A pint at the Wig & Pen

S et in the heart of Cornwall’s capital city, Truro, the Wig & Pen has a strong focus on fantastic drinks, delicious food, and friendly service.

Photo courtesy of Frankie Thomas

When the tenancy opened up, Tom and Lara jumped at the opportunity, ready to release its potential.

Formerly known as The Star Inn, the Wig & Pen was renamed in the 20th century to reflect its location near the county courthouse. A grade-two listed pub, it has been at the centre of the city for nearly 200 years, and has a long history, first as two separate villas, before becoming one.

Showcasing the very best of Cornwall, the Wig & Pen was a natural choice for Lara and Tom after several successful years managing The Peterville Inn in St Agnes. Acting as ‘sister’ pubs, the Wig & Pen sees the couple tackle a contemporary take on pub classics with less of a focus on seafood, whilst still utilising seasonal ingredients.

We stopped by for a pint at the Wig & Pen with Lara and Tom to find out more about their experience about running a pub in Cornwall. 


How long have you been a St Austell Brewery tenant? 

We took on the Wig & Pen in early December, but chose not to reopen until mid-March once we’d completed the refurbishment. 


How has the Wig & Pen transformed since you've taken over the tenancy? 

Naturally, the refurbishment has completely transformed the Wig & Pen. We’ve completely redecorated using rich dark greens, panelling, and focused on lighting to highlight the interior to give it an almost London-esque feel – perfect for the city centre of Truro. We knew there was a lot of potential from the building to create a luxury space while retaining the traditional charms of the pub. 


What has the response from your customers been like?

All positive - we’ve had a lot of support from the local community with them forming the majority of our customer base, closely followed by workers in the area. Our Sunday roast and steak nights have also proved extremely popular and have seen us attract visitors travelling from further afield just to join us.


What kind of support have you had from the brewery?

Our support from the brewery has been great from the off-set – John, our BDM, was a huge help with the refurb and continues to check in with us regularly. From maintenance to design, he had an answer for everything and made the whole process easy for us. Helping us with the opening, John has championed us ever since. 


What are your plans for the future?

We’ll be opening downstairs, hopefully later this year ready for the Winter months. The restaurant menu will move to this new, cosy-lux area - a new hidden foodie spot for visitors to discover and enjoy. We’re focusing on creating a proper pub feel upstairs, with live music events and quiz nights in the pipeline. 


What makes the Wig & Pen stand out?

It’s a great pub with a great city-centre location. Having lived in the area for years, we knew the potential of the building and had always had an eye on it, so when it came up as a tenancy, we jumped at the opportunity. Truro was missing a lux, gastro-style pub so it was the perfect match for us. 


Why do you enjoy what you do?

We’ve been working for over 20 years in the industry – creating great spaces, looking after people, and seeing it all come together, you can’t find a more rewarding job. Every day we get feedback and can really build into the community, and there’s huge satisfaction in seeing that.


How would you describe running a pub in Cornwall?

Obviously, you have the year-round locals and then a huge peak in tourists during the summer months - you’re running two very different businesses in one. But, running a pub in Cornwall is hugely rewarding, it’s one of the best places to work. 


What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to take on the challenge of running their own pub?

Make sure you’ve got a good team around you. It’s not a one-man show so you need to ensure you’ve got passionate people to support you – look after your staff, and they’ll help you through the challenges. 


Why not pay a visit to the Wig & Pen and discover if running a pub could be your next business venture too? 

* All photography is courtesy of Frankie Thomas.