Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Bell Inn, Murrow, Cambridgeshire

There are many factors which can make the difference between success and failure in the licensed trade. Some a licensee may have little control over, whilst other aspects will be very much in their own hands. Sadly not every pub can thrive on hard work and ingenuity alone, but it's sad and disappointing to see a pub fail which may well have succeeded in better hands.

No-one could accuse the licensees of The Bell Inn of neglecting their duties to make a success of the pub. This really is one the very best examples of what can be achieved when a committed team take the helm of a relatively isolated, and slightly neglected village local. Clearly a great deal of work has been put in by licensees Andy & Dawn in the three years since they moved to the pub, and all with the full approval of the locals by all accounts. Sounds obvious doesn't it, but so often the locals are the last to be considered when it comes to change at the pub.

It's hard to imagine how a pub could be more at the heart of its community than the Bell, and it really shows when you walk into the bar, even on a weekday afternoon. The place just feels so welcoming and right. It's the kind of local that most people would want, but particularly those with a desire to get involved in their community, which is surely what village pubs should be about rather than merely upmarket foodie destinations where the locals are barely tolerated.

Needless to say, games play an important role in the success of the Bell Inn. Perhaps the jewel in the pubs gaming crown is the immaculately maintained Bowling Green at the rear, overlooked by a smart patio and a positively plush smoking shelter, furnished with the original banquet seating from the bar. Bowls is played on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the season, and I can't think of a more pleasant place to spend a Summer evening, following all the action with a pint of something good from the nearby Elgoods Brewery.

Inside it's Snookerette (otherwise known as Bar Billiards) which provides the gaming interest, with a vintage 'Sams' table available to play whenever a match in the local Gedney Hill & District League is not in progress. The pub is proud to field both the current winning team in the Winter League, as well as holding the Wooden Spoon for the up-and-coming 'B' team. A good mahogany Shove Ha'penny is also available in the bar, though you may need to provide your own coins. All in all, it's a very fine pub, go play!

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