By the Sixties, a new modern wing was added. ‘A carbuncle!’ exclaimed the city’s denizens. ‘An architectural catastrophe!’ said the Queen’s architect. The hotel fell from favour, but the restaurant retained something of its former lusture: notably the wine cellar, which took a few more years to empty out.
“There was a time when the University Arms would have been the Ritz of Cambridge.”John Simpson, Architect of Parker’s Tavern.
Four years later, the city threw a party to celebrate the coronation of Queen Victoria. Fifteen thousand locals gathered for a public feast, eaten in the viewshed of the coaching inn on Parker’s Piece. By 1900 Parker’s Tavern was catering to the city’s intellectual classes, too. An elegant Winter Garden was built in 1905, and after the war, oak panelling was added, and a magnificent fireplace.
Parker’s Tavern opened for business in 1834, and swiftly became a popular stopping point for coaching passengers on their way to and from the capital. They came for good company, a stiff drink, and a room for the night in the University Arms.
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In 2018, Parker’s Tavern reopened after a two-year reinvention. The intention? Nothing more and nothing less than to give Cambridge a restaurant that matches the city’s heart and style — intelligent, ambitious, beautiful, a locus of conversation and food to delight.
The fluid sense of old and new, of a classic brasserie bustling with trays held aloft, was created by Martin Brudnizki, who worked with marble, pewter and shades of Cambridge blue to match the freshness, elegance and wit our chef devotes to every plate.
You feel like you are eating in University halls. Except there are chairs in blue velvet and burnt orange linen, sofas in burgundy wool mixed up with red leather Chesterfields.Martin Brudnizki — Designer of Parker’s Tavern
Martin Brudnizki is a Swedish-born designer whose London and New York-based studios have been met with stratospheric success. He creates elegant, unpretentious, playful interiors for restaurants, hotels and private homes.