Pub visits this week: 6
Red Deer, Pitt Street, Sheffield. Can’t remember the last time I walked into a pub and there were so many men inside and no women. This is unusual for a pub normally notable for its wide mix of drinkers. As is now standard practice, the bloke from behind the bar (new landlord, I think) picks up his guitar and starts playing acoustic covers of rock and metal standards. The place empties fairly quickly, which may be just coincidence.
The Benjamin Huntsman, Cambridge Street, Sheffield. Wetherspoons pubs can be a convenient option when you’re accompanied by a one-year-old child, although it is challenging to simultaneously drink a pint of Jaipur and stop a one-year-old child destroying a Christmas tree. It’s New Year’s Eve, and I’m just here for a quick one in the afternoon with Dan from my band, and my little son (who stays off the beer in favour of a banana sandwich). These days scarcely a soul who likes pubs can bear to go near one on the actual night of 31 December, deeming that the carnage of part-time drinkers is best avoided altogether. Unless, of course, you know different (as Esther Rantzen used to say on That’s Life); post a comment below about your NYE routine if you like.
Walkley Cottage, Bole Hill Road, Walkley, Sheffield. Just to get out of the house for a bit on New Year’s Day, a couple of afternoon drinks with my girlfriend and our son in the family-friendly Sunday dinner pub at the other end of the suburb. Quite a few people seem to have had the same idea as us. In the six or ten times I’ve visited this pub since moving to Walkley, this is probably the nicest atmosphere I’ve experienced so far. A place like the Walkley Cottage comes into its own at a time like New Year’s Day.
Rutland Arms, Rutland Street, Grimsby (featured here). A few drinks before the football, as normal. We are filled with foreboding, fear and Old Mill Bitter. “Who they playing today?” asks an addled drinker who isn’t going to the match. Bury, someone tells him. “Who the fuck are they? I’ve never fucking heard of ’em!” It’s near Manchester, someone tells him. “Is it?”
Sheffield Tap, Sheffield (featured here). A few drinks after the football, as I hope becomes normal: the sooner you’ve a pint in your hand, the sooner you can forget your team’s failure to have won any league game in the past three and a half months. Football, it emerges, is also the explanation for the door into the pub from platform 1B being closed and locked, this apparently being the edict of the station manager on match days. They must have their reasons, but by nine in the evening their reasons no longer seem applicable.
Red Deer, Pitt Street, Sheffield. Hello again. The University Arms is closed, I guess for the university holidays, so we end up here for another pint or two before curry time. It feels familiar again now – no extraordinary gender imbalance, no acoustic rock covers – and the Timothy Taylor Landlord is on tip-top form.