Once at the heart of Sheffield’s thriving steel industry, Kelham Island is now one of the most popular and hip areas of the city for real ale and food lovers. It has an incredible range of bars & restaurants in Kelham Island for all tastes. Many venues host regular events from live music to quizzes. The area has a jovial and friendly atmosphere and is well worth exploring next time you visit the Steel City.
Here, we will guide you through some of the Yorkshireman’s favourite food and drinking spots in the Kelham Island area.
1. Church: Temple of Fun – For the rock, vegan and retro lovers
Owned by Bring Me The Horizon frontman and local resident Oli Sykes, Church: Temple of Fun has something for everyone. It takes its style from ‘barcades’, a popular concept in Brazil (home country of Sykes’s wife), which features a combination of classic arcade games and a bar that features beers from local and overseas microbreweries.
The interior is a sight to behold with stained glass windows and walls adorned with religious artefacts and paintings, alongside retro arcade games, PlayStation gaming pods and a pool table. The menu is 100% vegan and is truly delicious. It has mouth-watering burgers, hot dogs and kebabs, that even the meat-eaters will be drooling over. The drinks menu has something for everyone.
The craft beer selection features ales from local breweries such as Sheffield’s Abbeydale and continental options such as Liefmans from Belgium. But if beer isn’t your thing, then be sure to check out the variety of inventive and tasty cocktails on offer. ‘Black Magic’, ‘Brandy Alexander’ and ‘Rasputin’ are just some that you should be sure to try.
And if you want to keep a clear head, there’s a fine selection of hot drinks, mocktails and soft drinks on offer too. The bar also hosts live music, gaming days and movie nights. It even has its own tattoo parlour. If you want somewhere quirky and alternative for a drink or a bite to eat, then Church: Temple of Fun, is just for you.
2. The Fat Cat – For the traditional real ale lovers
The Fat Cat pub is synonymous with the beer culture and history in Sheffield. The building itself dates back to 1850 and started out as a public house called ‘The Alma’. It was put up for auction in 1981 and was purchased by Dave Wickett and Bruce Bentley. The pair opened ‘The Fat Cat’ in August 1981. A fun fact about the bar’s official opening night was that the first pint was pulled by Sheffield Wednesday legend Derek Dooley MBE.
In 1990, a brewery was built in the beer garden and Kelham Island Brewery was born. They pride themselves on the quality of their beer having three delicious permanent options on tap: the award-winning ‘Kelham Island Pale Rider’, ‘Kelham Best Bitter’ and Timothy Taylor’s ‘Landlord’.
Alongside the regular ales, the other pumps have constantly changing guest ales from all over the country. The food is very traditional pub grub with pies, ploughman’s lunch and burgers with vegan and vegetarian options also available. If you love real ale and a traditional pub atmosphere, get yourself down to The Fat Cat.
3. Piña – For the tequila and taco lovers
Fancy something cheap and cheerful? Housed in a former warehouse and located in Sheffield’s steel quarter, Pina serve up Mexican street food everyday. The tortillas are freshly made in-house everyday with love. Our favourite of the choice of tacos has to be ‘The King: Al Pastor – perfect to enjoy with a few craft ales.
It’s tequila base cocktails are sure to add a bit of spice to your life. Whether you fancy Tommy’s Margarita, or a classis one both are made with Tapatio Blanco tequila. Our fiery favourite cocktail is the Picante, another tequila based cocktails with a sweet and spicy finish.
In need of cooling down? Pina also serve up some ice cold frozen cocktails. From the rum based frozen pina colada to the classic frozen margs with a hearty dose of tequila you won’t be left wanting that’s for sure.
4. Craft and Dough – For the pizza lovers
If you start feeling peckish while walking through Kelham Island, then Craft and Dough is the place for you. They make mouth-watering artisan pizzas with creative and eye-catching titles such as ‘Piggy Smalls’ and ‘Perks of being a Cauliflower’. The range of toppings on offer will please meat-eaters and vegans alike.
The drinks menu is expansive with a vast selection of lagers, craft beers, ciders and sours with a selection coming from local Yorkshire breweries such as Kelham Island Brewery and Magic Rock. For those who are cocktail lovers, there’s an inventive choice on offer with names such as ‘Dark and Stormy’ and ‘Tropical Rumbull’. Want to avoid a potential sore head in the morning?
Take a pick from the selection of mocktails and non-alcoholic beers. It’s also ideal for a party or a celebration, as it offers a bottomless brunch with food and unlimited house Prosecco and Dough Lager.
5. The Gardener’s Rest – For the community spirit lovers
Once upon a time, things didn’t look good for The Gardener’s Rest. In June 2016 it was put up for sale and its future seemed very uncertain. Hope came when a small number of regulars established the Gardener’s Rest Community Society (GRCS).
The aim of the group was to purchase the pub under community ownership. The group succeeded and it has been running as a community pub since October 2016. What the group have done with the pub is remarkable and it is now a thriving establishment in Kelham Island.
It has a fine selection of local cask and continental beers on offer, with non-alcohol beers also available. For non-beer drinkers, a wide choice of spirits and soft drinks are available. You will also be pleased by the prices: pints of beer are under £5 which, in a major city, is not always the case.
The pub also offers a variety of entertainment from live music to weekly quizzes. The beer garden is a sight to behold; it is filled with quirky ornaments and overlooks the River Don. In 2019, the pub won the prestigious CAMRA ‘Sheffield Pub of the Year’ award.
6. SALT – For both the craft and bao bun lovers
SALT are on a mission to ‘unify heritage and modern brewing’ and we can safely say they are succeeding. After starting life in Solitaire, the SALT brand spread across the UK with bars in Leeds, London and now right here in Kelham Island.
Replacing the Stew and Oyster, it opened in December 2021 and offers a fun and intriguing concept of ‘Craft and Bao’, serving award-winning ale alongside appetising bao buns. They have teamed up with ‘Bao Mesters’, which is the creation of the highly acclaimed Japanese cuisine experts ‘Edo Sushi’. Both meaty and veggie options are available and are equally delicious.
The drinks on offer are also a delight. They are supported by Yorkshire’s own Ossett Brewery and have the fantastic ‘Yorkshire Blonde’ and ‘White Rat’ ready to pour. They have four tasty cocktails on draft: ‘Pornstar Martini’, ‘Salted Caramel Espresso Martini’, ‘Bramble Hedgerow’ and ‘Strawberry and Rhubarb Cosmo’. Help support a new bar and guarantee yourself a memorable time by paying a visit to SALT Sheffield.
7. Riverside, Kelham – For a cool riverside drink
One of the coolest bars & restaurants Kelham Island, Sheffield, the OG Riverside, has been a popular watering hole for Sheffield residents for some time. It serves up a range of craft ales and real ales from both local breweries and popular global beers.
You can enjoy burgers, fries or a filling Sunday roast with Yorkshire puds and other tasty food options at the Riverside venue that is sure to hit the spot.
You can enjoy a drink next to the river in their beer garden under twinkling fairy lights and kept warm underneath the heaters. It’s a great space to enjoy a night out with friends and to meet new people.They do great DJ nights or live events where you can dance the night away under the starry sky.
8. INC Rooftop Bar – For a rooftop cocktail
This unique shipping container venue is Sheffield’s first and number one rooftop bars that offers a great atmosphere with sweet tunes and sweeter cocktails. It sits atop stacked shipping containers that is known as Krynkly.
Chilled vibes and great views make it the perfect places to while away the summer days getting cosy with a cocktail. Their cocktail menu consists of dandy rum based daquiri, or a Whitley Neal gin and tonic that’s thoughfully garnished.
INC Rooftop Bar is Sheffield’s first rooftop bar, sits on top of the stack of repurposed shipping containers that is known as Krynkl. Grab a cocktail in a unique setting. Enjoy the warmth of a summer sunset or get cosy around the fire in colder times.
Words by Eddie Brickdale
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