The Worcester Wassail VIII – A Splash of Worcestershire Sauce

21st December, 2012 – 9:26 am

Saturday 22nd December Phil and I (and a host of others) shall be doing the annual ridiculous drive to Worcester to drink twelve pints of ale because that’s just what we do every year.  A twelve pint pub crawled known as “The Worcester Wassail”.  If nothing else you can say we’re consistent.

Each pub has a toast – Phil is the lead toaster and will don the ceremonial hat.

The route guide is available in a printable, fold into booklet format here.  The Worcester Wassail December 2012

The Worcester Wassail - Worcester Pub Crawl Route Guide with Map

The Worcester Wassail – Worcester Pub Crawl Route Guide with Map

 

  The Worcester Wassail VIII – A Splash of Worcestershire Sauce

1300hrs – 22nd December 2012

 
Wassail – pron: \WAH-sulDef:  “A festivity characterized by much drinking.  To celebrate noisily, often indulging in drinking; engage in uproarious festivities.” 
1. The Cap ‘n’ Gown  45 Upper Tything
Turn right out of Foregate Street railway station and walk under the bridge. The pub is ten minutes up the road, just past the school, on the left – this walk always feels longer when it’s cold and pissing it down though. Established in 1849 and, up until a few years ago, little had changed (except hopefully the odd barrel) then it had a dodgy do-up and was full of faux wood panelling with a strange L-shaped layout. The good news is they’ve worked on the old girl since, put in some new furniture and have produced a cosy boozer. Don’t get too cosy though – even if two foot does fall again outside whist we’re here – we’re only just getting started.
Toast – “Civitas in Bello et Pace Fidelis – The City faithful in war and in peace”
2.  The Lamb and Flag  30 The Tything
Stay on this side of the road and head back in the direction of the railway station and you’ll find this pub opposite St. Oswald’s Road. A reminder of what pubs should be like and one of the reasons we drive 108 miles each year. A proper old man’s pub that’s as famous for its impeccably kept Guinness as it is for its staring locals, forgive them they probably haven’t seen a new face in here in a few years. Don’t be running late as this pub is so old fashioned that the place still exercises lunch and evening openings (never mind 24-hour drinking this place can’t manage 12 hours) and you won’t want to miss out on this gem.
Toast – “Filled with mingled cream and amber I will drain that glass again. Such hilarious visions clamber Through the chambers of my brain — Quaintest thoughts — queerest fancies Come to life and fade away; Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today”.
3.  The Dragon Inn   51 The Tything 
Five minutes further up the Tything and you’ll find a 1750s, Grade II listed, CAMRA pub that you won’t need to be dragoned inn-to. See the blackboard for today’s specials – these are not your meal specials but rather a list of banned conversation topics. Exercise care as one of the banned topics is actually ‘the banned topics’ – so this guide is probably banned just by virtue of its discussion of the banned topics. This board is the obvious result of nobody actually wanting to directly tell some boring bastard that he/she were boring everybody. Tied to a Sheffield micro-brewery there are some interesting, but occasionally very strong, brews in here. WARNING – the website states there is no parking at the pub but if you’ve brought your car you deserve everything you get… if you are desperate for transport there is a bus stop next to the toilet.
Toast – “Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends” 
4. The Saracen’s Head   4 Tything    
Our final pub on the Tything before we head into town and to some of the more famous Worcester spots. An old coaching house, now run by a friendly South African landlord – friendly but who doesn’t like the f_____ rude language – so mind your c____ mouth!  So there we have it, we HAVE met a nice South African. Phil and Steve hold the world record for the world’s longest and shittiest game of darts in here risking the timing and success of the Wassail and much endangering Russ’s eyes in the process.
Toast – “I only drink to make other people seem interesting”.
5.  The Pig & Drum  53 Lowesmoor Place 
Now cometh your longest walk – but certainly not long enough to sober you up in any way…  Ladies and Gentleman, with the closure of the Cardinal’s Hat, 2012 sees the return of The Pig. Just before it closed it was about to get booted from the Wassail so we’ll start it on its final warning though we’re told there is now cask ale. To get to the Pig head up The Tything, it turns into Foregate Street, take a left at the A-Plan insurance building onto Sansome Street (if you get to the Subway then you’re either hungry or lost), take a wide berth around the Toby’s Tavern, follow the curve of the road and take the second left onto Lowesmoor. This is supposedly the ‘dodgy’ end of Worcester (apparently someone dropped some litter once, or maybe someone raised their voice; I forget now) and in the correct proportion there is only 400ft of it. Lowesmoor features probably the best chip shop in the West Midlands (wise heads take the special, double the food – half the price), past the “Private Shop” – which I’ll admit I’d never realised was just a nice front for a shop selling arse plugs, rubber cocks and lube though could prove handy for those last minute Christmas gifts for Nan. The Pig & Drum is on the left – no word yet on whether we’ll have the opportunity to buy comedy inflatables from the gents.
Toast – “There are only two times when I drink beer, when I’m alone and when I’m with someone else”.
6.  The Fire Fly     54 Lowesmoor
A controversial stop on the Wassail as it’s a bar rather than a pub but it links the Wassail up nicely and it’s been on since the start and we don’t like change. In the bar’s defence they usually have two or three guest ales on of reasonable quaffing quality and dodgy olives are available for the poncey amongst us, Peruvian marching powder for the rest. Despite the disabled access in the Fire Fly being somewhat lacking, this doesn’t stop Russ marching (so to speak), his way in.
Toast – “Pretty women make us BUY beer. Ugly women make us DRINK beer”.
7. The Swan With Two Nicks  28 New Street 
Head back up Lowesmoor, past the “gay district” (starting and ending at the Brewer’s Tap) and the Private Shop (last chance to get Nan’s pressie). Over the lights and turn left onto Queen Street (they missed a trick on the positioning of The Tap?). At the bottom of the street head onto New Street and The Swan is on the left. A nice looking pub but they do insist on blaring music through a wholly inadequate, knackered PA. I wouldn’t bother sticking money into the video jukebox – if you do, expect to wait two hours to hear your selection and, as we’ll probably be behind schedule at this point, you won’t make yourself too popular. Upstairs is the Lunar bar where the décor is akin to a cross between a tart’s boudoir and a scene from the third rate film Austin Powers!
Toast – “You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline – it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer”. –  Frank Zappa
8. Eagle Vaults  2 Friar Street 
Continue up New Street and you’ll find Eagle Vaults on the corner of Pump Street and New Street (which further on becomes Friar Street). Back to the old man pub of yesteryear and this one sometimes has ace rockabilly bands on. Clad in traditional Victorian tiles on the outside – the vomit just wipes off them – the Victorians really did think of everything (except how to catch Jack the Ripper and to not die of TB).
Toast – “Beauty lies in the hands of the beer holder”.
9. Farriers Arms  9 Fish Street 
Now comes an opportunity to show off your nine-pint eight-ball skills. Take a left turn out of the pub and head up Pump Street onto High Street. Take a left on High Street and Fish Street is the next right (opposite JJB Sports), the pub is 100 yards from the High Street. Resist the temptation to double up on pints here as people are beginning to struggle and it’s not the best pub on the Wassail but a worthy stop nevertheless.
Toast – “A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure”.
10. The Plough 23 Fish Street
Continue to the end of Fish Street and on the left-hand corner you’ll find the Worcester CAMRA pub of the year 2009. New to the Wassail in 2010 due to the sad (?) temporary demise of the Pig & Drum and now one of the firm favourites. It’s a bit pokey but very friendly so you might want to quietly slope out of the Farriers when nobody is looking to secure your pint and ownership of the pub quiz trivia books! 
Toast – “Here’s to alcohol, the rose coloured glasses of life”. ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned
11. Ye Olde Talbot  Friar Street / Sidbury
Turn left and tumble  down Dean Street (head for the Cathedral) and go straight over the roundabout or head clockwise around to have your photo taken with old Teddy Elgar’s statue – we don’t see so much of him nowadays due to the new £20 note not featuring him but is my go to stock University Challenge classical music answer. Follow the path on the left hand side and you’ll find this boozer on the corner of Sidbury and Friar Street. It’s a bit of a carvery style place and you’ll need to carve through the crowds to get a pint as it’s always rammed for reasons that are not entirely clear (is anything clear at this point?). Try not to knock over work group’s table of drinks as Bob did one year – it takes a lot of explaining from a lot of people – with “…but I’ve just drank 10 pints” apparently not a suitable excuse for ruining a work’s Christmas dinner.
Toast – “Alcohol: Because no great story ever started with someone eating salad”.
12.  Heroes Friar Street
Continue up Friar Street and on the left, keep your blurry eyes peeled for a free-standing sign for Heroes – there is a small door way with a set of stairs you can fall down later. Watch your head and projectile Jae R. Moggs’* vomit stains as you enter. This place has its fair share of nooks and grannies and seems popular with the Worcestershire yoof. Steve smooth talked his way out of being thrown out twice last year despite only being guilty of standing next to an abusive drunk, ironic really as he’d spent all day with a large group of them. Once you’ve drunk your giant bottle of ale it’s on to a club or for Steve to fall over in the street clutching a Chicken Burger.* names have been changed to protect the guilty party’s career prospects.
Toast – “Civitas in Bello et Pace Fidelis – The City faithful in war and in peace”.
 www.stevemorgan.me.uk
         

 

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