A few dining and sleeping experiences in Sheffield in early 2013
by Slug on February 16, 2013
After discovering no great offers in Sheffield Travelodge for our one night flying visit, we cast our net a little wider and found a deal at the City Centre Best Western at £50 for a small room or £55 for a larger one. We opted to splash out the extra fiver and was a little disappointed that our room didn't seem particularly spacious although the larger than king sized bed would probably take up a fair chunk of any room. The Cutlers Hotel is in the middle of Sheffield and the site used to be a very grand building but was unfortunately blown apart by a German bomb in the war. What replaced it is a less than glamorous a 1950s concrete ugly building. The entrance and lobby is very unprepossessing; just a small entrance corridor with reception to one side. Check in and out however was quick and simple, and rather than have our credit card checked we simply prepaid the hotel bill. The hotel offered us breakfast but at £8.50 a pop and no guarantee our breakfast would be cooked to order we thought we would do better elsewhere (and indeed found a pub in town with 2 freshly cooked breakfasts costing a mere £7 for the two of us). The hotel is right in the centre of the action near the Cruicible Theatre and within walking distances of plenty of shops, bars and restaurants. Our room was along a very dark and dingy corridor and thankfully things were much nicer through the door. As mentioned, our room wasn't huge but it had a large floor to ceiling window looking out over the brick wall of the warehouse just the other side of the narrow street. The large window was a nice thought I guess although failed in execution. The TV was a flat screen hung to the wall with free view channels. A nice touch was the large office desk which could be lowered to create a workspace but normally stored upright to maximise the available space. The tea and coffee offerings were a little disappointing with only one hot chocolate, no herbal teas and just bog standard tea and coffee. There was also rather meanly just one biscuit pack with two biscuits. I think I'd rather they didn't bother rather than give us just one. The room was quite nicely furnished overall with a green wall and 3 white ones and a bright picture on the wall. The furniture was modern MDF type but the wardrobe looked sturdy and big enough for a couple of weeks clothing if needed. The bathroom had been refurbished and rather bizarrely they hadn't removed the skirting board when retiling which meant they had to do another layer of tiles at the bottom, missing out a bit behind the door to allow it to open properly. It looked a cheap botch job. The shower itself was pleasant with a good flow, although I was a little disappointed that the advertised free bathroom smellies consisted of a small bar of soap and a wall fixed shower gel dispenser.I had a nightcap in the hotel bar and found it very quiet, but with a reasonable range of drinks (although no real ale). The barman was quite friendly and chatted a little as he laid the breakfast tables (only 4 tables so they obviously didn't expect a rush). Summing upOverall we had a clean, convenient and comfortable stay at the Cutlers Hotel. The place didn't particularly wow me, but I guess it was cheap enough for a city Saturday night. I would return if the price is right.
The Leadmill is somewhere I used to occasionally frequent a couple of decades ago and in truth it doesn't seem to have altered much in the intervening years while I've grown rather grey and fat. The Leadmill is and alternative/indie music venue located on the edge of the city centre in the old industrial part of Sheffield. We recently went to see Ian McCulloch perform a wonderful acoustic set and lingered a while after for the evening music set and even managed to dance for a song without having heart attacks. The Leadmill is in no way a classy joint, but it is one of those places I like; basic, beat up, but much loved, while the indie music they play is good too.The place can really be described in three rooms; there is the bar at the entrance with a few tables and chairs, a long bar and the (refurbished) toilets leading off from it. This room isn't particularly exciting but it leads to the two main rooms at the Leadmill.The first is a rather dark small room with a bar, and Ian McCulloch decamped here for his acoustic set. The room holds about 200 people of my size and girth and probably 300 if a younger act is performing. It’s a simple set up with standing room only and a platform stage at the front. There is a bar in this room too – prices for beer is quite reasonable, a pint of premium lager is £3.50 and while the "glasses" are actually plastic they are thick and sturdy meaning you don't slop beer down your front because the plastic bends as you hold it. The main hall is rather larger and where the indie DJ's play after the music set is completed. A little bit of effort has been made with some lighting over the dance floor and there is also a seated area if you need to rest your legs. Unfortunately I couldn't resist and did a little "dad" dancing – those old hips don't swivel as they once did.The Leadmill usually attracts a younger grungy type; young lads in particular but it has a friendly atmosphere and I never feel threatened in there. Obviously when there is an older band playing at the Leadmill then the age of the customer rises accordingly. The ticket for the gig was £16, while I understand a usual night of music and dancing without a live act comes in at around £4 or £5. Given the pub prices at the bar, I'm sure the Leadmill would become a regular haunt if I lived in Sheffield and were younger.
by Slug on February 17, 2013
We don't know Sheffield particularly well so we were grateful that a work friend of my beloved wanted to meet up for a beer or two and she had suggested a nice real ale pub on the edge of the centre of town towards the University for a beer or two.The Red Lion is down a rather anonymous side street, but the Ward's Brewery Victorian era advertisement embossed into the outside wall certainly made the place stand out. Although it was fairly early at 6:30pm, we struggled to snaffle a table and ended up in the conservatory annexe watching the smokers through the window brave the winter weather for their dirty little habit. The pub clientele was mixed age but tended towards the younger end with a fair sprinkling of students. The decor was clean and tidy although perhaps just a little battered in places. Still I liked the pub and it certainly felt a relaxed if a little lively place. The bar had three choices of real ale, including a local Sheffield brew (I always like to see local beers) and one of my old stand-by's Timothy Taylor's Landlord. I remember the Wards beer of the advert outside and it used to give me a poorly stomach although it was a nice brew. The brewery was bought out some years ago. I was quite happy with the choice and my beloved was quite happy with the choice of barman; a particularly hunky young lad with muscles bouncing up and down his arms as he pulled our pint. I was pleased he had a roving eye as it meant he was a good employee making sure that people were served in turn.Although the place was a little noisy we were quite happy chatting over the beer and the noise levels weren't so distracting to put us off talking about our friend's forthcoming wedding. The only slight downside to the place came with the obligatory visit to the toilets which are located up some steps to one side of the bar. Unfortunately the pub has put bar chairs along the narrow corridor, and a rather ignorant woman was plonked on a chair right in the middle of the space. After a polite "excuse me" elicited no reaction I squeezed past her almost turfing her off her seat. I managed with the glare I received, and hopefully she will think twice about where she sits in future. Summing up; I thought the Red Lion was a nice friendly pub (with the exception of the annoying toilet blocker) and with good beer and comfortable surroundings, I'm sure we will visit again now we know where it is.
Feeling the little the worse for wear after our evening with Ian McCullough in the Leadmill and with over an hour before our train, we wanted somewhere close to Sheffield train station where we could grab a bite to eat. Wandering up the road towards the University we saw a basic looking pub, the Globe selling various breakfast foods. I ordered the vegetarian breakfast, while my more delicate beloved went for the scrambled egg on toast. I had an orange juice and my beloved a coffee. The price for the whole lot was a startling £7. What a bargain.The Globe is a typical plain student type place; very basic and a bit scruffy. To be honest I've never grown out of going to places like this so we were quite comfortable particularly as we were the only ones in the bar. My only grumble was that the tables are square meaning that I felt sat quite a way from my beloved, and the chairs did not sensibly snug into the table, meaning I risked getting runny egg or baked beans over my top. Just before our food arrived a veritable train load of students arrived in the pub; what was once quiet instantly erupted into life as the 40 or so students that arrived in one swoop (I kid you not) took over the juke box, played the gaming machines, pool table and yelled at each other. I don’t really mind such boisterous behaviour (been there done that), but nursing a massive hangover and wanting a quiet breakfast it wasn't the best. Still I soon became engrossed with breakfast and was slightly bemused to find that my potato hash had been replaced by chips. I'm not that keen on either so it was simply something else to leave at the side of my plate. The eggs and beans were beautiful although if I were making the dish then the fresh tomato would have been cooked a little longer. I was happy that the sauces were placed at our table; I do like a bit of tomato sauce with my eggs. My beloved meanwhile hardly touched her scrambled egg although they looked like they should. The Globe is a Scream pub a chain of around 50 bars up and down the country which cater particularly for students. It is owned by London based investment group TDR Capital. Many of the pubs have a photo of the Scream (Edvard Munch) somewhere but I didn't spot it in Sheffield. To sum up I can picture the Globe getting pretty lively on a night particularly with a grungy student clientele but everything was well behaved while we were there. I certainly can't complain about the food and if you want something cheap and cheerful then you could do worse. I imagine an older couple might feel and look a bit out of place if you are dressed smart, but I don't think we particularly stood out from the crowd at the time we were there (apart from being 25 years older of course!).
by Slug on March 3, 2013
For our second visit to Sheffield in three weeks, we were staying at the Sheffield Richmond Travelodge as my beloved managed to snag a room for around £25 for the night. The hotel is quite easy to find; just get off at junction 33 of the M1 and drive into Sheffield. We did have to do a bit of a drive round as we spotted the hotel while we were on the wrong road (the A57). The hotel is about 2 miles out of the centre of Sheffield on the edge of what looks like a large council estate. There was plenty of hotel parking and what looked to be an abandoned Little Chef restaurant. An Esso garage and shop was also on site. Our helpful receptionist explained that if we wandered through the garage slip road and walked up the hill then we would find a bus stop with the number 22 bus into Sheffield next to a Lidl supermarket about 4 minutes walk away. This saved us from paying for parking. We were seeing Joy Formidable at the Lead Mill and our late night taxi back to the hotel from the main train station was £8.50, so the Richmond Travelodge is in a fairly reasonable location. You could walk into town through the estate which I guess would take you 30 minutes or so.The Travelodge itself is a little tired and one of the older examples when Travelodge rooms were larger and offered a pull out sofa in addition to a double bed. Our bed was a little saggy and the walls had some scrapes and loss of paintwork, but it all felt as clean as Travelodges always do. Likewise, Travelodge haven’t run to supplying the new flat screen TV, but we happily made do with the small portable which was missing its remote control.Sleeping was fine, although the room was quite hot, and I was woken by a few of the guests rather screaming drunk outside. I'm guessing it's actually quieter than many other city locations. This Travelodge doesn't have any kind of restaurant attached although reception will microwave you a few bits like a hamburger for £3. The promotional picture for the food couldn't manage to stop it from looking disgusting, and we went out to our gig a little early so we could snaffle a bite to eat in any case.Summing up – now we know how to get into town on the bus from this Travelodge, I'd certainly consider it again if it turned out significantly cheaper than other Sheffield options. The condition of the room we had wasn't wonderful, but it was obviously clean and tidy so we were quite comfortable overall.
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