The Unicorn at Porthtowan Beach gets a £350,000 transformation


Work started this week on major refurbishment of the Unicorn in Porthtowan which has been closed since May. HEINEKEN’s pub business, Star Pubs & Bars, and new licensees, Taskin Muzaffer, Pru Clarke and Gareth Crosby of The Johnson Collective, who run successful pubs and restaurants in London, are together investing £350,000 renovating and upgrading the pub.  It will reopen for the August bank holiday weekend, as an all-day neighbourhood pub with rooms - The Unicorn On The Beach - Coastal Pub, Kitchen & Rooms creating 25 new jobs.

The plans for The Unicorn On The Beach are to create the best pub in the area - a fantastic, great value, family and dog friendly local, a real hub for the community, with a focus on top quality locally sourced food, varied entertainment and a stylish beach bar for beachgoers, walkers and surfers. Five luxury en-suite bedrooms are also being created and a Surf House, which will sleep 20 people in luxury pods in New England dorm style rooms, designed by An Artful Life.

The interior is being reconfigured to create five different areas including – a relaxed bar, a snug with an open fire and brightly coloured sofas and chairs, a dining style conservatory, a games room with snooker and darts, and a new cinema room.  The overall look will be light, classic, and stylish with a retro feel.  There will be fabric covered 50s style fixed seating and tub chairs and wicker furniture and elegant pendant style lighting made locally.

Outside, the terrace is being substantially extended and new furniture installed to make the most of its stunning beachside location and ocean views.  There will be terraces and drinking and Kitchen vegetable gardens, which altogether provide seating for 190, trebling the current capacity.  The exterior will also be greatly enhanced by new painted cladding, signage, planting and festoon lighting, creating a relaxed environment to enjoy a drink or something to eat.

Cornish and West Country provenance and ethical principles will be central to the food, with all ingredients sourced from within 100 miles of the pub.  The well-priced menu will include pub classics such as: Rospeath Farm’s beef burger, pickles, lettuce, special sauce, tomato, bun & fries; Steamed Fowey mussels, white wine, Good Earth Grower’s herbs, cream, onion, bread; and Guinness, Falmouth oyster & beef pie, new potatoes, wilted organic greens as well as seasonal specialities.  The pub will open from 9am for breakfast and barista style coffee, followed by brunch, nibbles and light snacks as well as more substantial lunches and a cracking Sunday lunch. The drinks range will have something for all budgets, from craft and local ales, well known beers, wines from organic and/or bio-dynamic winemakers, a good selection of spirits including 15 gins, some from small batch producers, to mouth-watering cocktails.

As for entertainment, there will be pool and darts, vintage or arts style films with free popcorn a couple of times a week and twice monthly The Unicorn on the Beach will host a pub quiz and live music.  There will also be mothers (and/or dads) coffee mornings, local business coffee mornings, and yoga classes, all of which will have a special lunch offer available.

Not to be forgotten, surfers will be catered for with surf reports and surfboard storage.

Sarah Hawthorne, who was born and brought up in St Ives and has been working as a General Manager with Taskin, Pru and Gareth, is returning to Cornwall to open and manage the team’s first West Country outpost.  

Taskin said: “We’ve been wanting to open a pub in Cornwall for some time and The Unicorn on the Beach ticks all our boxes – a fantastic beachside location which we could transform and an opportunity to provide accommodation for the increasing number of staycationers and surf enthusiasts.  But most importantly, it has the potential to be a great neighbourhood pub. And to show how important local residents are to us, we’ll have a special ‘locals’ discount.”

Sarah said: “I can’t wait to come home to Cornwall and run The Unicorn on the Beach.  It will have it all – a fantastic location, stunning new décor, good interesting drinks selection and I believe some of the best food around helped by the exceptional produce on our doorstep.  I’m really looking forward to moving in getting to know my new neighbours and making new friends.”

Neil Convery, regional operations director for Star Pubs & Bars said: “We’re delighted to be co-investing with The Johnson Collective to create what will be a fantastic coastal pub with rooms.  They are a highly experienced and well-regarded team. Their vision is to create a unique neighbourhood pub for all seasons, all occasions and all age groups. “Our investment is part of £50m being spent by Heineken on great British pubs this year.  Pubs like The Unicorn on the Beach need this type of investment to flourish in the long-term and great operators, like this team undoubtedly is. I wish them well.”