Going back 15 years or so, a big night out on the town in Sheffield generally involved going to a nightclub as pretty much every pub and bar closed at 11pm. It would cost £5-10 to get in the club (although there were cheaper offers if you went in before 11pm to beat the queues) and although there were attractions in the form of music and opportunities to pull, the choice of drinks was generally terrible and expensive. In many city centre bars and clubs, I used to opt for the safe option of a bottle of Beck’s. The nightclubs generally used to shut at around 2am, from when there were huge queues in kebab shops and a choice of going on a hunt for an elusive taxi or catching the 2:30am night bus.
Fast forward to today, following the licencing reform of 2003 – something CAMRA campaigned for – pubs and bars can apply for a licence for any opening hours as long as the council feel it is appropriate for the location. There are now many places to get real ale (and other craft beers) well into the night – on a weekend, at least. The fast food and taxi situation is much improved too, although sadly night buses are no more.
Anyway, here is the first part of my guide to a post-midnight pint in Sheffield city centre – whether that be on a big night out or unwinding after a late shift at work!
Bankers Draft, Market Place: Large classic Wetherspoon’s pub on two floors offering all you expect from the ‘Spoons chain, including national and local ales at reasonable prices. Open until 1am on Friday and Saturday nights.
Beehive, West Street: On a Saturday night the opening hours are extended until 1am, it has music and TV screens but also plenty of seating if you want a more relaxed evening. There are a number of real ales available, a mixture of national brands and the more popular local beers, including Bradfield Farmer’s Blonde.
Bessemer, Leopold Street: On a Friday and Saturday night this bar parties through until 2am with 80s music. A range of the more popular real ales, both local and national, are available here.
Botanist, Leopold Square: Despite the lack of handpumps, ale is available here – look out for the little blackboards hanging above the bar. A quiet, civilised bar with tables outside in the square and a restaurant upstairs. The bar is open until 1am on Wednesdays and until 2am Thursday to Saturday (midnight the rest of the week).
Bungalows and Bears, Division Street: By day this bar located in an old fire station is a relaxed affair serving up beer and burgers. At night it is still civilised thanks to keen door staff, but livelier with DJs providing music. A couple of real ales are on offer; Abbeydale Moonshine is a regular. Open until 2am on Friday and Saturday nights.
Cavendish, West Street: Aimed primarily at students, this long thin venue has pool tables at one end and seating throughout the rest plus music and TV screens. A couple of real ales are available – normally a national brand and one of the more popular local ones – and there are some craft beers of reasonable interest on keg. Open until 1am on Friday and Saturday nights.
Church House, St James Street: By day this pub, located in a classic gothic building, feels smart and relaxed with a simple food offering. At the weekends it often sees live rock music and possibly a more alternative crowd. Real ales are generally national brands such as Theakston’s and Robinson’s but local guest ales also feature at busier times. Open until 2am Friday and Saturday nights.
The Devonshire, Devonshire Street: Previously known as the Old House, this recently refurbished little bar in an old Georgian townhouse run by True North Brewery has a range of beers. While the daytime vibe is a relaxed one with food service, the evening is livelier with a DJ providing the music until 3am on Friday and Saturday nights.
Devonshire Cat, Wellington Street: Run by Abbeydale Brewery and refurbished in 2016, this is somewhere to sit back and chill out with a decent beer. An extensive choice of real ales on handpump and craft beers on keg means there is always something interesting to try. Open until 2am every day.
Look out for more late night beers next month!