CoffeeBeer >> Pint Pleasures >> Three Miscellaneous Sheffield Pubs
The Palm Tree, 35 Palm Street, Walkley, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
The Beer Engine, 17 Cemetery Road, Highfield, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Champs 2, Loxley New Road, Hillsborough, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
As they used to say, you either have time or you have money but you rarely have both at once. At this point in my life I have neither, so getting out to try new pubs has sadly not been a priority for the weekends. So I'm going to write about three random Sheffield pubs that I visited last year. Hopefully the information is still accurate.
The Palm Tree is a traditional pub perched on a steep hill just off the north end of Walkley's South Road. A lot of Walkley residents don't even know about the Palm Tree, hidden away on its little side street that most South Road walkers never reach. But the Palm does have its stalwarts, and for good reason: it's a decent little pub with good quality beer. The first time we visited years ago we were disappointed simply because our only cask ale choice was Tetley's. But these days they also serve an excellent pint of Farmers Blonde (4.0% ABV, Bradfield Brewery, High Bradfield, South Yorkshire).
The pub features a small front room and a slightly bigger back room with an expansive dog-and-child-friendly beer garden. The carpet and furniture are very traditional, as are most of the locals, and everybody is friendly. Because it's a bit off our beaten track the only times we've really stopped in is when there's been live music. For instance, several years ago we saw Harry Dean perform his Rat Pack show; and just last week we saw the fairwell-before-moving-to-Spain solo performance of amazing guitar virtuoso Steve Delaney. The pub was packed that night, and I was struck by how extremely tall I felt. Don't worry, nobody had given me any suspicious cakes or anything. But I would say 99% of the crowd, including the younger ones, were quite a bit shorter than me. I mean, I might be tall, but I'm not exactly towering in stature.
Perhaps it was the slope of the hill.
Last summer we decided to check out a new cask ale venue, the Beer Engine. Formerly the site of Delaney's Music Bar, this new pub is located just off London Road and behind Waitrose. The pub seems to have become bigger and brighter than before, with lighter coloured walls, big windows, a plain wood floor, and an exceedingly clean and roomy feel. Even the beer garden is very clean, with lots of tables and thankfully some graffiti and an art wall. It's just all so...how do I describe it? Very clean.
We stood at the clean bar admiring the clean hand pumps and decided on pints of the slightly greasy-sounding Chopper (3.8% ABV, Great Heck Brewery, Goole, South Yorkshire). This is a nice little brew with a good bitter hops. As we chatted with the owner we had a taste of the key-keg Blackberry Sour (4.2% ABV) which was nice and zingily refreshing for a hot day -- but as it was a cool and rainy day we were happy with our Choppers.
The Beer Engine's food menu consists of tapas plates, and they also do a Sunday roast including vegetarian and vegan options. They also have a large selection of European lagers.
We were surprised that the new owner does not want to do any live music here except for the occasional acoustic act. Apparently he thinks that his clientele, who will be mostly coming from off London Road, will want to come in to have a quiet pint in a conversation pub rather than being entertained by live performers. It's sad considering the pub has no residential neighbours to disturb. Aside from the decent quality of the beer, the appeal of the tapas menu, and the cleanliness, we did find ourselves missing the funkiness of Delaney's. Hopefully since our visit the atmosphere has let its hair down a bit.
A few months later we took a short drive down the hill to Malin Bridge to check out Champs Sports Bar & Grill, aka Champs 2, as the original Champs is in Ecclesall Road. I suggested this visit to Andrew, as my late friend Trevor and I used to like to stop in the original Champs for a quick half as part of our many urban walks. This Champs is perched on an odd corner in the midst of a publess wasteland, the only exception being the Malin Bridge Inn down the road (which has an interesting historical part in the Sheffield Flood of 1864 but doesn't do cask ale). The barmaid was very nice and friendly, even though she claimed to be a strictly lager drinker, and the whole place felt very friendly and quirkily sporty. There wasn't as much in the way of sports memorabilia as there is at the original Champs, but at least a life-sized Stig from "Top Gear" was perched over a stairway leading downstairs. (Fortunately there was no sign of Jeremy Clarkson in sight.)
We had a choice of four cask ales, predominantly from Bradfield Brewery. After a taste of Yorkshire Farmer we both decided to go for Farmers Blonde (4.0% ABV, Bradfield Brewery, High Bradfield, South Yorkshire). Our pints were quite cold, and Andrew swore he could detect a taste of nitrogen, which might have been used to keep the beer fresh. Still it was a drinkable enough pint.
The food menu, which besides actual dishes features activities like Build-a-Burger and the Kamikaze Wing Challenge, looks quite good, and we could see directly into the kitchen which is always a good sign as any cooking sins would be viewable by the public.
Apparently Champs was the first American sports bar of its kind in the UK. It's definitely a sports bar, but it has the feel of a genuinely friendly sports bar, meaning that unsporty folk like myself can feel perfectly welcome. As we sat at a giant table by the door I felt as if I were surrounded by clusters of pentagons. Or was it just my geometric mood? I was wishing late Trevor had been there with us, because he would have liked the place. The car park is very big, and I counted 23 tables outside, with possibly more out of my view. I can definitely see this as a summer oasis for this part of town -- not to mention a perfect venue for a boot sale.*
*(For American readers, that's like a yard sale, referring to the trunk of a car -- although, if your timing is just right, you might be able to find some nice boots.)