CoffeeBeer >> Pint Pleasures >> Previous Beer Columns >> 2 Commonside Pubs

Previous Pint Pleasures - July 1, 2002

guinness eileen

Hallamshire House, 49 Commonside, Crookes, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

guinness eileen

Closed Shop, Commonside, Crookes, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Although Commonside seems like a quiet little West Sheffield street it's one of the most direct ways to get between Walkley/Crookes/Upperthorpe and the University area of Broomhill. This could be why two pubs grew up directly across the street from each other. The Hallamshire House is an interesting tardigrade of a pub with pretty stained glass windows and details and lots of nice, old, dark wood. With a pool table in the front room, a full-sized snooker table in the back room, and lots of snug rooms and alcoves here and there and everywhere, it feels both cosy and cavernous. There's plenty of space for the three resident dogs: two black Alsatians who pop outside quite a bit and an elderly and quite curmudgeonly female who spends most of her time standing and glaring at the wall. On our first visit our pints of Ruddles Best Bitter (3.7% ABV, Morland PLC, Abingdon, Oxfordshire) were crisp and full and satisfying, just like Ruddles Best should be. Sadly we've had a few disappointing pints here since then, but I think it's simply a matter of turning over the Ruddles. Sometimes your timing is right and sometimes it isn't.

The frustrating feature of the Hallamshire House, which seems to be a feature common in a lot of English pubs, is the constant intrusion of television. Why do so many pubs insist on having the TV on all the time? I can see the point for particular sporting events or important news stories. But all the time? Do we really need to have "The Weakest Link" or "EastEnders" foisted upon us when we're out having a pint in an effort to be away from home and our housemates or family members who are probably sprawled in the lounge watching "The Weakest Link" or "EastEnders"? Is there no escape?

As you've probably guessed by now, I really hate television...

If you follow the two Alsatians out the front door and then cross the street you'll find yourself in the Closed Shop. The first time we visited this pub I wondered about the name. I suppose the Closed Shop, which refers to a closed-down workplace, is a better name than the Closed Pub, which would drive customers away before they even got up to the door. That would be like naming a shop "Sorry We're Closed", or calling your band "Tonight's Performance Cancelled." Although I suppose I've heard of stranger things...

The Closed Shop has a completely different feel from its neighbour. It's smaller for one thing, with a pool table in an elevated back room and most of the pub in the front around the bar. The truly amazing thing about the Closed Shop is its consistently excellent pint of Landlord (4.3% ABV, Timothy Taylor & Co. Ltd., Keighley, West Yorkshire). On our first visit we found this a perfect pint to follow the Ruddle's Best we'd just had across the street. Since that first visit we have found it a perfect pint to follow just about anything, or to precede anything, and to soothe all wounds, sorrows, problems, frustrations, irritations, stresses, anything that ails you. Landlord can be a very fine pint of real ale, and the Landlord at the Closed Shop is the most consistently best pint of Landlord I've found anywhere. You can always count on it -- always! If you prefer you can have a pint of Tetley's which you'll also find excellent; but one of the reasons the Landlord is so good here is because landlord Brendan, an ex-rugby player, drinks the stuff himself. Enough said? This pub deserves to be in the CAMRA guides simply because of the unconditionally pleasing pint of Landlord you can expect on every single visit. I'm not exaggerating here: this is a mighty fine pint!

Near the pool table there's a familiar painting on the wall entitled "Waiting for the store to open." This is by Laurence Stephen Lowry, famous for painting pictures of matchstick men -- the same pictures that inspired the hit song by Status Quo and later redone by Camper Van Beethoven, which was led by David Lowry. Hmmm, any connection? I think there's got to be a connection between the excellent real ale and the two hanging light fixtures in the front rooms of the pub. These wonderfully sensual light fixtures remind me of a light fixture I have in storage which I've always affectionately referred to as "the tit" for obvious design reasons. (And I'm not referring to anything avian.) So come into the open Closed Shop, order an excellent pint of beer, sit under one of the mammary light fixtures, and re-experience your childhood...

Closed Shop Updates
(Last updated 27 August 2020)
Hallamshire Updates
(Last updated 27 August 2020)