Best Tables1. Kings College
2. Computer Laboratory
3. Darwin College
4. The King Street Run
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The Graduate (16 Chesterton Road) - pub guide entry - map
This large pub has 3 pool tables, 2 quiz machines, a few arcade games, a jumbo Jenga set and jumbo Connect-4, and finally, a blocky Garlando with the biggest springs I've ever seen. A sickening £1 for 9 balls. It shows footie on its big screen at weekends.
King Street Run (86 King Street) - pub guide entry - map
This is a small pub with darts, pool table, classic rock/metal jukebox, and a big screen for showing football matches. A very football-orientated pub. The table is now a standard block-foot Garlando.
Fort St. George (Midsummer Common) - pub guide entry - map
This old fashioned pub is on the riverbank, at the edge of Midsummer Common (the path across Jesus Green leads straight to it). Outside is a small beer-garden (a few three picnic tables), and it is this area that houses two table-football tables. One is a standard Garlando. The other is a Garlando wrongly put together. Both tables are 9 balls for 50p.
College Bars and Games Rooms
Babraham Institute - map - directions
The Babraham Institute (Bio-Science etc) is, unsurprisingly, in Babraham, which is a small village about 8 miles from Cambridge. However, the bar/function room on campus has a FAS table that is in good condition once oiled (Mr. Sheen polish works well). FAS is pretty similar to Garlando, but with slightly steeper corner ramps, and the keeper doesn't spin all the way round, minor differences. Its 50p for 10 balls. Anyway, on the off-chance that you happen to be at the Babraham Institute (and believe me, its unlikely, I was good friends for a few years with about 5 people who worked there and I only went once), you can have a few games.
Christ's - map
Update: The below still applies, but I have been informed that Christ's now has also a proper pub-style glass-top Garlando in the bar, although the rods are a bit bent, and the lighting is terrible.
Christ's has a Garlando style table in the MCR (go through a glass door to the right of the terraced accomodation), which has been described by several visiting teams as a toy table (i.e. something parents might buy for schoolkids). You then need to try and convince someone to let you in. The players and surface are Garlando, with the newer pinny-feet men (i.e. more wedge shaped than the traditional blocky feet). The table is pretty unstable and rocks about a lot during games, often reducing matches to jarring and hacking contests. It is open top, with no coin-mechanism (i.e. free providing the balls haven't been nicked), but the rods are generally need oiled before any proper skill shots can be done.
Churchill - map
Churchill has a good new Garlando in the main bar (go straight in through the main entrance, along the central corridor, and turn right at the end to find the bar). 40p for 12 balls, and we have upgraded it with shorter springs and better handles. There is a slight roll, but the table plays well. There is also an older Garlando Competition table in the MCR graduate bar (Sandy Ashmore room), 30p for 10 balls... not very clean, but plays OK.
Clare - map
Clare has a decent Garlando, 30p for 12 balls, in the bar (AKA Clare Cellars). The table is a little rickety, the balls are quite slippy, and the glare from the lights is a problem, but otherwise not too bad. To get to the bar, just turn right after walking through the front gate, and its on the right, downstairs.
Computer Laboratory - map
Jon May's world-champs-spec Garlando (i.e. wedge-feet, through-rods, open-top) is currently in the Computer Lab, on freeplay.
Corpus Christi - map
Corpus has a Garlando style table in the JCR (common room), which is in D staircase (to the left through the main entrance). 9 balls for 20p. One of the forwards on the blue side is not parallel to the others, which makes for some interesting shots. The table is reasonably clean, but light glare can be a problem. Bar has strange opening times, and sometimes doesn't serve alcohol. Corpus locks up at 10, so you'll need a porter or passing Corpusite to let you in/out after that.
Darwin - map
Darwin has a decent Garlando in the bar, which is to the right from the main entrance. You may need to hang about outside the college and wait for someone to come in or out.
Downing - map
Downing have recently replaced their old junkheap Garlando with a brand new FABI (similar to Garlando, but with different shaped goals). FABIs have smaller goals, and the men are a little chunkier. 20p for 11 balls. The table's in the bar (just round to the right from the porter's lodge).
Emmanuel - map
Emma has a Garlando table in the bar. One goalie tends to stick occasionally. The glass is fairly beer-stained and light reflections are a problem sometimes. You get 11 balls for 30p. To get to the bar, turn right after the porters lodge and go through the archway. Follow the path and you'll see the bar ahead and to the left. To get in when it's shut you need a key. When it's open you need to be signed in by a member of college to buy drinks.
Fitzwilliam - map
Fitz has a bog-standard Garlando in the JCR, and its 40p for 10 balls. Blue attack is bent as a nine-bob note, and the glass is flat as the peak district.
Gonville & Caius - map
Caius now has a new Garlando.
Homerton - map
Homerton currently has no table.
Hughes Hall - map
Hughes Hall MCR has a Tornado on 50p for 10 balls.
Jesus - map
Jesus has recently built a new bar downstairs from where the old one, and now have a new table there. It is a new (Dec 04) Garlando, but with pinny feet (seems to be a trend these days), not full World Spec though because they are still telescopic rods and glass top. We also upgraded it with new shorter springs and better handles. Apparently Dr. Stephen Siklos is very good at the game, but I asked him about it and he says he only plays once a year, and wouldn't accept my challenge of a match or two...
King's - map
King's has had a new Garlando installed (Jan 04), 10 balls for 40p. We have upgraded it with new shorter springs and better handles, and probably put some better quality balls in too. Plays OK, and is in very frequent use in the King's bar (go through the front gate and turn left). King's gate shuts at 11pm and the porters are very anal about letting you out after that, unless you are accompanied by a King's student. King's also has a Bonzini in the MCR apparently.
Magdalene - map
Magdalene apparently does have a table now.
New Hall - map
New Hall no longer has a table. It did, but hardly anyone used it, so it was taken out.
Newnham - map
Despite looking strangely like a large dolls' house from the outside, Newnham has a good cosy bar with nice comfy seating. The bar is to the right through the main entrance. The table is a FAS (similar to Garlando) with a bit of mileage, the balls are a bit grubby, and the whole thing could do with a clean, but its pretty playable. One midfield handle is missing, which makes for some interesting fingertip skills. 20p for about 10 balls, so can't complain.
Pembroke - map
Pembroke has a Garlando Coperto Deluxe (with indoor lighting!) in its bar, and it is/was actually owned by the JCR committee, so it is in principle quite well looked after. The table is also accessible during the day, when the main part of the bar is closed. Its 20p for 11 balls. Its only real fault is that the springs are big, so wall-passing is too easy. The Pembroke JCR is now on a card system however, so you will need a kindly Pembroke student to get in.
Queens' - map
Queens' has a new (2005) table (blocky feet, long springs, thin handles) in the bar, 30p a play, 10 balls I think.
Robinson - map
Robinson has a quite new table, 40p for 10 balls. It has the new World Championship spec goal-shapes, but still has the square feet and wall ramps. Pinning is really easy. There is sometimes an inconsistent roll. Lighting is much better than the old table was. Thin handles.
St. Catharine's - map
Catz bar has a decent Garlando which is 30p for 11 balls. Lighting is a problem, more so than average, and the ball seems to roll back to the blue forwards. Oddly the goalkeeper's feet have been sliced so they are thinner, which means it is harder to reach the ball if it rolls into the very corner of the goal. The bar also has pool, darts, and plenty of arcade machines. The bar stays open for much of the summer.
No table at the moment, possibly due to Prof. Mike McIntyre thinking that the brain does a lot of interpolation, and lucidity is paramount, therefore we can forego concrete facilities in favour of the abstract merit of an 'unfinished college' and thus [...insert ill-conceived conclusion here...].
Selwyn - map
Selwyn's Garlando table is in the games room. Go through the main gate, turn right and go through the passage, taking the door on the left. The games room is on the left, but you need a magic key, and perhaps 20 gold coins from the Wizard's guild, to get in.
Sidney Sussex - map
Sidney has a very battered Garlando table (operated by Cherry rather than S&V), with 10 balls for 20p. Some of the bars seem slightly bent, and generally it is not the most pleasant table. The bar is student run; to get to it, go in the main gate (opposite Sainsbury's), turn right, then left, then straight ahead through the arch, follow the path down the stairs, and the bar is on the left, very easy to find. If you get lost, you are officially a clown, and should apply to me to receive your special dunce's hat.
Trinity - map
Trinity has a Garlando (circa 2001) in the college bar (15 balls for 50p), which is cleanish, and in reasonable shape, but the balls are very slippy, and no longer very round, the roll is unbelievable and inconsistent (i.e. warped glass), and the handles are very difficult to get a grip on.
A Trinity swipe-card is needed to open the door to the bar, and depending on how the barmen are feeling, a Trinity student may need to accompany you to get served at the bar, though generally if you knock on the door loudly someone will let you in, and generally Norm doesn't give a shit (though sometimes he does, with hilarious consequences, e.g. pulling the plug on a band's equipment midway through their encore song... class.).
To get to the bar, go in the front gate of the college (Great Gate), and turn left, walking along to almost the corner of Great Court. Turn left into I staircase,
and the bar door is directly ahead. Basically you have to be quite familiar with this table to do anything good other than twatting it, and pinning is highly non-trivial, which is probably
why many of the best players in recent years have come from Trinity, since if you can play well on this table, then you can play well on most others.
The bar is only open from 12-2 pm, and 6-11.30pm, and the last game allowed is usually 15 minutes before closing.
However, unlike most colleges, the bar remains open for most of the summer.
ALSO - S&V have put their oldest and rankest table in the upstairs games room in the JCR (same directions but turn left and go upstairs when you get to the bar door). 40p for 9 balls I think. Coin mech jams easily. This is a gash table, but I learned almost all my skills on it, so draw your own conclusions.
USSC - map - USSC website
The USSC is the University Sports and Social Club, which used to be mainly for staff, but pretty much anyone connected to the university may use their facilities. They no longer have a table; the space is now used for table tennis.
Wolfson - map
The Wolfson table has gone now, as it was not a good money maker after the end of the Carter dynasty. Here's the old review for posterity. Wolfson's table is a good asset out of term when many college bars/JCRs are closed. The table is available all the time, but may have been shoved into a cupboard somewhere. 11 balls for 50p is more expensive than average, but it is a quite good table. The lighting is OK, if a little dark. Its really easy to find if you can be bothered to go all the way to Wolfson in the first place: just enter the porters' lodge, continue into the large room with tables, chairs and sofas. This is a like a big social room with a pool table but also doubles as the canteen at certain times, and the college bar is at one side. Being a graduate college, the table is not heavily in use, although there are sometimes concerts, karaoke, AGMs and Latin-American dance classes in the room. Needless to say, we have played through all of those distractions. Dave Carter shouted 'fuck' very loudly during a band's acoustic performance, after conceding a goal.