On the 29th July 1981 Dave Wickett and his then business partner bought a pub called the “Alma” from Stones and re-opened it as The Fat Cat on the 21st August the same year. The intention from the outset was to provide an alternative to the pubs owned by the big breweries who dominated the city at that time.
It introduced such rarities as Fullers, Boddingtons, Marstons, Theakstons and Timothy Taylor to the drinking public of Sheffield and has never looked back, continuing to provide a changing range of well-kept cask ales from the ever increasing range of British breweries, alongside its regular Kelham Island Brewery beers. Much is owed to Dave’s foresight in making Sheffield the real ale mecca it is today.
The introduction of a no-smoking room and a vegetarian menu was rare in the early days and this traditional theme has been enhanced by having no electric gaming machines, background music nor televisions, instead the emphasis is on conversation and cask conditioned ale.
Within a year of it opening it became Sheffield & District CAMRA’s Pub of the Year in 1982 and its popularity and charm continues to be recognised 36 years later. In the intervening years it has been named Pub of the Month and Pub of the Year on numerous occasions and has also picked up awards from the Morning Advertiser, the Good Pub Guide, The Times weekend supplement and The Daily Telegraph and has featured regularly in CAMRA’s National Good Beer Guide. The building was also given listed status in 2000.
Much of its continuing and successful longevity is down to three members of staff who have been in attendance since the very early days of Dave’s tenure, namely Diane, Alison and the late Stephen Fearn. Following Dave’s death, his son Ed took over and the change was seamless, just as it was when Duncan Shaw took over as licensee in 2008. Much thanks is due to all of these and to all the staff who have worked there over the years, for maintaining the standards and principals of this pioneering pub since 1981.
Please join us on Tuesday 12 June as we present the Fat Cat with their latest award. We will be arriving around 8pm for a presentation about an hour later.