It’s always good to see a new bar opening, particularly when there’s an interesting bit of local history attached to it. Opening in September last year, Grafters Bar popped up in Neepsend, just by Peddler Market and opposite Sheffield Brewery. However drinkers may not know that it’s origins started way up north in Dundee. Footballing brothers, Jim and Tom McAnearney left their home town to sign for Sheffield Wednesday in 1951, and it was Jim who set up an engineering business in the city after a long career which also included managing Rotherham United and Hallam FC.
The business is still in the family (now PJ McAnearney Machine Tools) and operating from premises in Percy Street. It was a small unused area of those premises that gave grandsons Brad and Ash an idea. Why not become part of the ever-growing beer scene in the area? Despite no experience other than occasional bar work the pair threw themselves into the task of transforming the derelict L-shaped plot into a distinctive outdoor bar. With help from their parents, Paul and Tonia, the family did lots of the work themselves, from initial plot design, to building the furniture. It was all this hard work that gave them the name – Grafters.
Says Brad “From the outset, we knew we had to have a decent beer offer, being so close to Kelham, and we wanted to have a local emphasis as well. We usually have something from Abbeydale Brewery and often feature other local favourites such as Triple Point, Bradfield, Neepsend and more.”
Their five taps have a rotating range of beers, although one is usually reserved for a lager. The others feature a cider tap, guest keg beers and two cask taps. The lack of handpumps throws a few people but it’s real ale being served through the cask taps.
“We also have a big selection of bottles and cans in the fridges” continues Brad “including a few non-alcoholic options. It’s been a steep learning curve since we started, but the response has been fantastic, and we’re really pleased with how things are going. We’re now looking at putting on a few events such as tap takeovers and meet-the-brewer sessions.” Brad is also part of the Antics comedy group, so who knows, we might even see a comedy night at Grafters.
It’s a great outdoor space, and has overhead heaters for nights where it’s a bit chilly. I’d recommend trying it out before summer hits though. As soon as the warm weather arrives it’s going to be even more popular.