In the last issue of Beer Matters, as many of you were buying the Good Beer Guide (GBG) 2022 as Christmas presents, we looked back at which Sheffield pubs were in the 1995 edition and how many are still with us. Now, as we invite members to help choose which pubs will be awarded a place in the 2023 guide, we have another look back to 1995 for a closer look at the City Centre pubs featured.
The Bath Hotel on Victoria Street is first up and as an unspoilt heritage pub has changed little today and is still in the guide although it has benefited from a sympathetic refurbishment and updated toilets. Back in 1995 the beer range included Wards Best Bitter, Tetley Bitter, Ind Coope Burton Ale and a guest whilst today the pub is leased by Thornbridge Brewery with a range of their beers on the bar.
The Brown Bear is another classic pub from the 1995 guide that hasn’t changed much in terms of layout, this has also had a significant investment from its current owners, Samuel Smith’s Brewery, in a sympathetic renovation of the building and internal refurbishment. Under its old ownership this two roomed traditional boozer used to be known for being wallpapered with theatre posters making visitors from the neighbouring Crucible and Lyceum theatres feel at home and the beer range in 1995 included Courage Directors Bitter, Marstons Pedigree, Ruddles County, John Smiths Bitter and Magnet along with a guest. Nowadays there is just the one cask beer – Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery Bitter.
Staying on the theme of classic Sheffield City Centre pubs that remain unchanged today, Fagans on Broad Lane hasn’t even changed management with long serving couple Tom and Barbara still in charge! In 1995 it was described as a lively, popular pub with a small snug and impromptu folk sessions. On the bar back then was Tetley Bitter and Ind Coope Burton Ale. 2022 still sees the pub in the GBG, the Burton Ale has been replaced with Abbeydale Moonshine and Tetley’s Bitter has more recently substituted with Timothy Taylor’s Landlord! The pub also still features folk music and food is served lunchtimes and teatimes.
The next pub listed in the 1995 guide is the Harlequin – although not the current one of that name (which used to be called the Manchester Hotel), this one was located on Johnson Street and was demolished to make way for the inner ring road. The Harlequin was a traditional street corner local noted for having a pot bellied stove in the tap room, it also had a second room with a pool table and beer was from Wards Brewery.
The Lord Nelson on Arundel Street still survives despite changes happening around it in that part of town. It isn’t surrounded by as many “little workshops” as it was back in 1995 but it remains a traditional street corner local. Back then it was a Hardy & Hanson’s pub, now it is a free-house.
Moseley’s Arms at West Bar in 1995 was in the GBG and serving draught Bass and Stones Bitter. It was described as a superbly renovated pub with three comfortably furnished rooms and a friendly atmosphere plus an upstairs function room with a pool table. While the building still stands in 2022, it is no longer a pub.
The Red Deer is a pub that was in the GBG until last year when there was some Covid related uncertainty surrounding it, although the good news is a new tenant took over the pub with the same staff and manager so little has changed. In fact the pub is very similar to how it was in 1995 other than it being redecorated over the years and the beer range changing. Back then the choices in this former Tetley house included Alloa Arrol’s 80/-, Ind Coope Burton Ale, Wards Best Bitter and a guest ale along with Tetley’s Bitter, Mild and Imperial.
The Rutland Arms on Brown Street in 1995 was described as a City Centre gem in a resurgent cultural corner where, behind a distinctive Gilmour’s frontage, lies a comfortable lounge and a cosmopolitan clientele! The beer range back then included Ind Coope Burton Ale, Marston’s Pedigree, Tetley Bitter and Younger No. 3, food was served lunchtime and evening and bed & breakfast accommodation was offered. The pub remains in the guide today although the upstairs rooms are gone and the beer range is a little more exotic!
The Tap & Spile was quite the real ale showcase pub back in 1995 with ten changing ales plus cider. The main room was a large bar with exposed brickwork and bare boards along with a side room which was no smoking at lunchtime when food was served. There has been a pub on the site since 1790. It was rebuilt in 1927 as the tap for the nearby Gilmour Brewery and, in 1992, become part of the Tap & Spile chain. Sadly the pub had since fallen on harder times. It had a subtle change of name to the Tap & Barrel when it was re-themed in 1998 and has since gone through the ownership of both Pubmaster and Ei group. It is no longer trading.
Finally, the Washington on Fitzwilliam Street. It was in the GBG 1995 described as a pub with two comfortably furnished rooms that is a popular meeting place which serves lunches Monday to Friday. The beers on the bar back then were Ind Coope Burton Ale, Tetley Bitter and Tetley Mild. Although the pub isn’t currently in the guide, it is still going strong with a range of real ales on the bar including the ever popular Abbeydale Moonshine, it is more music focused now with live bands and DJs. It no longer opens at lunchtime but stays open until 3am most nights and is popular with the late night crowd. The pub retains a two room plus beer garden layout with one of the rooms still a comfortable lounge, the other now has a DJ box and dance floor plus much simpler furniture. It has also seen recent investment upgrading the outdoor area.