CoffeeBeer >> Pint Pleasures >> Previous Beer Columns >> 4 Pubs In and Near London Road
The Old Crown, 137 London Road, Highfield, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
The Cremorne, 185 London Road, Highfield, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
The Scholar, 13 London Road, Highfield, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Delaney's Music Bar, 17 Cemetery Road, Highfield, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
My first introduction to Sheffield's busy London Road took place 10 years ago, before I lived in the city. Andrew and I were staying at a hotel in Sharrow and decided this cosmopolitan road full of pubs and ethnic restaurants seemed the best place to find a pint and a meal.
We ended up on a bit of an adventure which started when we walked into the Old Crown. A man instantly greeted us with "CAMRA?" Naturally we were surprised as, although we did happen to be CAMRA members, Andrew's bald head and very short beard and my skinny female countenance didn't exactly scream out the typical CAMRA image at the time. But Bob Watson, former counsellor and then Secretary of the Sheffield area CAMRA, had instantly spotted our single-minded quest to find out what was on the handpumps.
As we sipped pints of John Smith Bitter (3.8% ABV, John Smith Brewery, Tadcaster, North Yorkshire) we chatted with Bob and his 80-year-old companion about many Yorkshire-related things, all new to my ears as I was still a relatively fresh immigrant from America and not at all accustomed to Northern speech.
Before we knew it, Bob had whisked us off on a pub crawl, ending at his home where his wife cooked us a meal. Less than a month after we moved to Sheffield we heard on the news that Bob had been tragically killed by a hit-and-run driver after leaving a real ale festival, so we never had the chance to return the hospitality.
Recently I revisited the Old Crown with my walking companion Trevor. This time I had the chance to concentrate on the pub itself, which is deceptively big with several rooms. As we chatted with a couple of friendly customers at the bar, we ordered pints of Moonshine (4.3% ABV, Abbeydale Brewery, Sheffield, South Yorkshire) which were spot on. We sat in the back lounge and decided that the coloured fresnels and large mirrored disco ball probably indicated live bands, DJs, or at least karaoke must be staged in this room. Surrounding us on the walls were paintings of Sinatra, Elvis, Jimi, Marilyn, and James Dean as well as a gigantic railroad clock that appeared to tell perfect time. Beyond the room is a pleasant covered beer garden supplied with three working heaters, which impressed Trevor the smoker, as he thought he'd finally found his perfect winter smoking garden.
Just down the road the Cremorne was closed, but we could hear a band rehearsing inside, and the row of handpumps visible from the front window tempted us to come back and try again soon. I'd had a quick pint of Adnams Fisherman (4.5% ABV, Adnams and Co, Southwold, Suffolk) in this pub years ago with Bob Watson and Andrew when it was crowded with students, and I visited the pub again a couple of years ago when a group of us came to hear Calder McLaughlin and his band. Again the pub was jammed with people, and I remember the band playing below the crowd on a lower level next to the courtyard.
When Trevor and I made our return visit on a Sunday afternoon, we were relieved to find the pub was open, and hardly anybody was there so I could see what it looks like. The original interior features lots of dark wood, and there is graffiti art everywhere, on the walls and the crossbeams as well as outside in the garden. It's still very much a music pub, and the young barman looked very much at home. We had pints of Paradise Pale (4.1% ABV, Sheffield Brewery, Sheffield, South Yorkshire) which is definitely a JC beer, eg. excitingly hoppy. Our pints were a bit cloudy, but the beer was quite cold, so it was probably just the chilling effect. But oh my: wild hops, hops in the wild! I felt as if I were swimming in a sea of hops. This pint was gorgeous and as refreshing as anything could possibly be.
At the city centre end of London Road is the Scholar, located close to a block of student accommodation and Bramall Lane. Owned by the Barracuda pub chain, who also operate the two Varsity bars, the Scholar is a large friendly pub with a long bar on one side, pool and table football, and TV screens everywhere. The dark-wood decor features super plush brown leather sofas not unlike the Springvale, and near the entrance is a surprisingly inviting winding staircase -- but we resisted the urge to follow its charms. There were several guest ales available at the cheap price of £2.10 a pint. As we had other places to go we had quick halves of Bombardier (4.3% ABV, Charles Welles) and sat in the little smoking area in the back having a chat about Soviet anthems and TV jingles. We even sang a Russian song or two, fully expecting to be joined by Russian students. But we weren't; perhaps next time. After all, anything can happen when one is drinking Bombardier.
Just off London road behind the Waitrose is a new music pub. Delaney's had just opened the week before we dropped in, and the excellent local blues band Natchez Burning had performed the night before. We met the owner, Steve Delaney, who used to be the leader and guitarist of Sheffield band the Sharp Cuts and who knows many of our musician friends. He and his wife Krysia were very friendly and eager about their new venture. We ordered pints of Lord Marples (4.3% ABV, Thornbridge Brewery, Bakewell, Derbyshire) and sat out in the pleasant Pacific Coast Highway-style beer garden with its 1950s French beach chairs and a patio heater that resembled Ava Gardner. They were preparing for a "Hawaiian party" (or what I know as a luau, even without a roast hog). As they were concerned about the mounting clouds I convinced them that sudden rainfalls are not unusual in Hawaii.
Our pints were absolutely gorgeous. This is a "classic bitter" but with that wonderful superhoppy Thornbridge signature. They were a bit pricey, though, as it cost £6.90 for two pints and a packet of peanuts. These are prices one would be willing to pay at a live music gig; but for an afternoon session I'd rather go somewhere a bit easier on my skimpy wallet.
Since the Nottingham House in Broomhill closed its doors recently, the Notty's famous Albert's Pies have moved over to Delaney's. Renamed Alberts Pies, according to all the signs, we are wondering if the real Albert, who is not involved in this venture, retains rights to the apostrophe.
(Last updated 10 June 2015)
(Last updated 14 April 2012)