Beer Blog

The Cardinal’s Hat, Worcester


So what exactly is the Cardinal’s hat? Often a Zucchetto, could be a Biretta, on ceremonial occasions may be a Mitre. The type of hat painted on the pub’s sign is the less used Galero, a sort of impressive cowboy hat with tassels. I guess that accurately described the pub at about 4 o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon – impressive, but less well used.

It shouldn’t have been, the premises are a fine Georgian building that’s been refurbished in a much older style, although any refurbishment has happened a long while ago, getting on for about 90 years I believe, but that’s long enough to get the interior recognised on a list; raising the question of how long does it take to be recognised? Presumably when one is the last few of whatever style left.

The pub purports, in various guises, to be the oldest inn in Worcester, complete with ghost. It would have been nice to have seen her, it would have increased the numbers in the house to seven and that includes the barmaid and her friend, who wasn’t drinking.

I thought that was a shame as the place was really quite nice. You could have kept dozens of foreign tourists enthralled by going around the gorgeous panelled back room, tapping to find the hidden priest hole. They wouldn’t have known the building was Georgian.

There was a wonderful smell of polish, it shows someone cares. Pubcurmudgeon and the Other Mudgie didn’t like the high ‘posing tables’ as they call them, in the front bar room; they were quite incongruous though, the tables that is. We sat in the rear lounge which was altogether more conducive. We could have sat in the front snug with it’s glass front onto Friar Street, or gone out into the beer garden at the rear. Or even upstairs into one of their letting rooms, which on were dearer than the excellent Wetherspoon’s Crown Hotel. I know where I’d rather stay.

The beer was only ‘alright’ as we say where I was brung up and I’ve been saying it long before the Arctic Monkeys ever did. I had Prescott Hill Climb, which along with other Prescott brews, were on in a few places. I’d say NBSS 2.5 at best.


Not the the most disappointing bit though … No, I was more surprised to witness a split in the Beer and Pubs Forum Proper Day Out. For whatever reason half of our merry gang, including Retired Martin, decided to visit a more modern establishment called the Oil Basin. Was this the real ale/craft beer split in action, the real ale pub ticker cognoscenti showing me why we’re seeing a decline in cask beer sales

Okay they may have visited the Cardinal’s Hat before and knew the ale was going to be average, but I’m an original Three Musketeer; all for one and one for all and all that. 

I had a look in the Oil Basin later on, there’s no docks, no oil, no beer brewed on the premises like the promotion says and nothing that really took my fancy so I’m glad I stayed with the original plan and went to the Cardinal’s what not.

Categories: Beer Blog, Worcester

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6 replies »

  1. Funny, I have been here three times over the years, and I’ve always had it in my mind that it was a half-timbered, gabled building. The 1978 GBG describes it as such. But it’s not, is it? Unless it once had a faux half-timbered facade that has since been stripped away.


    • Sat inside it has all the feeling of an ancient half timbered building, doesn’t it. But then that’s all 1930’s mock baronial too. Altogether it’s bit of a mongrel, but aren’t mongrels often the best sort of dogs?


      • The purple paint is because a “half-timbered” image wouldn’t entice Worcester’s hipsters through the doors nowadays.
        The ‘Brewers’ Tudor’ pubs of the inter-war period, of which there were many, were very good at using Tudor-style panelling and stone fireplaces to match to give all the feeling of an ancient half timbered building. Few customers will have been fooled into thinking it actually dated back to Henry VIII’s time but it gave a comforting Olde Englishe ambiance.


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