Mitchells and Butlers pub is housed in a Victorian three-storey building and features a choice of drinking areas, with wooden floors in one section and flagstones in another. At the front of the pub is a large Victorian window and an equally large old Bass brewery mirror is set to one side. Converted to a pub in 1994, the Pen & Wig manages to have an atmosphere about it that is often lacking in other pub company-owned pubs. To the rear is an outdoor drinking area, which in the summer months is a perfect sun trap. Throughout the year it is popular with smokers. The Pen and Wig still retains some of the original Victorian layout of the building, with dividing walls and doorways.
The large bar counter, well-finished in stained wood, offers two banks of five handpumps with regular real ales being Brains Bitter and Greene King IPA, together with guests from breweries such as Daleside in the Lake District and Caledonian in Scotland. There is a jukebox, although the music level is not too high and there are quiet areas where conversation can prevail. Pub games are also popular with a chalkboard menu of more than 10 choices behind the bar.
The extensive menu with grill nights on Wednesdays and curry nights on Thursdays caters for all tastes, with pub classics from £2.99 to slow-cooked belly pork with mash for £6.69. The dessert menu is also inviting, with a giant chocolate fudge cake and sticky toffee pudding on offer.
This is a great pub and worthy award-winner from the Campaign for Real Ale. Good beer and good food in a nice atmosphere, a welcome change from the city centre theme bars.