Friday 13th December 2013.
Newport’s Pen & Wig used to be a bit drab, I don’t think it would be unkind to call it depressing. It wasn’t unwelcoming, it was just full of daytime drinkers and older guys watching rugby. It was ok if you knew it but probably didn’t make a lasting impression on new visitors.
It’s recently been taken over and with the minimum of fuss has been transformed into a decent boozer. New wallpaper, some tarted up blackboards, a re-jigging of tables, an open grill and a ceiling that isn’t the colour of a thousand fags.
The beer selection is good too. I start with a Celt Native Storm. 4.4%. Not the ridiculous percentage of the last Celt I had. Smells of dried out KFC wetwipes. It actually does. The dried out bit is important. It’s a solid tasting session beer. I like it.
Given that the pub is now a ‘grill’ too, we order food. I risk the pork belly, it’s £7.99. Paul has a crack at the sirloin steak at the same price. Both are disappointing. I think it was the cuts of meat rather than the actual cooking of them. Mine was just fat and not the melt in the mouth type, Paul struggled to get meat off his. To be fair, when we complained, the manager offered us free meals on our next visit, dessert and a free pint each. We passed on dessert but as I said, the beers were good, we took him up on that offer. We’ll given them another chance, they’ve only just taken over.
Anyway, back to the beer, Kite Old Reg is an amber ale by colour but maybe not by definition. It’s not over pungent and I don’t really know what it tastes of but it’s sort of comfortingly nice. Like somebody else’s kitten. It’s great for winter wood panelled pubs.
There is also Doom Bar, Bass, Felinfoel (autocorrected to ‘Deliberately Girl’) Double Dragon and Otley Boss on tap.
They have Sky and BT for sport fans and if they get the food right (I’d happily pay a tenner if they get some better meat in) then this could be a valuable addition to Newport’s night life.