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The Sheffield Tap, review

Simon Binns resists the temptation to go off the rails

Written by . Published on April 13th 2011.

The Sheffield Tap, review

Going to the football can be depressing, especially as a Middlesbrough fan.An away day at Bramhall Lane, however, meant at least one bright spot amid a Championship basement clash – a trip to the Sheffield Tap.

The pub is a commuters’ dream, tacked onto the side of Sheffield’s train station. But the real joy is the dizzying selection of ales and the undiminished spirit of the ‘proper pub’ that exists within.

The main bar sits in the middle of two smaller rooms, and is the hub of the pub. It’s a haven for real ale enthusiasts, with draft ales ranging from the sensible to the almost-eight-per-cent-ridiculous. On a sunny day though, it’s hard not to get carried away.

Red leather seats and high tables give a sense of the refined ale drinker. The thinking man’s pub.

Mindful of the fact that I had 90 minutes to get through, I started on the Jaipur (Thornbridge) and interspersed it with Camden Pale Ale, the first smooth and delicate, the second equipped with a touch more fizz. Both were sublime.

The back bar was packed full of exotic looking bottled ales – you could come here every day for a month and not try everything.

I think the table of four gents next to me and my friend may have been trying to do just that. The conversation topic was the difference between men who like to drink half a dozen pints every day (them) and alcoholics (everyone else that does the same as them).

On the other side of us, a stoic Sheffield couple engaged us only to tell us we’d be going home with no points.

As the sunlight crashed into the bar, it would have been tempting to stay all afternoon and marvel at the architecture and talk nonsense while checking the scores on my mobile phone. But the ticket had cost £28 and there was six points at stake.

Ambling back two hours later, three points in the bag thanks to a late Marvin Emnes winner, we decided to spend another couple of hours in the Tap waiting for the train home. Or maybe the next one. Or the one after that.

The ‘beer garden’ out front is a great spot for people watching, especially post-football. Highlights included a man falling over running away from a bee and a silicon-enhanced girl that forced an entire pub and three of West Yorkshire Police’s finest to fall totally silent.

But this is a pub you should seek out – it shouldn’t just be a ‘to and from the station’ drinking experience.

But if you do have to run for the last train, at least you won’t be out of breath.

Breakdown:9/10 ambience
5/5 drinks
4/5 service
Address:The Sheffield Tap
Sheffield Station
Sheaf St
Sheffield S1 2BP
0114 273 7558

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away

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