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Previous Pint Pleasures - November 5, 2003

guinness eileen

The Red Deer, 18 Pitt Street, Sheffield S1, South Yorkshire

When one thinks of a "city centre", one tends to think of a bustling urban microcosm throbbing with traffic and pedestrians and lights and trendy shops, cafes, and bars. In this sense a "city centre pub" might bring to mind a bustling throbbing watering hole, either dark as a cave or garishly lit, with as much traditional pub ambience as a supermarket -- or at the very best a traditional pub which at first promises all the traditional features and decor but which ultimately attracts crowds of trendy types who bustle and throb as they chug their lager. But hiding in the back streets of even the biggest cities one can find the occasional traditional pub still retaining its traditional atmosphere.

The Red Deer is one of these rare pubs. Hidden away between the traffic of West Street and the trendy shops of Division Street, this small pub is a real ale lover's sanctuary where one can sit and enjoy a decent pint while discussing subjects both urban and nonurban. The clientele includes city workers and university staff as well as local regulars. There are several cosy little rooms and a pleasant private garden out back with lots of seating. The walls are covered with artworks for sale, and on the day we visited there was a poster advertising an upcoming Adnams Meet The Brewer Night.

And there are a variety of cask ales including Landlord, Black Sheep, Tetley, and Old Speckled Hen. The guest beers included Adnams Broadside, and the friendly landlady is fond of her real ale, which is always a good sign. She was quite excited about the Adnams Fisherman which was due in a few weeks, and we were sad to learn we'd just missed the rare Adnams Regatta. So we settled for pints of Bombardier (4.3% ABV, Charles Wells Brewery, Bedford, Bedfordshire), another favourite of ours. We had stopped in for lunch, which is served all afternoon Monday through Friday -- a good thing to know when you tend to be late for lunch. Although the menu at first looked interesting the food turned out to be fairly ordinary fare, but I must say the beer was excellent.

As we were finishing our pints the barman told us stories about some of the amusing eccentrics who stop in regularly, including one man who claims to be somebody different every time he visits, and another old bloke who methodically counts his money and always expresses surprise when he finds the same 5-pound note in his shirt pocket. In my opinion a pub that attracts a regular cast of amusing eccentrics is a pub worth visiting regularly.

From what I've read online the Red Deer also seems to attract pickled egg lovers. Lovers of pickled eggs, I should say -- although I suppose the occasionally pickled lover of eggs might make an appearance as well, undoubtedly blending in well with the money counters and the split personalities. What an ideal pub for a real ale lover who likes to count pickled eggs! Ah, a real ale fan who loves to count interesting hand pumps and clientele, this pub could provide me with hours of amusement.

And I might even try a pickled egg.

Red Deer Updates
(Last updated 18 May 2019)

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