CoffeeBeer >> Pint Pleasures >> Previous Beer Columns >> 3 More Sheffield City Centre Pubs

Previous Pint Pleasures - April 14, 2012

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The Hop, Unit 14, West One Plaza, Fitzwilliam Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

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The Red Lion, 109 Charles Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

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Crucible Corner, Tudor Square, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

As I work and play table tennis in the centre of Sheffield, I've had occasion to discover three more city centre pubs, each distinctly different from each other. The most exciting of the three is the Hop, a spanking new live music and real ale pub located across from Devonshire Green in West One. From the outside this modern glass-covered pub looks like something you'd find in America, a clean roomy brewpub hiding the workings of a microbrewery. One can't really get any kind of impression by peering through the windows, and upon entering one is met with a pleasant surprise. A long line of handpumps trails along the bar, and the walls are covered with music-and-musician-based murals and collages.

On our first visit I had a cheeky taste of Dirty Rat (5.0% ABV, Rat Brewery, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire). If I had wanted to risk the high ABV I would have loved a pint of this whiskery brew. But while I chatted with the New Mexico barmaid I decided to join Andrew with safer pints of Nectar Pale (4.0% ABV, Blue Bee Brewery, Sheffield, South Yorkshire). Our friend Jonesie had a pint of Rasputin (7.4% ABV, RAW Brewing Company, Stavely, Derbyshire) which tasted chocolaty like a warming cup of cocoa. Jones thought it tasted more like a mild, but even with the stronger milds these days I doubt a 7.4% ABV brew could ever be classed as "mild".

We wandered around the various rooms, finally venturing up the stairs where we found an absolutely brilliant balcony where one can sit and peer down onto the music stage or just enjoy the view of Devonshire Green. It reminded Jonesie of a pub in Manchester Piccadilly Station, and it reminded me of an expanded version of Cafe Vesuvio in San Francisco, and also of the balcony in the Six Arms Pub in Seattle's Capitol Hill. There is a huge guitar painted on the wall behind the stage and a couple of gargoyles peering down from the walls, and a small snug to the side of the balcony is decorated with video wallpaper -- that is, wallpaper decorated with images of videotapes.

Downstairs the Pie Hole, located at one end of the bar, serves award winning pies, with a pie, mash, beer-infused peas, and a pint of Ossett Ale all for £5.00. I wish I could even dream of eating that much...

On my second visit I had a taste of Trevor's pint of Any Port In A Storm (4.8% ABV, Fernandes Brewery, Wakefield, West Yorkshire), which was a good rich and robust stout that reminded me of the best American microbrew porters. It lent mouthfuls of muchness, like a ruby red den full of plush cushions and large black cats in red velvet collars lolling about on the furniture, all purring loudly. My pint was Silver King (4.3% ABV, Ossett Brewery, Ossett, West Yorkshire), which was a good satisfying hoppy pale -- nothing more, nothing less. It does what it says on the tin.

I'm looking forward to coming back to the Hop to hear some live music, although I'm sure one would have to get there very early for a spot in the balcony.

Across town, hidden behind Sheffield Hallam University's uniquely bulbous Student Union, is the classic Red Lion. Although I knew about this pub for years I only just recently visited it. On a short Friday night pub crawl with workmates to celebrate my birthday, we stopped in here where I had a pint of Bees Knees (4.0% ABV, Blue Bee Brewery, Sheffield, South Yorkshire), a good classic black-coloured hoppy brew. One could almost call it a black IPA, if one believes that such an oxymoronically named brew exists. Even Catherine, who prefers cider, liked it. Dave had a pint of the rare San Miguel and John had a pint of Moonshine (4.3% ABV, Abbeydale Brewery, Sheffield, South Yorkshire). On this Friday night the pub, a square-ish split-level affair with a nice looking front garden, was bubbling with a classic pub atmosphere and throbbing with Friday night academic types, obviously from the university.

The next day, when I stopped in at lunchtime to pick up a bag a workmate had left behind, I found a completely different atmosphere. A football match was on, and the place was throbbing with hard-core football fans, presumably who lived nearby as opposed to worked nearby. I suppose a successful city centre pub would have two lives: that of the weekday and that of the weekend.

A couple of recent works drink sessions have been at the relatively new Crucible Corner. Located within spitting range of the Crucible and Lyceum Theatres, this modern bar obviously caters to theatregoers who want a meal and/or drink before or after the show. For such a blandly decorated place with such an overpriced bar, I was quite surprised that my pint of Seven Hills (4.2% ABV, Sheffield Brewery, Sheffield, South Yorkshire) was crisp and well kept. Dave and I sat alone at a table having a drink while at the other table a dozen workmates were having meals. I felt as if we were part of the Last Supper, only with me and Dave nearby instead of Jesus. And as opposed to a Biblical dining setting we felt as if we were sitting in a modern desert with a very stark atmosphere. Aside from a handful of black and white theatrical posters, and the clocks by the front door showing when the next showtimes were, there is absolutely no decor in the place. Just...starkness. White walls. Modern whiteness.

So it's not really the kind of place you want to hang out in, unless you're having a quick drink or a meal before or after a performance. At least you know you can get a drinkable pint of cask ale.

The Hop Updates
(Last updated 27 July 2013)

The Red Lion Updates
(Last updated 7 December 2015)

Crucible Corner Updates
(Last updated 8 February 2014)