Nottingham to Sheffield, Real ale in the steel city.


One thing I had to keep telling myself whilst writing this report was ‘the grass is always greener on the other side‘ yet no matter how much I kept reminding myself of this fact I can’t help but think that’s utter rubbish, because when it comes to real ale Sheffield mercilessly pans Nottingham into the floor, and then some.

Not only did the steel city offer up a wider selection, but it was significantly cheaper than most of the pubs in Nottingham, the cheapest round coming to £6.75 for 3 pints (no, not in a Wetherspoons) this brings a lot of things into perspective, not only does it appear Nottingham is overly expensive for no real reason, but a lot of Nottingham pubs could really do with bucking up their ideas. It’s worth keeping in mind this trip was taken on a Tuesday, not a weekend, if you drank this kind of time mid-week in Nottingham you’d be lucky to get a few beers on, with many turned round preparing for Friday.

We started the day off in the Bankers draft, which is an easy walk from the train station and right outside the tram network, this is a large Wetherspoons/Lloyds #1 with a hotel lobby feel to it, it’s large, well decorated, modern and clean, something that makes you realise just how bad the likes of other Wetherspoons such as Nottinghams Roebuck Inn, really are.
Hawkshead – Cumbrian 5 hop
was the drink I started the day off with, and it was superb, it turns out that was just a taste of things to come, we went outside, then got on the blue route tram to Shalesmoor.

Additional; I went to Sheffield again recently, 4 can go using a group saver ticket for £23, that’s £5.75 each including return!

The Wellington

The Wellington is just literally up the road from the tram stop at Shalesmoor, making it the perfect place to continue proceedings, the tram ride was under 5 minutes and was £1.50.

Wellington, Rear

Beer barrels at the rear suggest this is more than an elaborate Skoda advertisement.

The Wellington, Sheffield


Wellington, Little Cart

As you have probably gathered from the above picture the Wellington is home to The Little Ale Cart and as expected many of their beers are on the bar, many even now are around £2.20 a pint, which belies just how good they are, more on that in a moment though.


Bar, The Wellington, Sheffield

A proper bar, reminds me of the Dewdrop in Ilkeston

Wellington, Sheffield, Interior

The Wellington is a no nonsense pub serving around 10 ales at once, it’s basic and the focus is on the beer as you can see above, of note was a beer the Little Ale Cart brew called Father Ambrose, which was fantastic. Though I can have no complaints about the other 4 beers I tried.

After finishing up in the Wellington we looked at proceeding to the next pub, thankfully this is viewable from the Wellingtons doors, easy enough!


Wellington, to the Ship Inn

The Ship Inn, as viewed from the tram tracks outside the Wellington

The Ship Inn

The ship is one of the oldest pubs in Sheffield I’m told, but I wanted a pint then, not 100 years ago, so less of the history lesson.

The Ship Inn, Sheffield

Ship Inn, Sheffield Inside

The Ship had the smallest range of the day, serving around 4 ales, however the two tried where yet again up there with the best,  Thornbridge – Chiron being another quality beer from the Thornbridge stable, but it was well beaten by Bradfield – Farmers Blonde, I wanted to sample more from the Bradfield brewery, but there’s only so much a man can drink so we set off to the next pub, these are a little tricky to find but the barman of the ship was nice enough to point us in the right direction, top bloke.


Fatcat, Kelham Island

The Fat Cat & Kelham Island Tavern are either side of this road, the Fat Cat on the left, Kelham Island Tavern on the right.

Kelham Island Tavern


Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield

Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield, Bar

Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield, Bar

The Kelham Island Tavern offered another large selection of just over 10, the pick of the bunch here being Bank Top Brewery – Sir Henry Morgan (pictured with the skull and crossbone) One mistake I did make was not trying the Branta as pictured above, we assumed it would be on at the Sheffield Tap, wrong! Another thing to note about this pub is they have signs up saying that you can be refused further service for swearing, so watch your mouth! Oddly enough we didn’t spot a single Kelham Island brewed beer on.

Additional; after a further visit to Shefflied this week, I can confirm that the majority of beers are priced at £2.10 a pint in the Kelham Island Tavern.


The Fat Cat

The Fat Cat, Sheffield

The Fat Cat, Sheffield

Go nuts

The Fat Cat, Sheffield

The other half of the main bar (with nuts)

The Fat Cat, Sheffield

The side bar with questionable clock

The Fat Cat, Sheffield

This used to serve Kimberley ales, not now though obviously

The Fat Cat, Sheffield

Proper home made pork pies

The Fat Cat was packed full of character, I thought the Wellington reminded me of the Dewdrop in Ilkeston but this did even moreso. The Fat Cat with its wonky floors and strange bar layout was probably the most unique of the day, serving up even more quality beer,  Prior’s Well – Gardener’s Tap being the pick, another pub I could have happily spent the rest of the day drinking in.
I’m assured the pork pies where top notch, and Monday nights sound interesting, where between 8-11pm a select Kelham Island beer is £1.30 a pint!


The Riverside

In the summer this place will be unmissable, alas as you can see from the pictures our visit was very dark, cold, and wet. There are around 8 beers on and the clientel is an excellent mix of young and old (even on a Friday night when visited) the vibe was pleasant and friendly, the outside seating area was excellent and I can’t wait to go back when it’s warm, then I will take some better pictures of course.

As you’re walking from the Fat Cat, follow it round on the same side of the road as the little tesco, easy.

1 Mowbray St, Neepsend, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S3 8EN

The Harlequin

Harlequin, Sheffield

The Harlequin is the creamy coloured building on the left.

Harlequin, Sheffield

Harlequin, Sheffield

My beer of the year so far Nevada, next to the very pleasant Red Ghost IPA

Harlequin, Sheffield

Harlequin, Sheffield

Proper cobs

Harlequin, Sheffield

I tried to get the whole bar in shot, I failed.


Harlequin, Sheffield

The decor is spacious and comfortable.

The Harlequin again offered up a selection worthy of spending the rest of the day trying, it had the greatest selection with around 15 pumps and many craft beers in bottles (a full range of the tasty yet expensive Flying Dog brewery) this was also the largest pub with multiple seating areas.
It’s fair to say the standard was already pretty high, but Sheffield hit me for six again with local boys The Brew Company – Nevada being easily my best drink of 2011 so far, ‘hopped with citra’ it said, you can hop it with whatever you like when it tastes as good as that!

Sheffield Tap

We concluded the day by re-tracing our steps back to the station where they just happened to have yet another brilliant pub right on the platform.

Sheffield Tap

Sheffield Tap

If you like Thornbridge, you might want to get on a train to Sheffield

Sheffield Tap

You can see onto platform 1 whilst drinking, so no excuse for missing the train.

Sheffield Tap

Interesting decor with a shimmering look on the tiles, it changes colour as the light hits it.

Sheffield Tap

View from the platform

The Sheffield tap concluded the day nicely, not only did they have a great range of Thornbridge, they had 5 titanic beers on the other side of the bar, I couldn’t get a shot of those, but in all again they had around 10 beers on.
A beer of note for me in here was Matuska – Raptor IPA, which weighed in at 6.2% and was brewed in the Czech Republic, it was lethally drinkable, thankfully the train was due, a day on that would test the best of drinkers…


Oooh, that was a long un! Well that concludes the longest post on Nottsbrew by a country mile, I think I will take a break now as this has taken me an age to piece together! Sheffield really is worth the effort to try, the train fare is cheap and it’s under an hour to get there. I hope from the pictures and my small write ups on each place it gives you an idea of what it’s all about, quite honestly you could spend a full day drinking in any of the pubs above, I’m not sure I could say that about too many in Nottingham…

10 thoughts on “Nottingham to Sheffield, Real ale in the steel city.

  1. Excellent write up. Always enjoy a trip to Sheffield, and have done this crawl a couple of times. As a suggestion next time you visit try the left hand clock wise crawl. Rutland Arms – Devonshire Cat – Old House – Red Deer – Museum – Station Tap. Or of course you could just stay on the station!

  2. Radfordlad, quality looking route, thanks! I will try that next time I go there!

    I went up last Tuesday and the station only had 2 Thornbridges on which was a bit weird.

  3. Pingback: The Wellington (Sheffield) Review | Dave’s Nottingham Curry and Beer Guide

  4. Pingback: The Ship Inn (Sheffield) Review | Dave’s Nottingham Curry and Beer Guide

  5. Pingback: The Kelham Island Tavern Review | Dave’s Nottingham Curry and Beer Guide

  6. Pingback: The Harlequin (Sheffield) Review | Dave’s Nottingham Curry and Beer Guide

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