I was one of the first people through the door of Shakespeares when it re-opened in July 2011 and it has been a firm favourite ever since. Back then it was very much a cask-led pub, which was the style at the time, but also had one of the best malt whisky ranges I’ve seen outside Scotland.
Times change, and since then craft keg from abroad was added, followed later by craft keg from the UK, but never losing sight of keeping an excellent ever-changing range of well-kept cask.
I gave up beer ticking for the sake of it in 2017 but by that stage had drunk over 2,000 different cask beers at the Shakey, my second highest pub of all time and only 300 behind the Cask & Cutler/Wellington that I’d been going to for twice as long. For those who prefer to ‘stick to what they know’ Abbeydale Deception and Red Willow Feckless are permanent fixtures, while the other lines all change every few days, the pub keeps a tally and has so far served 6,700 different cask ales and around 1,400 different craft kegs.
While fully embracing the exponential growth of craft keg beer, beer manager Lucienne remains a huge cask fan and has persuaded many a craft brewery to supply her a cask of a beer otherwise only to be seen in keg and small-pack, particularly for the epic beer festivals held annually in the upstairs function room. ‘15% chocolate tonka maple barrel aged stout? Yeah we’ll have a cask please’. In the unlikely event you can’t find anything you want on the seven handpumps and nine craft keg taps, there’s also an extensive range of cans and bottles covering everything from Lambic to IPA to imperial stout…
The pub itself recently celebrated its 200th birthday, having started life as a coaching inn. The building features some impressive stained glass windows, and is decorated with breweryania ranging from historic through to some rather more modern pumpclips. Wooden barrels serve as tables in the area behind the bar, along with a new sofa (note: this is my ‘spot’, so people who aren’t me shouldn’t sit there), while the small ‘clock room’ features more traditional tables and chairs, and the long room has long tables and benches along with a dart board. Outside is a large beer garden/courtyard. Live bands are a regular feature in the upstairs function room, as well as musicians in the long room. The pub has deservedly won Pub of the Month several times, and in 2012 won the overall Pub of the Year for Sheffield & District.
All are invited to join us there for a beer or two at the certificate presentation night on Wednesday 22 June from 8pm.
Shakespeares can be found at 146-148 Gibraltar Street, Sheffield S3 8UB. Buses 57, 81, 82 and 86 stop outside, alternatively it is a short walk from the City Centre or Shalesmoor tram stop.