The Upper Don Valley between Sheffield City Centre and Hillsborough, which includes Kelham Island, Shalesmoor and Neepsend, is Sheffield’s famous Valley of beer with enough good beer pubs to keep ale lovers happy for a while! The pubs are easily accessible with the 7/8 bus running frequently down one side of the valley and the Blue and Yellow tram lines running down the other.
A Citywide all day bus & tram pass is available for £4.30 if you want to hop on and off and visit all the venues featured.
Head down left of the cathdral from the tram stop, over Campo Ln, left down through Paradise Sq. and you’ll come to the Three Tuns, a striking triangular Victorian pub (with LEGO version inside) normally with one or more beers from Blue Bee Brewery (based just a short distance up the valley) on its 6 pumps. With Shakespeares just round the corner (see below) this hidden gem is a great stop on the way to or from the Kelham Island district.
Alternatively, alight at Shalesmoor and you’ll find your first pub almost on the platform. At the time of writing, the Wellington was closed for refurbishment but is due to reopen in September as the tap for Neepsend Brewery and may revert to its previous name of the Cask & Cutler.
Across the roundabout is the Ship Inn, part of the Artisan Tap chain and also recently refurbished in a style that combines contemporary with heritage. This pub offers a selection of cask ales and also has an easily accessible world bottled beer fridge.
Walk along the ring road and you will come to Shakepeare’s on Gibralter Street, a classic hostelry originally designed as a coaching inn with facilities to stable the horse and carriage around the back. Nowadays its a no frills multi roomed alehouse with a large selection of reasonably priced real ales, real ciders, keg beers, whiskys and gins. There is a live music room upstairs and a courtyard outdoor drinking area at the rear.
From here if you fancy going off on a bit of a tangent, geographically, you can get the 31 bus up the steep hill to the Blake at Walkley which offers a relaxed environment to enjoy a selection of reasonably priced real ales. It is also known for an extensive whisky selection.
On the other side of the ring road can be found the Kelham Island Tavern, which has won CAMRA’s national Pub of the Year award twice in recent years. This pub ticks a lot of boxes for the discerning real ale drinker – wide range covering all the basic beer styles, served in oversized glasses ensuring a full measure, reasonable prices and a friendly, clean and comfortable environment – plus a lovingly maintained beer garden at the rear.
Just around the corner is the Fat Cat, owned by the neighbouring Kelham Island Brewery and featuring theirs and changing guest beers. This is a classic pub that was the one that kicked off the real ale showcase pub revolution back in the 1980s, it features two drinking rooms, a kiosk bar and a fantastic beer garden as well as a function room upstairs and a function ‘shed’ in the garden. The pub has also been known for many years for its food that has always been a favourite with students living nearby – low cost, simple home cooking with a changing blackboard menu that always has a vegetarian, vegan and gluten free option.
Further along the tram line, alight Langsett Primrose View for the Hillsborough Hotel. This has a modern feel in both the drinking and dining rooms with a third room available in the form of a conservatory, where a door leads to an outdoor drinking and smoking area overlooking the valley. Home cooked food and accommodation is also available.
At Hillsborough, the there is a real ale pub on both tram platforms. Outbound is the Rawson Spring, a Wetherspoons pub converted from the building’s previous use as swimming baths offering all the usual ‘Spoony features including a range of reasonably priced real ale and food plus an outdoor drinking area; On the inbound side of the road is the Hillsborough Tap, previously known as Legends Sports Bar.
From Bamforth Street tram stop you can walk down onto Penistone Road to the New Barrack Tavern (and the bus routes down the valley). This is a multi roomed roadhouse pub favoured by the more discerning Sheffield Wednesday fan as well as those that enjoy the Castle Rock and guest beers on the bar or the live music and comedy nights held at weekends. Food also available.
7/8 bus route
The Gardeners Rest and Neepsend sits in the shadow of the remains of the old long abandoned Stones Brewery and offers a choice of four drinking areas – the snug room, the lounge, the conservatory and the riverside garden (filled with all sorts of arty junk!). Some evenings sees musicians perform in the lounge and there is a quiz every Sunday. The Gardeners is the tap for Sheffield Brewery Company and also has a range of guest beers that are often from new breweries around the country not seen elsewhere in Sheffield yet!
Up the hill on Rutland Road is the Forest, this two room community pub is the brewery tap for Toolmakers Brewery.
On the other side of the traffic lights from the Gardeners Rest, on the one way system, you will find Sheffield Brewery Company. They have a monthly beer club (first Friday of the month) where the bar in the brewery opens to the public, the latest monthly special is launched and live music and a BBQ also takes place.
Across the road is Peddler Market, an old factory/warehouse kind of place. Depot Bakery is a permanant resident on the adjoining courtyard where you can go for coffee, cakes and more, however once a month (first weekend of the month on Friday night 5pm-11pm and Saturday 2pm-11pm) the whole complex opens up with a big street food party featuring food traders, bars (including a real ale bar), ‘makers’ craft stalls and music.
Further towards town, on Mowbray Street, is the Riverside bar, recently taken over by True North Brewery and has a slightly trendier vibe than other pubs in the area. A range of beers are available, a simple food menu and an outdoor drinking area overlooking the river.
Finally, on the other side of the roundabout on Nursery Street is the Harlequin. A fairly large pub with an L shaped room wrapped around the bar, this showcases beers from Exit 33 Brewing plus guest ales; also featured here is probably Sheffield’s best choice of traditional cider and perry. Food is also available at meal times and live music often features at the weekend.