Gloucester has many historic and interesting pubs and inns and, from today, I am pleased to report that another has re-opened: The Pelican Inn on the corner of St Mary’s Street and Pitt Street.
The Pelican has been closed for the past few months – the This is Gloucestershire website says that it has been closed for the past two years, but that’s not true. It might as well have been though because it’s last few incarnations have been a bit of a half-hearted and short-lived. When I last visited there was only one other person in there – the lady who was supposed to be serving behind the bar, but who was actually sat doing a crossword and watching the TV.
It is a shame to see such a historic pub in such a bad way. I have found reference to the Pelican in the earliest available licensing records from 1679 and it is claimed that timbers from Sir Francis Drake’s famous ship, the Golden Hind, were used in its construction. This could explain the pub’s name: there seems to be little to connect it with the large-beaked tropical water fowl, but when the Golden Hind set sail it was called the Pelican, changing its name part way through the voyage.
It was great news, therefore, when the Wye Valley Brewery bought it, only the fifth pub owned by the family-run Herefordshire brewery. After a reported £70,000 refurbishment it opened today (Saturday 9 June) and I was lucky enough to be invited along to the official opening.
I’m pleased to report that the opening was a great success. A good number of people turned up, filling the small pub to capacity – I suspect there were more people in there at lunchtime today than it has seen for the past few years all put together! There were five excellent Wye Valley beers on pump and the new landlord, Mike Hall, and his team were extremely friendly and welcoming.
The Pelican is a little off the main beaten track for the casual drinker to come across it, and I suspect it has suffered for that in the past. However, it now shows all the hallmarks of becoming one of those hidden gems that people get to hear about and deliberately seek out – I certainly will be in the future and I encourage you to do the same.