The Maypole

It’s run by father and son team Vincent and Mario Castiglione, whose passion and personalities are part of what gives the pub its character.

“My family’s been in Cambridge for 32 years; my dad’s Sicilian, my mum’s English and I’m Cambridge born and bred,” says Vincent. “I love running the pub, it’s a lovely place and our customers are fantastic. It’s a safe, friendly pub; it’s got that ‘local’ feel, despite being right in the centre.

“We get a mixture of students, graduates and locals who want to have a good quality night out. Because we’re off the beaten track, people mostly come here because they’ve been before and want to come back. We’ve built up a trade through word of mouth.”

The pub was taken over by Vincent’s father in 1982 and has a long history as a drinking establishment before that. Today it pulls in punters for a variety of reasons, as Vincent explains: “We have 16 real ales, lots of which come from local and micro breweries. People like that, especially if they’re visiting: they’ll ask what’s local, and that’s a growing trend. We have specialty bottled Belgian beers too. On top of that we do cocktails, which was something my dad started in the 80s! We’ve also just redecorated our outside area, which is a big pull in the summer.”

The Maypole also has a reputation for good quality, locally sourced food. “It’s good, home-made pub food,” says Vincent: “We do lots of Italian and English dishes, including making our own pizzas, and we’ve got a highly qualified chef who used to work at Midsummer House.”

The pub also has a few claims to fame, being just around the corner from the ADC Theatre. “David Mitchell used to drink here, and we got a mention in his autobiography,” Vincent reveals. “When he played a gig at the Corn Exchange not long ago, he popped back for a drink here afterwards.

“Lots of other actors and comedians were regulars here during their student days. Richard Ayoade, Rachel Weisz… And though The Eagle is the famous pub for the DNA discovery, Professor Crick actually lived next door to us, and used to come in when we first opened.”

www.maypolefreehouse.co.uk