Pub visits this week 5
There’s a popshow here in Sheffield on Tuesday night. There is the anticipation of great company and thrilling music. Tonieee and I are starting the night at our new local, the Blake Hotel, so there is also the anticipation of excellent beer at reasonable prices.
But it’s at the Red House where everything’s happening. Three fantastic bands in a venue that’s perfect for them in every way. It’s a blur and a blast and a gasp of life. It’s a gas gas gas. And it’s tucked away on the back streets, in midweek, a secret to all but a small circle of the folk who need it most. Another homely miracle made possible by the pub.
After unprecedentedly retaining the title in 2010, the Kelham Island Tavern (pictured above) is no longer Camra’s UK pub of the year, that honour having passed last week to the very worthy Harp in central London. But titles and baubles appear to matter little to the throngs of folks pressing themselves into the KIT at Saturday lunchtime. Four of them are me, my girlfriend, our two-year-old son and our friend Dan. Sunlight pours in and surrounds us. The table is laden with pints of pale ale, orange juice, pumpkin bake, chip butties and chocolate sponge. It is a scene of modest happiness, harmony and ease.
Some Norwich City fans are in: their team is visiting Sheffield United today. The Kelham Island Tavern is totally the wrong side of the city centre to get to Bramall Lane. But these people have made the extra effort to get to an excellent pub. You have to admire that. And you have to admire the pub for being so good that they want to.
On Sunday evening I make it to Fagan’s for the first time. You know the way a pub can just slip under your radar somehow, or you just never get round to trying it out? I’ve heard good things about Fagan’s for ages and only now am I visiting at last. The good things are all fully justified, and I’m going to make it the next featured pub here on this site.
So that’s all for this week – other than the pre-Fagan’s visit that Dan, Cara and I make to the Red Deer (pictured below). Once again, it’s a nice place to put your head round the door on a Sunday evening but once again it’s really quiet. This is even more mystifying than usual now that they’ve got Harvest Pale on. In summary, then: yum.