CoffeeBeer >> Pint Pleasures >> Previous Beer Columns >> Four Walkley Pubs

Previous Pint Pleasures - April 4, 2003

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Old Heavygate, 114 Matlock Road, Walkley, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

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Freedom House, 369 South Road, Walkley, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

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Rose House, 316 South Road, Walkley, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

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Royal Hotel, 114 Walkley Street, Walkley, Sheffield, South Yorkshire


Sorry, I'm not trying to sound like Jack Nicholson. It's just that after months of trying to find something decent or interesting to write about California pubs, I'm ecstatic about being back in the UK, with loads of material ahead of me. I apologise to my Pacific Coast readers -- but you'll simply have to get thee to a pubbery, a proper British pub, as soon as you can book the flight. And don't worry about travelling during wartime: the airports are pleasantly uncrowded, the chances of anything happening to your particular flight are very slim, and think what awards await you at the other end! Besides, you only live once, especially if Armageddon's just around the corner.

On a much more pleasant theme I'll start off with a summary of a few pubs close to home, namely in Sheffield's Walkley neighbourhood. Since I've been away for so long and have yet to renew my acquaintance with the local pubs I'm hoping my reviews won't be terribly outdated.

Changes seem to be afoot at the Old Heavygate, located on the hillside leading up to Bole Hill. This Kimberly pub features a great view from the car park and is at its most appealing during Sunday lunchtimes. At the time of my last visit, which was nearly a year ago, the pub featured general knowledge quizzes on Wednesday evenings as well as Sunday evening pop quizzes. There were two real ales available: Kimberly Best Bitter and Original Gravity (4.1% ABV, Hardy & Hansons PLC, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire), which was quite pleasant with a growing bitterness to the aftertaste, and it was always excellently kept. The landlords were relatively new at the time and had brought along their myna bird who reigned over one of the two rooms.

Down the hill a bit in the middle of South Road is the Freedom House. This was the very first pub Andrew and I visited as official residents of Sheffield. There's a well used pool table on one side of the pub, and the jukebox features a wide range of selections from "Mac the Knife" to "Walk Like An Egyptian" and "Purple Rain". Normally a quiet place for conversation in the afternoons, the Freedom can become quite noisy and crowded on weekend evenings -- and the occasional karaoke afternoon -- making it a more suitable place at those times for the more drunken among conversations. The decor features old advertising posters and photos of Humphrey Bogart, W.C. Fields, Laurel & Hardy, horses and jockeys, and James Dean. On our first couple of visits we chatted with a young Taiwanese MBA student and introduced him to Barnsley Bitter (3.8% ABV, Barnsley Brewing Co Ltd, Barnsley, South Yorkshire). Although not always at its prime at this pub, at least it's always available, and at about 50p cheaper per pint than our other local favourites it's a good budget beer for lean days.

Down the road from the Freedom House is the Rose House. Although we've only been here once because they don't serve real ale we've been told this corner tavern is a good place to play darts and listen to the jukebox. On our visit I suspected I might have been the only woman in the pub with only one chin, but it could have been just the nature of that particular afternoon. As we sat drinking pints of fizzy Stones Bitter (3.7% ABV, Bass Brewers Ltd., Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire) we listened to the rain outside and watched a man hit jackpot after jackpot on the "Battle Axe" fruit machine as "Song of the Valkyries" serenaded his growing wealth.

Further down the hill on Walkely Street, just a short walk from Ruskin Park, is the Royal Hotel. We stopped in here over a year ago for quick pints of Courage Directors (4.8% ABV, John Smith Brewery, Tadcaster, North Yorkshire) while waiting to meet an estate agent down the road. Although we had to drink our pints very quickly they were quite good, and we've always meant to visit the Royal Hotel again because we've been told this is a very friendly pub which at one time played favourite CDs brought in by the regulars. There's a scaled-down snooker table in the back room as well, which is always a nice change from the ubiquitous pool tables.

I apologise for this being such a quick column written from memory, but I'm still getting settled in and organised after my months away, and there is so much to do in the way of details, paperwork, socialising, exploring, and catching up on gossip. In another couple of weeks I promise I will have something fresher to write about. But for the moment, I must get down t' pub...

Old Heavygate Updates
(Last updated 2 January 2006)
Freedom House Updates
(Last updated 8th September 2003)
Rose House Updates
(Last updated 29 June 2014)