The real ale trail around Kelham Island, Shalesmoor, Neepsend and Hillsborough – The Upper Don Valley – is pretty much the modern history of Sheffield’s real ale scene. Much of the area is a former industrial district but is now in advanced stages of gentrification with lots of pubs, bars, cafes, breweries and residential developments as well as a little remaining industry.
There are two key public transport corridors through the valley – the Blue and Yellow tram route down one edge and the number 7 and 8 bus down the other.
Church Temple of Fun – Rutland Road
Former industrial building expensively renovated with part of it converted into a bar (the other part is a clothes warehouse for the Drop Dead Clothing designer brand). The bar features craft beer, cocktails, vegan fast food, photo booth, classic coin-op arcade games, PS4 pods, pool table, music, riverside balcony, tattoo parlour and clothes store. Sounds hipster as hell, actually a really cool, relaxed place to chill with a beer.
Get there – Infirmary Road tram stop or buses 7,8,86
Crow – Scotland Street
One of the newest pubs on the real ale and craft beer scene with the addition of en suite hotel rooms upstairs, brought to you by the same people as the Rutland Arms. Bar snacks primarily include pork pies, scotch eggs and sausage rolls.
Get there – bus 135
Cutlery Works – Neepsend Lane
Modern dining hall in an old factory over two floors featuring numerous independent street food kitchens and communal seating, you can order food at the counter or on their app. There are also two bars that serve real ale, the venue’s own bar downstairs that features mainly well known session beers and the Boozehound craft beer bar upstairs. Like with the food traders, drinks can be ordered at the bar in the traditional manner or on the app for delivery to table. Note the venue does not accept cash, just card payment.
Get there – Infirmary Road tram stop or bus 7,8.
Fat Cat– Alma Street
The grandaddy of Sheffield’s real ale pub scene – the first real ale free house to feature beers from outside the area and the first to offer a no smoking room! An old, traditional multi-room pub that hasn’t changed in many years, it is owned by Kelham Island Brewery (located next door) featuring their beers plus changing guests, has a great beer garden and a simple, affordable food menu that always includes a veggie/vegan and gluten free option.
Get there – Shalesmoor tram stop, buses to Gibralter Street
Forest / Toolmakers Brewery tap room – Rutland Road/Botsford Street
The Forest is just that little bit up the hill away from the popular Kelham Island circuit allowing it to remain a simple locals pub with reasonable beer prices, yet is still welcoming and comfortable. The beer on the bar is from the Toolmakers Brewery located around the corner owned by the same couple as the pub, the brewery has a tap room that opens up on a part time basis for special events including live music and open mic sessions – check their social media for details.
Get there – bus 7/8 to Neepsend Lane.
Gardeners’ Rest – Neepsend Lane
One of Sheffield’s classic real ale pubs featuring around 6 ales including some from the nearby Sheffield Brewery Company and regularly changing guests. The pub has 3 rooms – the main lounge, snug (featuring bar billiards table) and conservatory, leading out to the quite wonderfully eccentric riverside beer yard. The pub is now community owned and gets involved with a lot of community initiatives.
Get there – bus 7,8 stops outside or Infirmary Road tram stop is walkable.
Harlequin – Nursery Street
Fairly big L-shape pub with extensive cider selection and bar food, it is also the tap for Exit 33 brewery. Usually has bands on a Saturday night and also has a mid week quiz night.
Get there – buses 7,8,95,95a
Hillsborough Hotel– Langsett Road
Pub and accommodation on the tram route out to Hillsborough. Choice of reasonably priced real ales available to enjoy in one of the two main rooms or conservatory, home cooked bar meals available at the weekend.
Get there – Langsett Primrose View tram stop or buses 57,81,82
Kelham Island Tavern – Rusell Street
One of the area’s long established real ale pubs that has won many awards over the years including National CAMRA Pub of the Year twice. It is a basic pub with two rooms and a beer garden that is kept well presented, large beer range with all basic styles including mild, stout/porter and traditional bitter alongside popular pale hoppy offerings and more. A recent change of management has kept all the basic high standards and reasonable pricing but made subtle changes with a bar refit that allows a bit more leaning towards craft with the guest ales. Food available most lunchtimes.
Get there: Shalesmoor tram stop, buses to Gibralter Street
Millowners Arms – Kelham Island Museum
Formerly a museum exhibit celebrating Sheffield’s pub and brewing history, this traditional pub room is now open full time as a public bar with real ale and other craft beers available.
Get there – Shalesmoor tram stop, buses to Gibralter Street
Neepsend Brewery – Ball Street
The actual working brewery, they open the bar to the public one Saturday a month to coincide with Peddlers Market. *CURRENTLY IN THE PROCESS OF RELOCATING*
Get there – Shalesmoor tram stop or bus 7,8
New Barrack Tavern – Penistone Road
Friendly multi room roadhouse pub owned by Castle Rock Brewery but operated independently by Kev and Steph. Popular with the more discerning fans of Sheffield Wednesday football club and Sheffield Tigers Speedway team whilst the weekend live music and comedy events also draw a crowd. Usually a good selection of real ales on the bar and an extensive cider and bottled beer selection also features.
Get there: Bamforth Street tram stop or buses 7,8,86.
Old Workshop – Hick Street
Bar in, as the name suggests, an old former workshop! Features a range of craft beer, premium spirits and occasional music events, in a laid back atmosphere.
Get there: bus 7,8 or Shalesmoor tram stop
(note – keg only bar, craft beers featured may or may not be real ale depending on range)
Peddlers Market – Burton Road, Neepsend
Takes place the first weekend of most months in an old warehouse and surrounding courtyards, featuring a craft beer bar with a different guest brewery each month and cask ale from the local Neepsend Brewery, numerous street food traders, makers stalls, music and more.
Get there: Shalesmoor tram stop or bus 7, 8
Riverside– Mowbray Street
Bar owned by True North Brewery offering their beers plus guests and food is available. As the name implies, there is also an extensive outdoor drinking area overlooking the river Don.
Get there: bus 7,8,83,83a,95,95a. Nearest tram stops: Shalesmoor or Fitzalan Square.
Saw Grinders Union – Shalesmoor
Smart but relaxed bar & dining room. 2 cask ales available on handpump plus a range of craft beers from their keg wall.
Get there: Shalesmoor tram stop
Shakespeares – Gibralter Street
One of those old places that has been around for years and dates back to the days of being a coaching inn with stables at the back for the horse and carriage, it only really became noteworthy from a beer point of view in recent years since becoming independently owned and operated. The interior is a basic ale house style with several rooms on the ground floor plus a live music room and games room upstairs. The bar offers an extensive range of craft beers on cask and keg served by knowledgeable staff, they also boast quite an extensive top shelf spirit choice.
Get there: bus 57,81,82. Nearest tram stops Cathedral or Shalesmoor.
Sheffield Brewery Company – Burton Road
The brewery is located in the former Blanco Polish factory, which supplied the British troops in World War Two. Beer has been brewed here since 2006, on kit arranged on the traditional tower principle. For quite a few years the output was mainly traditional session beers, however the range has become more varied and modern in recent times. The bar in the brewery was rescued from a student halls of residence that has since been demolished and fits in style with the Victorian building. It opens to the public most Fridays and Saturdays
Get there: bus 7,8. Nearest tram stop Shalesmoor.
Ship Inn– Shalesmoor
Classic pub with a choice of beers that won an award for its recent refurbishment.
Get there: Shalesmoor tram stop is across the road.
Stew & Oyster – Green Lane
New build pub/restaurant with real ales, named after the focus of the simple food menu!
Get there: Shalesmoor tram stop or buses 57,81,82,86
Wellington – Henry Street
Old fashioned two room pub next to Shalesmoor tram stop operated by Neepsend Brewery featuring craft beer on cask and keg from their range plus guests. The kind of pub where you sit and enjoy quiet conversation or read the paper. Beer garden also available.
Get there: Shalesmoor tram stop.
Yellow Arch – Burton Road
Events compex with courtyard, club room and cafe bar. When there are no events the bar is open to all. There aren’t any obvious beer pumps, check blackboard or ask staff for availability.
Get there: bus 7,8 or Shalesmoor tram stop.