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Over the course of my day out in Sheffield, I visited six pubs. These were the Fat Cat, the Kelham Island Tavern, and the Millowners Arms – all within the Kelham Island area. Next on the list was the Wellington Hotel, just on the edge of the latter, the Bath Hotel, close to the city centre, and finally the Sheffield Tap, which forms part of the city’s main rail station.
The Fat Cat, at Kelham Island, was the obvious starting point, especially in view of the closure of local brewery (Kelham Island), so it was there that, in, I arranged to meet Martin, and possibly Will, (Sheffield Hatter). Martin had kindly supplied me with a map (Bing), along with a screen shot of the pub’s menu. The prices looked an absolute bargain, particularly when compared to Kentish prices, so the Fat Cat it was.
I shall recount, in a later post, my confusion regarding the distances shown on the map, but suffice to say, once I had got my bearings after leaving Sheffield station and was confident, I was heading in the right direction, the walk down to Kelham Island was a breeze. It was all downhill for a start, and with the clouds dissipating, and the sun breaking through, it was the perfect weather for a stroll to this formerly, heavily industrialised area of Sheffield.
Arriving almost on the dot of 1.30pm, our agreed eta, I just had time to order myself a pint of Kelham Island Best, before noticing that Martinhad arrived in the other bar. After exchanging a few pleasantries, Martin suggested we order lunch – possibly mindful that it was missed of the itinerary on our visit to Bath, a couple of months’ previously. Lunch it was then, along with another pint, this time Kelham Island’s legendary, and award winning, Pale Rider. The barman had already informed me that there was roughly just a week’s stock of Kelham Island beers remaining, so it was a good idea to sample them, before they disappear completely. So, a sad, and slightly poignant experience, having to say goodbye to this excellent, pale, and well-hopped beer – one that was something of a trailblazer, in its day.
The steak pie was excellent, with potato wedges, mushy peas, and gravy, all for just £5.50.You could expect to pay double and in some places triple, for that in the south east! Will arrived soon after, and filled us in as to what he had been up to.
The Fat Cat shares a name with an equally famous pub in Norwich, and also serves a wide and varied range of beers, all from mainly local independent breweries, but apart from that there is no connection between the two. It is a multi-roomed, pub, with bars leading off form a central serving area and corridor. I visited a couple of similar pubs in Stockport recently, all reminding me of my days as a student in Salford, Greater Manchester.
Martin suggested I visit the museum next door, whilst him and Will called in at the adjoining Millowners Arms. The museum pays homage toSheffield’s industrial past and its role as one of the most famous steel-making cities in the world. It allows visitors to grasp the development and scale of its furnace and steel forging and industries and is the sort of place you could spend several hours in, if it wasn’t for the fact, you would be wasting valuable drinking time! So, after a quick tour, I joined Martin and Will who were sitting at a table, outside the Millowners, overlooking the river Don, as it runs through Kelham Island.

The pub was created from an old storeroom, and opened as a full-time pub in November 2019. It is operated by the same people as the museum cafe. Up to six cask ales are available, but I just had a swift half of Abbeydale Moonshine, as Martin and Will were keen to move on. I found out later, that the Millowners houses a display showcasing Sheffield’s brewing heritage – now that would have been far more interesting than steel making, even though as a scientist, I’m supposed be interested in such things!
Moving swiftly on, we made our way through more of the post-industrial landscape, arriving at the area’s other famous pub, the Kelham Island Tavern.This gem of a pub was rescued from dereliction in 2002 and was awarded CAMRA National Pub of the Year for two years running, (2008 and 2009). Up to twelve hand pumps dispense an impressive range of beers, which normally include dark beers, such as a mild, a porter and a stout.
There are two rooms inside, plus a small, but attractive, L-shaped garden at the side and rear. According to my notes on Untappd, I enjoyed a rather tasty pint of Port Out Porter, from Half Moon Brewery. The Tavern certainly lived up to its reputation, and it almost seemed a shame to go, but there were a few more pubs to visit, so it was onward and upwards.
It was certainly upwards in Martin’s case, as he had to nip home for a change of clothing. He was off to a gig in Leeds that evening. The upwards comment refers to his house being situated at the top of a steep hill! Willand I headed to the Wellington, another classic local pub, boasting three cosy, rooms, along with a good range of beers. There is a connection with Neepsend Brew Co, whose beers form the core range, although they are brewed on a separate site.
I opted for the Neepsend Hati, a New England Pale Ale, that was hazy, and thereby true to style. We joined the drinkers in the left-hand room, several of whom, Will knew. (I told you he’s a real pub man!) There was a bit of banter, plus plenty of swapping of news concerning local beers and pubs, which meant the Wellington was the place where it would be only too easy to end up spending the rest of the afternoon. The next pub was back in the city centre, at the top of the hill, but fortunately there was the option of a tram to take us there.
Even more fortunate was the conductor accepting my bus-pass, as Will thought that only local passes were valid. So, as I mentioned in the previous post, this was my first ride on a tram for seven years, and my first ever within the UK!
The pub we were making for was the Bath Hotel, a pub with an interior of historic national importance, which retains, most of its original 1931 layout and fittings. This makes it an unusually complete example of a Sheffield corner public house. Until just a few weeks before my visit, the Bath had been managed by Thornbridge Brewery, but has now become a free house, employing the same staff, and keeping much else the same too.
The bar is situated between a tiled lounge, a small corridor drinking area and a cosy well-upholstered snug. The latter seemed popular with local students, but Will and I were content to stand in the corridor, in sight and in reach of the bar. It wasn’t long before Martin re-joined us, looking ready for a night out in Leeds. Beer-wise I opted for a pint of Barnsley Bitter from Acorn Brewery. This chestnut-coloured beer is well-hopped and is based on the famous Barnsley Bitter which was originally brewed in the town, until the early 1970’s.
We left the Bath Hotel and headed for the station. Martindeparted on foot, leaving Will and I to make use of our bus passes. We met up at the Sheffield Tap, situated on platform 1b of Sheffield station. The tap was built in 1904 and opened as the first-class refreshment room for the old Midland Station. After many years of neglect the main bar area was carefully restored in order to highlight many of its original features. As with the Bath Hotel, the Tap is included on CAMRA's National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors.
Being early evening, the pub was packed, both inside and out, but we manage to find room to stand whilst enjoying a few of its impressive range of beers. I chose a beer from the other side of the Pennines,in the form of Manchester Bitter from Marble Brewery. Deep golden in colour, with a robust bitterness to match, it was the perfect beer to finish on. Martin departed to catch his train to Leeds. I had a little more time and Will tried persuading me to have another. I’d had my fill by then, so after declining his offer and thanking him for his company, I too wandered off and made my way to the London-bound train, waiting on one of the opposite platforms.
If you’ve read this far, and looked at the photos, you will know that I had a good day, and was impressed by Sheffield, its pubs, and its beers. So, with special thanks to Martin and Will for showing me around steel-city, and looking after me, I shall sign off now.

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