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Reopening plans for Cambridge pub The Tivoli are revealed



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The fire-ravaged Tivoli pub in Cambridge has confirmed its reopening plans after undergoing an extensive refurbishment.

The Tivoli will be home to two 9-hole indoor mini golf courses
The Tivoli will be home to two 9-hole indoor mini golf courses

The City Pub Company said the Chesterton Road watering hole will officially reopen on Tuesday, May 17. The building – which began life as a cinema in 1925, before being converted into a pub in the 1950s – was left empty for a number of years after the devastating blaze in 2015.

Since 2019, significant works have taken place to rebuild and refurbish the iconic building, which had been a JD Wetherspoon pub from 2010 to 2015, although unsurprisingly the process was delayed by the pandemic.

The new-look pub will have some standout features spread out over four floors, including two indoor mini golf courses on the first floor, two 22ft shuffleboards in the basement, and a roof terrace on the second floor with stunning views over Jesus Green. A top terrace will be used for private hire.

The Tivoli will house Shuffle Club in the basement Artwork: We Three Club
The Tivoli will house Shuffle Club in the basement Artwork: We Three Club

Known for its art deco interior, Alex White, head of marketing at The Tivoli, confirmed some of that style will return, and also reveals that the firm Kirk Nolan was responsible for the interiors.

“We’ve restored the front entrance to reflect what it initially might have looked like when it was a cinema,” she explained, “so essentially we’ve got a really nicely-built bespoke ticket office booth, which is all leaning towards the art deco feel.

“When you go in, we wanted it to have that, ‘Oh my gosh, this hasn’t changed since it was built’ feel to it. It’s got a lovely front revolving door, and then there’ll be nods to the modern twist that I suppose we’re giving it.

“I’d say it’s like an industrial-type feel but with soft furnishings as well – so it’s not cold and harsh, but the walls throughout the majority of the space will be left as concrete so you can see the history there, which is nice.

“They’ve uncovered really lovely colours of things from the past that are shown on the walls. The entrance will look more like grand art deco but the rest of it is fresh and new. We didn’t want it to feel like we were just making a theme pub; we wanted to bring it into its next phase – this is the next phase of The Tivoli.”

Shuffleboard at the new Tivoli pub
Shuffleboard at the new Tivoli pub

Alex, who runs her own company, We Three Club, along with her husband Christopher, notes that the building is “surprisingly big” inside. “We’re using all the floors, especially the basement.

“Each level has got its own kind of branded name. So down in the basement it’s called ‘Club Shuffle’. We essentially wanted this to be like a basement club that you come across, like it’s been there for years – like a kind of secret shuffleboard club.

“It’s got a bar down there and two shuffleboards. They’re traditionally made in America; they bring them over from America and they’re really amazing. Then there’s a nice little open terrace which sits on the river at the back. It’s exactly at the height of the river and overlooks Jesus Green, so that’s a nice area.

“Then the golf course is called ‘Electric Greens’ and that’s two nine-hole golf courses, which spread across the whole floor, and it has next to it a small golf bar, mainly for the people using the golf course. It’s quite a modern-looking golf course, with neon lights – it looks really cool. The golf course will have an app, so as you go around you use the app on your phone to score.”

Alex adds: “The ground floor is going to be called ‘The Assembly Hall’ and that is more of your classic pub feel – a really long bar. “We’ve got two food concessions – one is our in-house pizza and then on the other side we’ve got Steak & Honour burgers.

The Tivoli prepares for reopening. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Tivoli prepares for reopening. Picture: Keith Heppell

“It will be their second spot in Cambridge. That’s a really great aspect – having them there will be really cool.” Visit thetivoli.co.uk.

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