The last week in January saw a national Independent Venue week, celebrating independently operated live music venues. It also saw a local MP call on the government to support such venues and a local venue operator bemoaning that bands often bypass Sheffield as they struggle to sell tickets here, calling on the public to support live music by buying tickets for gigs and going out to venues to see bands.
Other issues highlighted in the last few years include residential developments close to live music venues where the new neighbours attracted by City Centre living complain about the noise!
Sheffield has a great history of both music and pubs with the two invariably linked with many successful bands starting out playing rooms in pubs, bars and clubs!
Whilst we’ve missed the boat a bit for Independent Venue week, there are pubs with live music all year round that are worth supporting with your custom, so time for a quick mention of just some of the places in our area you can enjoy real ale with live music – and many of them offer free entry so you can be entertained for just the price of your pint!
Church House, City Centre: Located next to the Cathedral tram stop (and also the actual Cathedral of course!), this pub hosts live music at the weekend, normally of the rock genre. Beer range is normally from the Heineken Star Bars list plus a local guest.
Dorothy Pax, Victoria Quays: A cosy bar in a railway arch alongside the canal basin offering a range of real ales and regular live music events, mostly blues and generally free entry. In the summer look out for special festival events with a music stage outside on the waterfront.
Frog & Parrot, Division Street, Sheffield City Centre: This slightly quirky but classic Greene King pub is a Sheffield institution and hosts live music at the front of the pub from time to time.
Gardeners Rest, Neepsend: A community ethos runs through this pub in both the ownership and the way it operates. It has three rooms (snug, lounge and conservatory) and a riverside beer garden. Music performances, normally folky, are regular in the lounge.
Greystones: This pub run by Thornbridge Brewery has a back room for ticketed events including live music and comedy.
Harlequin, Kelham Island: The lower part of this pub is regularly converted into a stage area, with Saturday nights often seeing live music, usually classic rock covers.
Hillsborough Hotel, Langsett Road: Look out for monthly folk music sessions.
New Barrack Tavern, near Hillsborough: This multi-roomed roadhouse pub has a stage area in the main bar room as well as in the beer garden and hosts regular live music and comedy events. The bar features a choice of real ales and an extensive cider selection. Check their Facebook page for entertainment guide.
Picture House Social, Abbeydale Road: As well as DJs in the bar, there is a seperate gig room at the back of the venue which hosts regular ticketed events.
Shakespeares, Gibralter Street: The upstairs “Bards Bar” hosts a busy gig programme.
Toolmakers Brewery tap room, Neepsend: As well as enjoying ale brewed on site, this venue located behind the Forest pub opens for gigs once or twice a month including jam nights as well as full band gigs. Events are a mixture of free entry and ticketed, check out the brewery Facebook page for details.
Washington, City Centre: The raised part of the dance floor is utilised as a stage for regular free entry live music nights, often young up and coming indie bands. Gigs are normally an 8pm start, with a DJ on after. 6 real ales available on the bar, which stays open until 2am midweek and 3am Thursday/Friday/Saturday night. Check their Facebook page or website for whats on. (photo by Martin Clark).
White Lion, Heeley: The raised area at the back of the pub hosts live music of some description most nights, the exception being Wednesday when it is quiz night. A range of real ales are available. Check their website for listings.
An honourable mention as a mainstay of Sheffield’s music scene goes to West Street Live, unfortunately there is no real ale or craft beer on tap there but there is usually something worth drinking in bottles or cans. Green Room also hosts regular live music events, they have real ale on a part time basis, usually Doom Bar.