Grin & Bear it*

The Bear came out top in the recent Pints of Sheffield “Battle of the Boozers” vote. We called in to see what earned them the victory.

Despite only been open since June 2021, the Bear has already made a name for itself. Based on Abbeydale Road, in the premises formerly occupied by the Rude Shipyard café, it’s part of an area that is rapidly becoming a beer destination to rival Kelham Island.

Owner Matt Beety had long had a desire to open a bottle shop/bar, and finding himself out of work after a 20 year career in Education gave him the final push to do just that. Opening in the middle of a pandemic would seem to be a crazy idea, but Matt says it’s not been a problem. “I originally planned it to be a bottle shop with people calling in to buy a few cans, and maybe me doing home deliveries, which I could make work financially. However it soon became obvious that it was more of a bar, with people staying in for a few drinks, as well as taking home cans and growlers.”

It was a steep learning curve with Matt having no bar experience at all prior to opening. But sheer enthusiasm carried him through, and talking to him now as he serves customers in between questions it’s obvious he’s a natural barman, being as much interested in his customers as the beers. “It’s a great crowd of regulars” admits Matt, “and not just locals, but a range of people making the trip to see us. And winning the Pints of Sheffield competition brought in a wave of new people.” At each stage of the competition Matt came up against some real heavyweights in the Sheffield Beer Scene and was amazed to end up the eventual winner. Pangolin, Rutland Arms, Hallamshire House, Broadfield and Shakespeares were all seen off to clinch the title. “These are all great pubs that I’ve been visiting for years, so it’s nice to know our customers see us in the same light.”

Things have picked up so much now that Matt has brought in an extra member of staff, Lucy, who has previously worked at Walkley Beer Company.

The bar has six taps, one of which is capable of dispensing cask beer, which is something Matt is considering in the future. “I’m keen to always have a good range. There’s usually a stout, a lager and an IPA, and I try to have a GF beer on tap as well. Favourite breweries at the moment are Missing Link and Beak, and locally, Triple Point and Abbeydale.”

The Bear has a monthly quiz with a £30 bar tab up for grabs, although you’ll need to book, and a few tap takeovers planned. The next one is a ticketed event in March featuring the brewer from Missing link. If you’ve not already been to the Bear, I’d recommend you go as soon as you can, and say CAMRA sent you. You’ll not regret it.

*Haha. That’s terrible. Free pint to anyone giving me a worse headline.

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