellent atmosphere on an otherwise quiet evening between Christmas and New Year. Although a Greene King house, there are several guest beers on the eight handpumps, but I opted for a decent pint of the XX Mild (£3.30).

On 16th January 2016 - rating: 8
[User has posted 7001 recommendations about 7001 pubs]

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Aqualung . left this review about The Free Press

This is actually a Greene King tied house so I approached it with a Bible in one hand, a candle in the other and a bell hanging from my neck. Joking aside, this is actually quite a decent pub and one I'm sure I'd been to before Greene King turned into a national brewer. It retains two separate bars, the one I entered was small with wooden floorboards and benches. One interesting feature is that they still have what is essentially an outdoor toilet, there is only plastic corrugated sheeting keeping the elements at bay.
Seven beers were on offer, Abbot, IPA and the rare XX Mild from Greene King, Black Sheep Bitter, St Austell Tribute, Moorhouse Ice Witch and Woodforde Nelson's Revenge. As I had already tried the Ice Witch for just £1.99 in the Tivoli a few hours earlier I went for the Nelson's Revenge which was in superb condition.
This was the second Greene King GBG listed pub I had visited at the tail end of the year. If they allowed more of their houses to have a less restricted beer choice it wouldn't harm their reputation at all.

On 23rd December 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2143 recommendations about 2143 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about The Free Press

This is a cosy, traditional back street boozer with a typical two bar layout. The corner entrance takes you into the smaller of the two bars with a centrally positioned servery opposite. Limited fixed bench and standard seating runs around the perimeter, supplemented by a row of bar stools. A small fireplace stands in front of the bar with a collection of craft beer bottles on the mantle and some framed pictures, plans and articles all relating to the pub, displayed above. The day’s papers are available from a rack near to the door and an acoustic guitar hangs on one wall, whilst there is one of several display units with numerous tiny compartments, each filled, presumably by customers, with little trinkets such as bottle caps, tiny drawings, stamps, plectrums, business cards and the like. To the rear, next to a couple of fold down chairs, there is a very small snug with a ‘Free Press’ etched glass pane above. It’s a tight squeeze through the doorway and once inside you’ll find a single L shaped bench and a single table, with access to the bar at one end. The walls and ceiling here are decorated with old newspaper articles – a nod to the pub’s name which derives from an unsuccessful local temperance movement newspaper which only survived for one issue. The second bar has a good deal more seating including more fixed benches and standard chairs. Black and white pictures of the pub line the walls and there are more of those display cabinets to poke around. A small fireplace stands on one wall and from the rear you can access the beer garden and outdoor toilet block. An article in the Gents toilet explained how this pub became the first in the city to operate a smoking ban way back in the early 1980’s. A decent soundtrack played throughout my stay, presumably from a streaming service, as the barman took requests from some of the punters.
This is a Greene King house, but thankfully one which has been given a degree of autonomy where beer choice is concerned. As well as Greene King staples IPA and Abbot, their rare XX Mild was also available alongside guests Vale VPA, Wadworth 6X and Hook Norton Hooky, with Weston’s Old Rosie cider on the final hand pump. The keg range looked to be fairly standard but craft beer bottles could be spotted in the fridges. My pint of the VPA was absolutely spot on.
This is a great little pub and a credit to Greene King who would do well to encourage pubs of theirs in areas with less competition to adopt a similar model. I found the staff friendly and engaging, the beer in great condition and the pub the sort of place you could relax for a few hours. It’s another back street Cambridge gem.

On 17th September 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2795 recommendations about 2795 pubs]

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paulof horsham left this review about Free Press

Greene King's Cambridge pubs seem willing and able to not only offer guest beers, but also put XX Mild on the bar. Add in a charming unspoilt interior and you've got yourself a great little pub. Appropriate to the pub name, a selection of newspapers are available to read.

As noted in other reviews, 3 Greene King beers (XX mild included) sit on the bar alongside 3 guests and a cider. The tiny snug is well worth a look-in (but mind your head on the way in!). So long as you can work around the afternoon closing, highly recommended to anyone touring the city's ale houses.

As a final note, they need to sort out that website of theirs: it's chock-full of dead links right now.

On 15th September 2012 - rating: 7
[User has posted 323 recommendations about 308 pubs]

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Bucking Fastard left this review about Free Press

A small back street pub with an interesting interior especially to the left of the front door where there are settles,a snug with an L shaped bench,table and it's own door,and also it's own access to the bar.Outside this snug on the dividing wood panneled wall are two tip up type wooden seats,not the most sturdy looking but useful no doubt as the pub fills.The central bar serves both sides of the open plan interior and there is a charming courtyard.On my trip there were three GK beers in the form of Abbott,IPA and the rare XX Dark Mild,so good that it is hard to believe it is brewed by GK;a very fine MILD.The guests ales were Wadsworth Boundary,Coach House Farriers Best and Nethergate Growler with a real cider also on handpull.
The food extends from sandwiches to pub grub staples,it all seemed prepared with some care ,a touch on the pricey side,but I guess you have to pay something for the atmosphere.During the week the pub closes from 2.30pm to 6pm so plan accordingly.Given the XX Mild and guests beers ,well worth including on any real ale crawl.

On 14th September 2012 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2338 recommendations about 2338 pubs]

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Roger Button left this review about Free Press

Tucked away in the back streets (albeit with a couple of decent neighbouring pubs that make the walk worthwhile) the Free Press has been a pub since at least the 1880’s and was at one time used as a printers for a free local newspaper that despite closing after a solitary issue is commemorated in the pub name.

During development of the area in the 70’s the pub was closed and faced demolition until it was bought and reopened by Greene King in 1978. The neighbouring houses weren’t so fortunate. A study of old photos shows that there have been very few alterations to the exterior although the pub does appear to have been extended into the adjoining cottage at some stage.

The interior is quite basic, simply furnished and a little frayed around the edges in a homely sort of way. The smaller main bar area has a tiny snug screened off at one end that once housed a pub record 62 students. Sadly they all got out again unscathed. The far side is larger but just as basic with pew seating, bare floors and a small service hatch to the bar. At the rear is a small patio area. The décor includes several framed newspaper covers in keeping with its press theme. There was also a selection of traditional board games.

Whilst the Greene King tie may be a barrier to many discerning ale drinkers, it should be pointed out that apart from the GK regulars Abbott and IPA, the selection on my visit included the rarity of XX Dark plus 4 additional guest ales (Nethergate Growler, Holt Maple Moon, Holdens Buffalo Soldier and St Peters Best) which make the place a lot more palatable than the normal Greene King establishment. Quality was very good although prices were a bit higher than I experienced elsewhere.

This comes across as a well run and civilized place with quirky charm that will appeal to a broad range of customers. “Come once and we’re sure we’ll see you again” proclaims the pub website. I would imagine they’re usualy right

On 30th August 2012 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1239 recommendations about 1233 pubs]

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Steve of N21 left this review about Free Press

We searched this one out because it was not far from our accommodation but primarily because a colleague had bet me that, although a GK tied house (like most of the rest of Cambridge City area), it would be a pub I would choose to return to for the Ale choice. And that was a challenge I just had to follow through on.
The pub dates back to 1823 and is named after a local temperance newspaper of the same name which had lasted one issue. The walls are adorned with front pages of old newspapers to commemorate this.
Internally it is quite small, but now one open space with a part set as a dining area, with the exception of a very small separate snug room which retains the original wood panelled décor. Apparently local students entertain themselves by seeing how many they can squeeze in the Snug room. The current record stands at 62.
Then there is a decent sized secluded garden space with wooden tables and chairs and a couple of bench tables out front of the pub.
And I have to say my colleague won the challenge. As well as three GK brews, which includes the excellent but rare XX Mild as standard along with the ubiquitous IPA and Abbott, there are three guests on offer. The XX Mild was top notch as was the St Peters Bitter guest ale.
With the excellent Elm Tree just around the corner its very good to see a GK tied Landlord fight his case to be able to compete and offer his customers some choice and move more GK beers as a result. If only the bean counters in Bury St Edmunds could show this initiative on their own.
So, will conclude I can recommend this GK house for a visit due to the beer choice.

On 2nd June 2012 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1810 recommendations about 1748 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about Free Press

A small and cosy Greene King house which nonetheless is of interest due to serving up XX Mild and (on my visit) a lovely guest in the form of St Austell Proper Job in oversized glasses. There are two small rooms and a traditional feel to the interior, enhanced by the use of the traditional ceramic GK fonts on the handpulls. Situated in a residential side street, barely a stone’s throw from the fabulous Elm Tree, this is worth a visit.

On 10th October 2009 - rating: 7
[User has posted 4401 recommendations about 4387 pubs]

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