Four of The Pickerel Inn’s cask ales against their iconic bar backdropKarl Harris with permission for Varsity

Name: Karl Harris

Job: General Manager of The Pickerel Inn

When was The Pickerel opened?

We first received a licence to sell alcohol in 1608, although there is evidence on site of a tavern being here at least a couple of centuries earlier. And there had to have been something here to license!

Your go-to drink?

A pint of perfectly conditioned Cask Ale.

What’s the most popular drink among students?

Woodforde’s Wherry is a historic staple of The Pick.

What makes The Pick Cambridge’s best pub?

The perfect mix of guests. Local residents, students and tourists all mixing together. It’s a truly wonderful thing when a community grows and develops like it continually does at The Pickerel. My team are a pretty awesome bunch too! They knock it out of the park while enjoying every minute here. If your guys come in for a pint on their days off, something must be going right.

What’s unique about the pub?

I think it being the oldest licensed pub in Cambridge. The small cosy spaces, mixed with the wonderful suntrap courtyard. That and our very own 1608 Best Bitter.

“On some crazy Saturdays we sell upwards of 1,500 drinks”

Your favourite part of the job?

Teaching my team and our guests about why cask ale is fantastic, and just building a safe and friendly community within the walls of this little old pub.

How many drinks do you serve on your busiest days?

On some crazy Saturdays we sell upwards of 1,500 drinks across our full range.

Least favourite sort of customer?

Demanding people who don’t say please or thank you. And finger snapping types get to wait longer for their drinks.

“After releasing a live chicken in the bar on a busy Saturday afternoon, I THOUGHT my manager would say no to the fresh duck...”

How fast can you down a pint?

Eek, I mean the boss of The Pick has to be quick... just under 2.5 seconds and haven’t been beaten yet!

Best Pickerel anecdote?

After 15 years there are too many, and a lot of them I probably shouldn’t mention...

A regular asked my first manager if he would, one week, like some fresh chicken, and a couple of weeks later, if he’d like some fresh duck. After releasing a live chicken in the bar on a busy Saturday afternoon, I THOUGHT my manager would say no to the fresh duck...alas I was wrong... thankfully the regular hasn’t followed up on his threat to bring a horse in...yet...

Do you have another favourite pub in Cambridge?

For history, you can’t beat The Eagle. For a cracking pint, The Kingston Arms or The Free Press.


Mountain View

Cambridge’s only Spoons: A peek behind the bar of The Regal

Is there a recognisable town/gown divide?

Occasionally – I think that will always be the case for a small minority, but it’s very rare here, and we are extremely proud of that!

Favourite spot in Cambridge?

The walk along the backs from The Mill, across Coe Fen via the Crusoe Bridge, into Little St. Mary’s Lane and ending up at the Fitzwilliam Museum.

If you could send a message to all the students here, what would it be?

Just to come on down to The Pick. We’ve been here for hundreds of years for a very good reason! It’s a genuine, iconic pub that lodges itself firmly in your heart.