CoffeeBeer >> Pint Pleasures >> Previous Beer Columns >> Two Sheffield City Centre Pubs

Previous Pint Pleasures - August 5, 2002

guinness eileen

Devonshire Cat, 49 Wellington Street, Sheffield S1, South Yorkshire

guinness eileen

Three Cranes, 74 Queen Street, Sheffield S1, South Yorkshire

Encased inside a heavily trafficked ring road system, Sheffield City Centre offers a classic urban change from the usual industrial archaeology and lush countryside views found in the city's other neighbourhoods. From the 15th century cathedrals to the 21st century shops, galleries, theatres, and gardens, this part of Sheffield is much like other British cities except for one welcome advantage: the easy access to a good pint. Yes, even in the heart of the pedestrian shopping district it's not difficult to find a worthy pub.

Just off Devonshire Green, not far from the trendy Division Street, is a modern building housing a real ale retreat. The Devonshire Cat was opened in March of this year by the owners of the Fat Cat on Kelham Island. This contemporary pale-wood pub is roomy and loud without being high-tech and art-snobby, and the staff are quite friendly. It's a shame there isn't room outside on the pavement for tables, but at least the large picture windows open as doors on pleasant days.

Our first visit was for lunch when my mother was visiting, and our food was superb. Andrew and I both had chilli served on chips. My vegetarian version was spicy hot, bursting with the juicy flavour of pickled jalapeños. I had a taste of my mother's Waterloo Sunset Cider, which was very apple-ish, tart, sweet, and flavourful like a Granny Smith. Andrew's Timothy Taylor Golden Best (3.5% ABV, Timothy Taylor & Co. Ltd., Keighley, West Yorkshire) was a good example of a satisfying low-alcohol beer, a good recommendation for designated drivers. My Devonshire Cat (3.8% ABV, Kelham Island Brewery, Sheffield, South Yorkshire) was good and tarty, definitely a tarty pussy beer. I could feel those barbs prick up on my tongue, giving me the urge to give my coat a thorough licking...mmmm, purrrrrfect!

Our second visit was a desperate search for food on a Saturday night when a friend and Andrew's mother were both visiting. With our party ranging in age from 33 to 81 we were looking for good food, good beer, and a relaxing but fun urban setting. As I was recovering from a bout of gastroenteritis I sipped an embarrassingly small half pint of Barnsley Bitter (3.8% ABV, Barnsley Brewing Co Ltd, Barnsley, South Yorkshire) which didn't have too much taste to me, but my taste buds were obviously a bit off. Still it was comforting and restorative like a good pint of stout. Our food wasn't quite as good as on our first visit: my cheese and pickle sandwich was okay and the salad looked nice but I couldn't eat much. Andrew's chilli burger was quite nice, but Giles wasn't thrilled by his chilli and Olive's gammon was tough. I suspect it was just an off night in the kitchen.

Up in the financial and legal centre of Sheffield, where all the solicitors, bankers, and estate agents go out to lunch, is the Three Cranes. This classic pub is often crowded with a mixture of suits and shoppers, from the snotty to the pleasant, all enjoying the good cheap food and the selection of real ales. There are two main rooms with alcoves centred around the satisfyingly round bar which carves almost a full circle before blending into the front wall. If the circle were complete it would extend out onto the pavement, which would have an interesting effect. But alas, this isn't the wonderfully bulbous Museum of Popular Music in Brown Street -- it's a pub!

On our first visit our pints of Landlord (4.3% ABV, Timothy Taylor & Co. Ltd., Keighley, West Yorkshire) were a bit cloudy and not quite right, but the pub was extremely busy on that Friday lunchtime. On our second visit we had a very good, satisfying pint of Landlord. The menu is small and simple but the food is excellent. The hot sandwiches are very tasty, original, and ample. On one visit we ordered cheese and pickle sandwiches, which turned out to be double decker "club" sandwiches, with red Leicestershire and pickle on one level and white cheddar and pickle on the other -- very nice and nostalgically fun to eat! This taste of the mid-twentieth century was most appropriate for accompanying our conversation about Art Deco and Art Moderne airports and train stations.

It's a good thing the feline Devonshire Cat and the avian Three Cranes are in different parts of the city centre, or we might one day find the Cranes reduced to a pile of feathers. Of course I imagine a crane would be a bit too big for a domestic cat to tangle with -- we might end up with tufts of fur instead. But the Sheffield area does tend to feature pubs with beastly names: a Fat Cat, a Cat and Cabbage, a Dove and Partridge, a Fox and Hound, a Cow and Calf, a Dog and Pheasant, a couple of Nags Heads, a Beehive, some Hogsheads, various Lions (Red, White, and Yellow), an Eagle and Child, a Cock Inn, a Leopard, a Black Bull, a Hare and Hounds, a Waggon and Horses, a Lion and Lamb, a Fox, a Red Deer, a Grouse Inn, a White Hart, and a Squirrel Inn, to name only a few. There's even a Noah's Ark which indicates all these animals must be able to live together in peace. Enough said. Just keep them away from all those Sportsman's pubs...

Devonshire Cat Updates
(Last updated 24 February 2019)
Three Cranes Updates
(Last updated 11 February 2012)