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New pub and theatre concept to open in Cambridge

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Town and Gown Pub & Theatre is to open in Cambridge. Picture: Karl Steele (38086032)
Town and Gown Pub & Theatre is to open in Cambridge. Picture: Karl Steele (38086032)

The old arts cinema in Cambridge is set to undergo a revival as an entertainment venue.

Most recently it has been the Baroosh, but it is now to become the Town and Gown Pub and Theatre. The concept will see a fringe theatre created alongside drinking and dining in a new imagining of the cavernous space.

Based on Market Passage, it was built in 1866 but the Central Hall and Conservative Club was gutted by fire in 1926 and rebuilt in 1927. The hall was used as the part-time 250-seat Cosmopolitan Cinema from 1933, and it became full time in 1940. It had a square-shaped one-floor auditorium with mirror projection from the ceiling and, when the floor was reconstructed, it became an arts cinema in 1947.

Seating was increased to 320 in 1961, when the auditorium was ‘turned round’ and a Philips 16mm projector was installed in 1976.

Town and Gown Pub & Theatre is to open in Cambridge. Picture: Karl Steele (38086041)
Town and Gown Pub & Theatre is to open in Cambridge. Picture: Karl Steele (38086041)

The cinema was closed in 1999, and McMullen’s Brewery has owned the site since, operating it first as the B Bar and most recently Baroosh.

The redevelopment as the Town and Gown is set to feature multiple new levels, which will include a new 100-seater fringe theatre space.

The Black Box Theatre will be located on the top floor, and will stage theatre and cabaret.

On the ground floor, there will be a large bar with mezzanine and balcony dining areas. A grand piano will feature on the mezzanine dining area, with regular live music.

The second floor will have a large theatre bar that can be separated from the rest of the venue and will be available for private hire.

There will also be a roof terrace to enjoy a drink before and after the shows in the theatre.

The plans feature:

The Mezzanine

  • With a baby grand piano, the area can be hired for private use, and a pianist can even be hired for the evening. It will have 36 covers for seated dining or 50 people with a buffet.

The Balcony

  • The balcony overlooking the venue will have only 12 covers, aimed at making it feel intimate, yet still part of the atmosphere of the Town and Gown. Available to hire privately.

Theatre Bar

  • The theatre bar will offer dining and a space for sociable gatherings. It will be available for formal dining and private hire.


  • The theatre will be fully accessible with a maximum capacity of 100 and the potential to also hire the Theatre Bar with a capacity of 75.
  • As a professional theatre, it will be equipped with theatre lighting and sound. Hire prices for the theatre space are based on individual requirements of each booking.

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