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New Orator brasserie and bar opens at the Cambridge Union



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The Cambridge Union Society (CUS), the oldest, continuously running debating society in the world, has opened its new public venue, The Orator – Brasserie and Bar.

From left, Joe Burman, general manager, and Sam Heap, assistant brasserie manager. Picture: Keith Heppell
From left, Joe Burman, general manager, and Sam Heap, assistant brasserie manager. Picture: Keith Heppell

Following a £3.4m investment at the site, the new brasserie and bar will see the venue shift from its history as a student union bar to an eatery open to all.

Steve Bax, bursar, said: “I have had the delight of joining the society at the point where the venue has really taken shape. We have tried to be respectful of the 200-year history, and we pay homage to it in our design, menu, and marketing.

The Orator. Picture: Orator Brasserie and Bar
The Orator. Picture: Orator Brasserie and Bar

"The exciting step now is opening up to the wider public and allowing them the opportunity to experience the society’s history - whilst enjoying great food, a wide range of drinks, quality tea and coffee, and even hosting the odd business meeting or two.”

The Orator. Picture: Orator Brasserie and Bar
The Orator. Picture: Orator Brasserie and Bar

The team contracted specialist hospitality firm Harrisons to bring the vision to life. The Orator will serve food all day and head chef Ben Pope and his team will use fresh, locally sourced ingredients with the menu adjusted to support seasonal produce.

The Orator. Picture: Orator Brasserie and Bar
The Orator. Picture: Orator Brasserie and Bar

The bar provides a centre for gins, wines, beers, and cocktails. The selection includes locally produced products, such as BrewBoard beers manufactured in nearby Harston.

Joe Burman, general manager of The Orator, said: “The Orator is more than just somewhere to eat and drink, it is an experience where the debate is choosing between the quality options available.

The Orator. Picture: Orator Brasserie and Bar
The Orator. Picture: Orator Brasserie and Bar

"We have spent a considerable amount of time ensuring that every visit offers choice, variety, and a little indulgence. We have also focused on local suppliers - and if not, then products are ethically produced and sourced.

"As a result, every visitor should leave feeling satisfied - both in their stomach and their mind as they admire the architecture and history of the society.”

The Orator. Picture: Orator Brasserie and Bar
The Orator. Picture: Orator Brasserie and Bar

Alongside the brasserie and bar, the venue will support corporate bookings in the various rooms available within the complex. The Orator can also provide a perfect location for celebrations such as birthdays, leaving drinks and retirements - while providing a pleasing backdrop for events such as weddings.

The Orator. Picture: Orator Brasserie and Bar
The Orator. Picture: Orator Brasserie and Bar

Alongside the impressive architecture, the outside space boasts the most extensive outdoor drinking and dining space in central Cambridge.

The Orator officially opens to the public today (Monday, May 24), and is located on Round Church Street. The food and drinks menus are on the website and bookings are open now.

The inside of the newly refurbished bar area of the Cambridge Union. Picture: Keith Heppell
The inside of the newly refurbished bar area of the Cambridge Union. Picture: Keith Heppell

For more information, visit oratorcambridge.co.uk, or follow The Orator on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn by searching for Orator Cambridge.

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