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 clientèle. 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.