UK weekly edition, Wednesday, July 4, 2007
CAMBRIDGE — Oh, my lager. Pints of beer can be the perfect start to a night out with friends, but it can also amount to a lot of high-calorie liquid by the time you turn in. There’s about 200 calories in just one pint of beer. Multiply that by however many you down on a Friday or Saturday, and you can stop wondering why that spare tire at your waist won’t go away.
In the name of cutting out those calories, I checked out the Slug and Lettuce, a pub-restaurant in the heart of Cambridge whose menu is bursting with drinks that are anything but beer-centric.
Sure, any hole in the wall can pour a gin and tonic, but the Slug serves a variety of novel mixed drinks that stretches beyond the standard bar pour. Not only can you get them by the glass, but you can get jugs of the drinks for a reasonable 14 pounds.
And on a warm summer afternoon or evening, an iced fruity drink can quickly beat out that standard pint when it comes to liquid refreshment.
Despite not having that franchise feel, the Slug and Lettuce is part of a company that has locations across the United Kingdom.
The brand has been around for about 22 years, while Cambridge has had a Slug for about six, said Chris Baylis, who manages the Cambridge location.
The unusual name was taken from one of the public houses the owners bought to start the original chain, he said, and its uniqueness has stuck, he said.
But back to those pitchers. You can get pitchers of Bloody Marys, martinis or minty mojitos.
“You’re looking at about four cocktails to the jug,” Baylis said. “What better way to start your night off than with a jug of Long Island iced tea?”
The Slug offers one pitcher known as a “Rocktail,” which consists of Red Bull, vodka and purees of strawberry and passion fruit.
Bartenders also will gladly mix you up a peach mojito, which features pureed peaches. That one just seems to scream summer.
The Slug is also versatile, Baylis said, changing faces as the hours pass, from a cafe, to a restaurant, to a nightspot.
“It’s a chameleon high street bar,” he said. “You can sit there the whole day and watch how the whole bar changes and the ambience goes with it.”
The joint is spacious, with a long, fully stocked bar and tons of tables and couches spread out.
Food options feature standard pub fare with a twist, and there’s a bunch of items under the “sharing platters” heading that starts at about 7 pounds.
Groups can split big plates of nachos, or half of a crispy duck with cucumbers, onions and plum sauce.
So, while being part of a larger chain, the Slug and Lettuce in Cambridge manages to feel unique and open to all.
“[Clientele] is across the whole spectrum,” Baylis said. “It’s a bar for all occasions.”
To see previous After Hours reviews, go to stripes.com/afterhours.
The Slug and Lettuce
Location: 34/35 Green St. in downtown Cambridge.Food: Full menu featuring pub grub as well as sharing platters, such as half a crisp duck with fixings.Drinks: A wide variety of beer and wine, as well as specialty drinks served by the glass or by the jug.Clientele: It changes through the day, but a wide range of folks eat and drink there. You should be fine.Phone: 01223-306051.Web site:www.slugandlettuce.co.uk/cambridge.