CoffeeBeer >> Pint Pleasures >> Two Newly Discovered Pubs
The Green Room, 150-154 Devonshire Street, Devonshire Quarter, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
The Railway Hotel, 184 Bramall Lane, Highfield, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
One recent day after work I strolled down Division Street for two reasons. One was to photograph the two elephants in Devonshire Green, part of the Herd of Sheffield project. And the second was to satisfy my craving for a pizza at Pizza Express with my friends Olly and Vic. And on the way I got to try a free sample of the new Baskin & Robbins that had just opened nearby.
We met first for a pint at the Green Room. The four handpumps featured three brews from Sheffield's own Stancill Brewery and one guest, and they had a Stancill pilsner on tap as well. I had a slightly warm but otherwise good pint of Barnsley Bitter (3.8% ABV, Stancill Brewery, Sheffield, South Yorkshire). I figured it was warm only because it was a warm day and I was probably the first customer to have ordered a pint.
The three of us sat at a table by the window. As Olly and Vic had been here many times before but it was my first visit, I couldn't help popping up to investigate the interior. The decor features a weathered wood floor, random old wooden furniture, and random snugs here and there, with a raised carpeted room on the far side consisting of two little living rooms. As there were very few people in the pub I was tempted to move around and try sitting everywhere for just a minute or two; but I controlled myself, primarily so I wouldn't make my two friends nervous with my impulsive eccentricities. I was surprised that Vic didn't like the place, commenting that it seemed grubbier than she had remembered, because both Olly and I liked the funky arty feel. To each her own, I guess: it may not seem like the typical traditional pub Vic would have preferred, but it's got a lot of character. I have no idea what it's like during busy nights, but I'd be more than happy to meet here for future pints.
As we looked out onto Devonshire Green I couldn't help thinking of my dear friend Trevor who passed away three years ago. As part of our first Trevor memorial pub crawl a year later, a handful of his ashes were scattered on the Green -- just out there, actually. (Can you see where I'm pointing? I suppose you'll have to wait until the video version of Pint Pleasures comes out.) So there will always be a little bit of Trevor on Devonshire Green -- and in the gardens of the six pubs we managed to get to as well.
More recently I met a friend for a pint at the Railway Hotel in Bramall Lane. I hadn't been to this pub for years, back when our local pool team played away matches here. Earlier this year the pub managed to evolve from the typical pool-match football-fan pub I remember into a proper real ale venue, complete with Meet the Brewer evenings. It was a quiet Sunday afternoon when I met Annemiek. The gentleman behind the bar was friendly and the peaceful atmosphere made it difficult to imagine how packed the pub must get during Sheffield United home matches.
There were four cask ales on and one cask cider, as well as a few craft beers. I went for a pint of Leather Lane (4.5% ABV, Thornbridge Brewery, Bakewell, Derbyshire), which is named after the Leather Lane Brewery which Thornbridge had just taken over. I was quite happy with the interesting roundness of hoppy fruity bitter in such a pale golden ale. It was quite nice. Annemiek, who is Dutch, is a staunch lager drinker, but she does like a decent lager, and she was nearly ecstatic that her favourite was on tap. So she had a pint of Frontier (4.5% ABV, Fullers, London), which is described as a "new wave craft lager". And it is a great little lager, I have to say -- and only £3.00 as well, which is damn cheap for craft lagers.
As it was a rare pleasant day, bucking the trend of Sheffield's global-warming-induced daily rainshowers, we took our pints and sat in the pleasant beer garden. As opposed to the pub itself, which gives the impression of being laid out in small diagonal sections angling from the main corner door, the garden is evenly rectangular and very clean -- and the sunshine seemed to stress the clean and even calmness. We could have easily sat out there for a second pint, but we both had later commitments. Still, it was a very pleasant peaceful break from the normal chaos.
I can't help wondering how many Blades fans who come to the matches at Bramall Lane are cask ale drinkers. Probably not that many, but we can only hope that changes...