Pen & Wig closure rumours are Chinese whispers – Official

A friend of mine posted on Facebook this morning that there were rumours about that the Pen & Wig on Park Grove in Cardiff is going to be closed down and/or turned into a high-end wine bar. I’m tired now of internet rumours so I decided to do some digging.

The first details started coming out on Thursday July 1st, put out there by Buzz Magazine on their Twitter feed. There is apparently also a petition on the bar at the pub itself, though I cannot verify this.

So, here I have some information straight from the horses mouth:

The Pen & Wig is not being closed down. Nor is being taken over by another company.
The establishment will however be going through a rebranding exercise. It is currently run under the Town Pubs brand, one of Mitchell & Butler’s. It will be transferred into the Nicholson’s Classic brand, also by Mitchell and Butler.

There is a big difference between these two brands.
Town Pubs is a cheap and cheerful brand, they focus on low priced food (like the Pen & Wig’s ¬£2.99 meals) and cheap beer. See this link for more details on Town Pubs.

Nicholson’s Classic are big on real ales, this will see the Pen & Wig’s repertoire of real ale double, from 5 to 10. The food will also change drastically, focusing on well-made hearty food like sausages, pies, real mash and the like. Also the pub may have all its furniture renewed, something that it definitely urgently needs, in my opinion. See this link for more details on Nicholson’s Classic.

In the back of house the kitchen area is being doubled in size to accommodate the new styles of food that it will be offering, so that fresh food can be prepared, instead of the pre-made meals that they mostly serve at the moment.

The assistant manager, Aslim, seems excited about this and is very quick to quash any rumour that it is being remodelled to change the client√®le. The Pen & Wig was one of the first pubs in Cardiff to adopt the “cheap and cheerful” ethos that now every bar in Cardiff has and that it has to stay ahead of the curve in order to remain popular.

So, no need to fear, your beloved Pen & Wig is not closing down. Not being turned into a wine bar or a fancy restaurant, but it is going a bit more upmarket.


  1. Hmmm so its a long winded way in charging us more for a beer!

    Theres nothing particularly wrong with the pub in its current state.
    Maybe a lick of paint and some new furniture but no need to increase prices to pay for a refrub though!

  2. wondering if there are any plans to spruce up the Eli Jenkins in the Bay? I think this too is currently operated under the ‘Town Pubs’ branding?

  3. As anyone who attends the pub of a weekend can attest, it most certainly does not need to “stay ahead of the curve in order to remain popular”.

    The fact that it is cheap, welcoming and has a great atmosphere makes it a must-do stop on the way into town for students and, well, pretty much everyone who lives in Roath or Cathays.

    I’m not saying the re-branding exercise will change this but for the younger clientele who may not have so much disposable income, increasing prices may make it a less attractive option when Central Bar’s just a few steps away.

    Bar 33, as a Brains pub, offers their full range of ales along with a much better, homecooked menu. I’ve never seen that place packed out like the Pen & Wig on a Saturday night despite being in pretty much the same place.

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