CoffeeBeer >> Pint Pleasures >> Two Sheffield Micropubs

Home Current Column Previous Columns Beer Links Beer in Foreign Languages
Your Beer Fortune

guinness eileen

The Bar Stewards Bar & Bottle Shop, 163 Gibraltar Street, West Bar, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

guinness eileen

The Ecclesall Ale Club, 429 Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Micropubs are starting to pop up all over Sheffield, which is good news in this era when too many pubs close their doors. After all, a micropub doesn't need an established pub building. One can open a micropub in any old unused shop, fast food joint, vape outlet, estate agents' office, post office, gift shop, you name it. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to come home one day and find some enterprising young person has turned our lounge into a micropub. Although considering the miniscule size and confused state of our lounge I wouldn't advise it.

I've previously reviewed the Walkley Beer Company, the Beerhouse, the Portland House, the Itchy Pig, the Drink Inn, and most recently Guzzle, and already I've got two more micropubs to talk about.

Having opened in late 2016, the Bar Stewards is located directly across the road from a classic cask ale pub, Shakespeares. It's run by beer lovers Charlie and Alan in a space that was once an estate agents' office. When we visited in 2017 it seemed quite bare, with the bar at the rear, three tiny tables by the front window, and a wood-floored void in between. Fortunately there was a sign announcing more seating in the back.

After ordering our pints from the barman -- who started all of his sentences with the word "So" -- the three of us scrunched up at one of the tiny tables with our drinks. Andrew and I had pints of single hopped Ahtanum APA (4.0% ABV, North Riding Brewing Company, Scarborough, North Yorkshire). It was pleasant enough, with a mildly woodsy character from the Pacific Northwest hops. I also had a taste of Mike's pint, The Devil Made Me Do It (5.5% ABV,, Arbor), a stout dry hopped with Citra, Mosaic, Bravo, and Simcoe. Although I enjoyed the hops character it was too malty for me, although Andrew thought it was great.

On the walls around ius were paintings in different styles of various musicians covering a wide spectrum: Debbie Harry, Van Morrison, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, and Eddie Vedder. At the time we visited there were four handpumps and five craft beer taps, and bottles for sale as well. The venue can be hired, and they offer mobile bar services as well.

I'm afraid I can't think of much else to say about our visit. I suppose the place is worth another visit after all this time.

Over on Ecclesall Road, the currently most recent micropub to open is the Ecclesall Ale Club. Located just off the Berkeley Centre, the space was formerly Eccy Booze. As opposed to the Bar Stewards, this micropub has quite a bit of atmosphere, as the owners wanted to give the feel of an old private club.

The pub is the first brewery tap of local brewery The Brew Foundation. After examining the handpumps with not much help from the distracted barmaid, we went for pints of Free Beer (4.4% ABV, The Brew Foundation, Sheffield, South Yorkshire). Brewed with Chinook, Simcoe, and Mosaic APA hops, this had a slightly caramel malty sweetness but it wasn't offputting at all. Like so many beers in these trendily vegan times it's unfined and therefore slightly hazy -- and of course vegan.

The pub is dark and cosy, with bookshelves lit with retro table lamps, a random collection of furniture, and classical art on the walls. At the time of our visit they had five handpumps, eight craft beer taps, and plenty of wines, spirits, and a fridge with bottles and cans to take away. It had a really nice feel, and on this Sunday afternoon it was full of Ecclesall Road-area students. I'll admit we were obviously the oldest customers by a long shot, but this never bothers me. As we sipped our cloudy pints we discussed Couch, the cafe situated directly across the road. With the realisation we were sitting on chairs rather than couches, I suddenly wondered if we were in fact drinking apricot nectar instead of beer. And were we perhaps sitting in a pet shop instead of a micropub? All I knew for sure was that my glass was definitely not a pipe.

This trend of turning empty storefronts into cask ale venues is very promising, and at the moment yet another micropub is due to open in a few months not far from where I live. Personally I think we should turn all nail parlours into cask ale pubs. And while we're at it, maybe we could turn the Home Office into a giant Wetherspoons...


  • CLOSED SHOP, SHEFFIELD: One recent day after work I stopped in and had a pint of Summit Hoppy (4%, Muirhouse Brewery, Ilkeston, Derbyshire). It was a dead Monday teatime during a bitter cold spell. The pub heating had broken down and the poor barman was freezing, so I counted my blessings because at least I could go back to my warm home after this pint. The only customers in the pub were me and a grey-bearded gentleman with a scruffy dog. I sat on the side with my pint and watched the gentleman as he typed madly on his phone (with the keystroke sounds obviously turned up very loud). The beer was nice and chop-hoppy, so very comforting on such a cold day. Some ale drinkers may desire something hearty like a chocolate stout on a day like this; but I find the ultra-hopped beers warming to my palette, working my tastebuds into a warmth-producing sweat. And when I finished my pint I was ready to wrap up and brace the Arctic winds.

  • BLAKE, SHEFFIELD: Recently we stopped in here where I had a taste of White Monk (4.5% ABV, Phoenix Brewery, Manchester), which was pleasant and hoppy. And we all had a taste of Breakfast IPA MKV (5.1% ABV, Neepsend Brewery, Sheffield, South Yorkshire). Brewed with champagne yeast, a touch of oatmeal, and plenty of hops, this was a most impressive quaff -- but a bit too powerful for the afternoon. So Mike, Andrew, and I all went for pints of Kodiak Gold (4.0% ABV, Beartown Brewery, Congleton, Cheshire). Apparently the brewery is named for the fact that back in the 13th century the town of Congleton employed an official Bear Warden who monitored the town's bear baiting. And seeing as how Kodiak brings to mind the island in Alaska, I couldn't help picturing polar bears.

  • WELLINGTON, SHEFFIELD: : Mike, Andrew, and I all moved on to this pub where Andrew and I had pints of Triple Hop (4.3% ABV, Blue Bee Brewing, Sheffield, South Yorkshire), a lovely beer which we've had before. Mike went for the Brandy Porter (5.1% ABV, Neepsend Brewery, Sheffield, South Yorkshire), which is more like a stout, thick with an alcoholic accent. It would make a very nice dessert. I could see my Oakland friend Mistah Rick and I having something like this as our final leg on a shared US beer flight.

  • HALLAMSHIRE HOUSE, SHEFFIELD: After a nice Italian lunch with friends we ended up at this pub for a couple of pints. As there were no cask ales I was either interested in or, more importantly, less than 5.0% ABV, I opted for a craft beer and went for a pint of Shindigger West Coast IPA (4.5% ABV, Shindigger Brewing Company, Manchester). This was surprisingly nice with a zippy taste. Sadly, when I was going to order my second pint, it had just run out, and I almost left at that point. But then I tasted one of the lager drinker's Lukas Lager (4.2% ABV, Thornbridge Brewery, Bakewell, Derbyshire), which fortunately had a slightly hoppy taste and made another pint more tolerable. Still I'm so often disappointed with what this pub now offers in the way of hoppy beers that won't make you fall over as soon as you walk out the door.


  • American Pale Ale (5.0% ABV, Brew York, York, North Yorkshire): Tripled hopped in a can, this was a nice reward after walking home from work uphill in the snow. It's zippy, like a sledge flying off a snowy slope -- which I saw plenty of on my walk.

  • Twisted Thistle IPA (5.6% ABV, Belhaven Brewery, Belhaven, East Lothian, Scotland): The next night, after walking home uphill in even worse weather, I had another can, this time of an old friend. This was yet another delightfully hoppy tonic after my trek.