It's a bit like Stoke's town planners had a drunken orgy in the North, and then consulted Milton Keynes' committee on how to upset people on foot. The redeeming feature of course is the people, a friendly down to earth lot (on a non-football day), even the tracksuit zombies will give you a welcoming smile. And I'd take good people over city aesthetics any day.
Kelham Island might sound like the kind of place where flamingos dance in lily clad ponds with golden frogs, but it's not. The pubs however all seem to be wonderful.
|A fine way to bring up the 950 mini landmark!|
950. Shakespeare Ale & Cider House, Kelham Island, Sheffield
And how on earth had I not been aware of this jewel of a pub before? The CAMRA App GBG pushpin got me lost, before I found it hidden on an unlikely looking street. I entered through an old corridor (always the best way) and found myself at the front bar, where I received a friendly welcome from a great blonde barmaid who looked like if Carla Bonner joined a hippy commune, got a pierced mouth and didn't wash for 2 years. She was probably about 20 but still called me "luv". It was time for my "pub tourist twat" routine I perfected in Scotland, this time I saw a businessman getting his pint topped up and demanded the same from blonde bar man, but mine was a LINED GLASS and I hadn't realised. Schoolboy pub error. At least we joked about it. My pint of Shiny Pail was incredible quality, and two locals looked like they'd been placed here for the pleasure of my blog. First, they moaned it was only getting darker now it was June 21st. Then, they settled up a tab that had been running since lunchtime but with one more pint first (they did get a top up!) and then spied a bog standard mobile phone and were amazed by what a posh, smart device it was. Meanwhile, it was nice to hear our blonde staff discussing pub/beer strategy rather than relationship issues - take that Wraysbury! Inevitably, a pub with such a fine range of both cask and keg beers is going to attract that vilest of customer, the BEER SNOB! He slimed his way in, barmaid hated him from the off, he scanned everything for an age before sneering "hmph, well I'll try a Lime Dissection V2.0 Sorachi (I made that up) as it is the most interesting thing you've got on in THIS place!" How NOT to endear yourself to folk. He had a 'taster' before declaring it too interesting even for him. He then slimed off again. He didn't belong. Superb pub.
|Locals discuss the darker nights closing in.|
|My Shiny Pail, the background shows businessman and the blonde staff.|
951. Old Queen's Head, Sheffield Central
The overly wordy GBG description told me this was the oldest residential building in Sheffield still standing, and only just, judging by it's delightfully warped and creaky exterior. I was a bit surprised to see a huge Thwaites sign as I wasn't in Blackburn, so I entered with caution and it was a bit of an anti-climax, with a modern interior, lots of shiny fonts, fruit machines, and a huge screen where a top heavy woman was gurgling because Northern Ireland were somehow only losing 1-0 to Germany. I ordered the one Thwaites I didn't know, Summer Solstice, nice enough but not a patch on the Shiny pint. I perched uncomfortably at the bar for two long minutes before retiring to a side room, so modern identikit it looked like a Lancastrian farmer had tried to follow an Ember Inns remit and gone slightly awry. With the excitable strains of Jonathan Pearce echoing round the building, the football finished and Sheffield's answer to the Hairy Bikers arrived with what seemed to be fishing equipment. They also possibly became the first people in the world to describe Robin Williams as "that chap off of Mork and Mindy". It really was that kind of pub.
|Promised a lot, delivered little.|
See you after Saturday for my latest foray into Greater Manchester's mini towns of ill repute.
|Waiting for the Edinburgh train.|