Pub opens doors again in its new guise

NEW boutique pub and B&B The Sheep & Penguin in Tucker Street, Wells, has opened its doors.

Customers were invited in to see it for the first time at a launch event at 5pm on Friday, August 11, when complimentary canapés were served.

Formerly The Mermaid, the pub had been derelict for ten years before being acquired and renovated by Bristol-based Nick James and his family. The Sheep & Penguin is the second venue for the family, who own popular pub The Queens in Chew Magna.

The Wells venue, which also offers accommodation in the form of seven boutique guest rooms and four mews houses, will have a strong focus on seasonal, locally sourced food, real ales and cocktails, they say.

The pub’s new food menu has been created by Head Chef Andy Scarott, whose resumé includes the critically acclaimed The Gannet in Glasgow. As well as pub classic dishes, the menu will include global influences and use seasonal produce from local suppliers.

The drinks menu includes a wide range of locally sourced beers and real ales, as well as a carefully curated wine and cocktail menu created by General Manager Jan Forster, who was previously bar manager at The Pig at Hunstrete.

Speaking about the new opening, the James family said: “We acquired the site for The Sheep & Penguin well before lockdown, and have spent years meticulously renovating this historic pub back to its former glory, and we can’t wait to bring a real community hub with great food, beers and service to Wells.

“We really wanted to stay true to the pub’s history and retain as much of that ‘proper pub’ feel as possible, and are so excited to share it with the locals and visitors to this wonderful corner of Somerset.” The new name, The Sheep & Penguin, has its own anecdote, paying homage to the Falkland Islands Agency that operated next door. But the family say that one of the staff can reveal more about the story behind its origin over a pint or cocktail.