7 traditional pubs you have to try in Sheffield

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In January, Sheffield made international news by being named as a beer destination by the New York Times with much praise for its pubs and ales, writes Ros Arksey

The pubs name checked included The Sheffield Tap, located at Sheffield’s train station, which was described as “an inspirational introduction to the seriousness with which folk hereabouts treat their beer”.

As a resident of the city, it is refreshing that plenty of proper boozers can still be found and, as Sheffield is built on seven hills, here is my shortlist of seven traditional city centre pubs you have to try.

Red Deer

red deer

The traditional pub the Red Deer (which dates from 1825) is tucked away just off West Street, one of the main routes through the city centre. When I called in at lunchtime, I was greeted with the welcoming sight of coal fires burning which instantly gave a warm ambiance.

There are a couple of bright, airy rooms, which are decorated with bar stools and round tables, and there is a beer garden to enjoy when the better weather arrives.

An array of beer mats decorate the wall above and around the bar. There is decent beer range with nine hand pulled beers with guest beers including local Kelham Island Easy Rider and Timothy Taylor.

The pub hosts regular live music nights ranging from acoustic to folk.

You can grab a bite to eat from their tempting menu, there are options from light bites like chips with homemade Henderson’s ketchup and sandwiches (£5ish), to more substantial dishes of burgers, fish and chips (£7-8) and sharing boards – the meat one offers pate, ham hock and corned beef and there is a vegan option. I’ve heard good stuff too about their Sunday lunch…

Red Deer, 18 Pitt Street, Sheffield, S1 4DD (0114 272 2890, website)

The Bath Hotel

bath hotel

The Bath Hotel is described on their website as “a Grade II listed pub …which dates back to 1867, [and] at one time it appears to have doubled as a grocers and a beer house”. Situated near to West Street and Division Street, this pub is run by Thornbridge Brewery and is well worth seeking out. Inside, there is a cosy tap room and lounge, both with many original features.

You will find a good range of beers from Thornbridges like Jaywick and Brother Rabbit to guest ales on keg and cask from breweries including Dark Star and Purity. Their food menu varies, offering favourites like chilli and curry, as well as hot and cold sandwiches.

They have a rolling programme of events with regular music nights, a Thursday night pub quiz and one-off special evenings, the latest of which is a whisky tasting night.

The Bath Hotel, 66-68 Victoria St, Sheffield, S3 7QL (0114 249 5151, website)

Devonshire Cat

Devonshire Cat
[The Devonshire Cat's beer cellar - picture: Drunken Monkey / Flickr / CC]

The Devonshire Cat (or ‘Dev Cat’ to us locals) is minutes away from Division Street/Devonshire Green. This large open plan pub offers hundreds of beers (bottled, cask and draught) from around the globe, as well as guest and local ales such as Absolution and Deception from Abbeydale Brewery. The leather bound drinks menu gives you all the details you need on tasting notes, price and the brewery.

There is a robust pub classics food menu with a handful of burger options, gammon, steaks, fish & chips and pies ranging from £7-£9, as well as wraps and sandwiches (£5-6). There are daily specials to look out for too and they do Sunday roasts.

This is a modern (but not trendy) pub for all ages to grab a drink or a bite to eat. If you are into pub quizzes, they run one on a Monday night.

The Devonshire Cat, 49 Wellington Street, Sheffield, S1 4HG (0114 279 6700, website)

The Three Tuns

three tuns
[Sheffield's Flatiron? The Three Tuns - picture: Jose M Vazquez / Flickr / CC]

The quirky triangular shaped Three Tuns is a quaint traditional pub positioned not far from Sheffield Cathedral. The 1840s listed building has character and is a popular drinking hole for those who work at the nearby HSBC offices.

Those who are familiar with the Rutland Arms and Closed Shop (Crookesmoor) probably already know that the Three Tuns was recently acquired by the same team who run those pubs.

Inside décor is simple and comfortable with a scattering of stools, red banquette seating and mahogany tables. Ales on hand pull change regularly, and those that have featured include Kelham Island Easy Rider, Farmers Blonde from Bradfield Brewery and Timothy Taylor. You can expect to find other breweries featured like Kirkstall Pale Ale and Acorn IPA.

Their menu offers light bites, a range of sandwiches (including the 3 Tun Fun Bun) and more robust pub grub dishes – fish and chips, burgers, sausage and mash (£6-£8), as well as daily specials listed on the blackboard.

The Three Tuns, 39 Silver Street Head, Sheffield, S1 2DD (0114 272 0646, Twitter page)

The Brown Bear

brown bear

The Grade II listed Brown Bear is probably the oldest and cheapest city centre pub in Sheffield. This Samuel Smith’s run boozer is located on a cobbled street just steps from Sheffield’s theatres and the Winter Gardens.

Inside, the pub is split into two smallish rooms (public and lounge bars) where you will often find locals propping up the bar. On the night we called in, we were entertained by an 85-year-old telling his life story and how he had been a regular for over 60 years.

Being a Samuel Smith’s pub you won’t find guest ales or a range of breweries to choose from. They have their own bitter and lagers on tap, all at a very reasonable price of roughly £2 a pint.

For me, this place has a special memory as I called in for a drink on my first date with the man who was to become my husband, and that was nearly 14 years ago.

The Brown Bear, 109 Norfolk Street, Sheffield, S1 2JE (0114 272 7744)

Rutland Arms

rutland arms

This street corner pub is full of character outside and inside and is a popular spot for locals, students and nearby office workers.

You will find decent beer and food here, including the renowned ‘rutty butty’ – a chip butty with melted cheese and spicy tomato sauce for £4. There are burgers, pies and fish and chips as core staples on the menu, together with a regularly changing specials board. They do Sunday roasts too.

Rico the chef regularly tweets about what is being cooked up in the kitchen to tantalise your taste buds, and his latest snack is ndjua popcorn for 50p a pop (excuse the pun).

They have a nice beer garden, which makes for a pleasant spot to sup a cool beer when the weather is nice.

Beers regularly change, local beers feature from the likes of Acorn Brewery, Sheffield Brewery Company and Abbeydale, with some further afield choices from Magic Rock – Cannonball IPA, and High Wire and Diablo IPA from Summer Wine brewery.

Rutland Arms, 86 Brown St, Sheffield, S1 2BS (0114 272 9003, website)

Sheffield Tap

sheffield tap
[The Sheffield Tap - picture: pwizz / Flickr / CC]

The Edwardian Grade II Sheffield Tap is situated by platform one at Sheffield’s train station and is a relative newcomer to the city. Well, perhaps it would be more accurate to say ‘a phoenix from the flames’, as this pub was left disused from the 1960s/1970s and was refurbished in 2009 back to its former glory.

It was awarded the ‘best conversion to pub’ award by CAMRA and English Heritage and you can see why when you step inside. The ambiance is relaxed (if you avoid peak travel times) and the building has an abundance of original features with a smart long bar, a mahogany mirror backdrop and wooden panelled walls. From the main bar a few rooms lead off so you can find a comfortable corner to enjoy a drink.

Their website details which beers are currently on, and you will find 12 on tap and 10 cask and can expect to find a range from breweries like Thornbridge, Alechemy and Bernard.

So if you find yourself at a loose end waiting for a train you should call in and take a look; alternatively it’s a drinking venue in its own right and is packed at the weekend.

The Sheffield Tap, Platform 1b, Sheffield Station, Sheaf St, Sheffield, S1 2BP (website)

• All pictures by Ros Arksey unless otherwise stated.

Find these pubs on our Sheffield map:

Like this? Try this:

• 6 of the best places to eat in Sheffield
• Nibbly Pig’s guide to eating out in Sheffield
• Sheffield Restaurants Guide – read the reviews and book tables
• Shef’s #cookbook – behind the scenes with Sheffield’s finest chefs

What’s your favourite pub in Sheffield?

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