Pub visits this week: 9
Food seems to have been a recurrent theme this week in pubs. When I moved to Sheffield one of the great things about the pubs was the food, but some of the great vegetarian pub eats around here seemed to either disappear or diminish afterwards. All the better, then, to see the Rutland and the Red Deer getting back on track with menus as good as their beers. If you’re a Sheffielder, where do you recommend? If you’re not, what’s it like for pub food where you are? Shout up in the comments and share the pie love.
Red Deer, Pitt Street, Sheffield. I haven’t done a pub quiz in ages, and apparently there are free chip butties at this one, so four of us (me, Cara, Dan and Ian) give it a go. The pub quiz, we discover, comprises 20 questions. The first ten are general knowledge, though some seem tremendously specific. The second ten are about nursery rhymes. The answer sheets advertise the site where the questions were downloaded from. Our team comes second, with 10 out of 20. The winners score 11. They win eight pints, to share between five of them.
The choice of beers is newly expanded and very good, and the free chip butties are excellent.
Where is there a decent pub quiz these days? One with a bit of effort and thought put in to it, and some decent prizes. I don’t feel inclined to go to this one again, and if I’m not alone then the Red Deer will carry on for a few weeks, wondering why no bugger is bothering with it, and finally conclude that people aren’t interested in pub quizzes any more, and stop doing it. I think people are, but they just want decent ones.
Rutland Arms, Brown Street, Sheffield (featured here). I’m here and it’s not a Friday after work! It’s a Thursday before band practice, between six and seven, and it’s not busy, but there’s just enough hubbub and murmur to make it agreeable. The chip butty is blooming lovely.
The Grapes, Trippet Lane, Sheffield. Lots of people are here to see a gig upstairs. I like the Grapes as a venue and if there’s one silver lining that might emerge from the Shakespeare closing down, it might be the revival of the Grapes on the city’s live music scene. (If you can call it that. It’s more like lots of little scenes really. But that’s by the by.)
Red Deer, Pitt Street, Sheffield. It’s Friday, it’s lunchtime, it’s Friday Lunch Club. The pub is nearly empty, which is a shame, as the new menu seems really good, stacked with pies and lasagnes and things like that which seem to work really well as pub food. Mine’s a vegetarian cottage pie with peas and it’s only four quid. Get to the pub.com recommends!
The Florist, Walkley Road, Walkley, Sheffield. As soon as my girlfriend and I get through the door, I suggest we turn round and leave. It’s a rare chance for us to have a cosy little night out together and the Florist is loud and busy. Let’s stay, she says, though, so we do. This place attracts an interesting blend of clientele: you wouldn’t say posh in any way, but some of the older crowd here look like they’ve acquired some money, or at the very least like they enjoy dressing up to go to the pub. Also, a great proportion of the people here are of great proportion: not obese, but tall and stout and looming. The Florist: land of the giants. We spend an hour here before we go on for a meal. It’s not unfriendly and the bar staff are good, but I don’t feel quite at home, for reasons I can’t quite establish. My girlfriend enjoys it though.
Rutland Arms, Rutland Street, Grimsby, Lincs (featured here). It’s pretty busy today as we gather to prepare for watching Grimsby Town Football Club fail again. The crowd at the match ends up as 4,500: there might be a bigger-than-usual turnout from the visitors, Notts County, but considering the team hasn’t won in nearly 20 matches now, and the club is at its lowest ebb in more than 130 years of history, it could be a lot worse. We only lose 1-0 today, and Notts are paying a goalkeeper £15,000 a week of money they don’t actually have, so again, it’s almost a moral victory or something. Can you pass me another straw please? I haven’t finished clutching yet.
The Stock Room, Leadmill Road, Sheffield; Rutland Arms, Brown Street, Sheffield. Sometime I’m gonna try and go to all the Rutland Armses in the country on the same day. The one in Chesterfield is pretty nice. The Stock Room, meanwhile, is packed out for a mighty fine popshow. It’s a very basic one-room venue but tonight it feels alive and excited.
Freedom House, South Road, Walkley, Sheffield (featured here). One of my brothers is visiting Sheffield so we see out the week in the Freedom, along with Jono, Dan and Dan’s housemate Tom. It’s fine company, good beer and great conversation about a breadth of random things. The landlord tells me he’s been at the Freedom for 35 years, which makes him the longest-serving pub manager in Yorkshire. I feel like I’m in the presence of royalty.