Cambridge is one of the most diverse places you’ll find and with 31 universities spread across the city the facilities and night life are in rich and vibrant supply. If you’ve got the time and the money , there is I’m betting, no reason why you couldn’t spend every night of the week doing something different. With a huge list of watering holes and an up and coming music/ club scene, Cambridge is fast becoming the party capital of the East of England.
The pub scene in Cambridge has been a steadily growing cultural place for many a year. Quite frankly there is something for every taste ranging from your more traditional establishment serving a selection of traditional beverages, plush carpets and roaring log fires, ( good examples being, The Hopbine, The Eagle, & The Hogshead ), right the way through to your nouvelle chique, leather sofa, mirror clad wine bars, filled to the brim with late teen, twenty something’s all trying to score. ( good examples being Ta Bouche, B- Bar, Nusha and The Depot ).
Due to the fact that Cambridge is an academical city and its population is over run by students the number of drinking holes is enormous, many are themed around this fact, and in recent times many have been refitted to appeal to the younger market.
The Regal, now under the command of the Wetherspoons chain, was formerly a cinema, and before that a theatre that saw The Beatles perform there in the early sixties as they fought to make a name for themselves. The Regal is now still a draw to the younger crowd and is full to the brim on most nights. The Vine, formerly music venue The Boat Race which saw the likes of Oasis play live, is also a good draw and a popular venue due to its close proximity to the Grafton Centre and APU University. Certain nights of the week see a DJ play live and this is now a common addition across the city, The Red Cow being another DJ friendly establishment.
As well as the pubs and bars across the city that offer music in a rather sporadic fashion across the week there is also a hand full of clubs that offer a more popular/ commercial dance sound with some regularity. The most popular location in the city centre is Ballare. Situated on the site of what was the club 5th Avenue, Ballare offers an eclectic taste of music for the masses that are prepared to join the lengthy queues that often build on a Friday/ Saturday night. Word of warning, the toilet facilities are shocking and queues are long, the music however more than makes up for it and drinks are cheap.
The Fez Club offers plenty of variety throughout the week. With typical student indie music on a Monday, international student night playing a wide variety of funky music from around the world on a Wednesday and Friday and Saturday being typically house music there is something for everyone. It gets busy later on in the evenings, so getting there early to avoid the queues - especially when it is raining is a must.
There are two main music venues in Cambridge which attract all the big names. Those being The Corn Exchange which holds approximately 2,500 and is situated right in the centre of town in amongst the thick of it, and The Junction which sits slightly out of town with a similar crowd capacity and the benefit of sitting close to the city’s train station and other good transport links. Bigger names tend to use The Corn Exchange due its superior set-up, locality and now immensely impressive position near the upgraded Lion Yard Centre, but the Junction is fast becoming an appealing prospect to artists and gig goers alike due to the revamping of the area the venue sits on and added investment inside from venue bosses.
Vehicle traffic through the city can be a pain at times, particularly around rush hour so its worth leaving for your destination early. If you live in the city hop on your bike and scoot into the city centre, although maybe not the best idea if you’re all dolled up.
Cambridge offers some of the best shopping in the East of England and caters for all possible needs, the main two areas being the Lion Yard and The Grafton Centre. For clothing the back streets between the market square and the river are filled with small boutiques and niche shops offering a more individual style of clothing and accessories to those who hunt them out. Cult Clothing, Fat Face, Hoax Skate Company and Republic being good examples. If being a poor student you have little more to spare then the usual bargain hot spots can still be found with the likes of TK Maxx.
Cambridge has never really catapulted many big name bands or artists into the world, however there are a number of up and coming bands that you should watch out for. Hamfatter are an indie-pop band with big ideas, Out Of Nowhere are a punk band who were formerly signed to Alan McGee of Oasis fame and The Shivers manage to perfectly mix good old rock’n’roll with a twist of country. The Cambridge Folk Festival which runs each year is steadily raising the profiles of many of the city’s younger talent so expect to see more names soon.
Cambridge University was established in 1209. King's College Chapel, built by King Henry VI in 1446, is one of the University's most impressive landmarks.
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