Sheffield’s Kelham Island has become an area synonymous with hipsters and creatives, thanks to its vast selection of craft breweries, street food, art exhibitions, and live music. And next to the Rover Don, you’ll find one of the most exciting and authentic bars in the area, Church – Temple of Fun.
The bar is owned by a famous resident of the city, Bring Me The Horizon’s frontman Oli Sykes. Not content with being an international rock star and the owner of clothing brand Drop Dead, Sykes opened Church in 2018 to add to his already remarkable accomplishments.
Church is located in the Osborn Works, a listed building and former steelworks, designed by John William Hale who was most notable for designing some of Sheffield’s most iconic churches. Fittingly, Church opened in 2018 which was the 100th anniversary of the building.
The title of the bar was a tribute to Hale by Sykes, who stated “our building has incredible traditional heritage and I wanted to develop a bar arcade concept that truly celebrated and developed that legacy. We wanted something that fitted with William John Hale’s original and stunning design but provided something to wow 21st-century customers.”
The interior of Church itself is a sight to behold: a mix of South American religious iconography and the fittings you’d typically find in an arcade. The inspiration came from a visit to Brazil when Sykes spotted a ‘barcade’ style bar and wanted to replicate it back home. A ‘barcade’ features a combination of classic arcade games and a bar that generally features beers from local and overseas microbreweries.
The result is stained glass windows and walls adorned with religious artefacts and paintings, alongside retro arcade games, PlayStation gaming pods and a pool table.
To continue the quirky theme, you just need to look up to the ceiling and you will see a huge and impressive painting of an alien invasion, making Church well worth a visit for the interior alone.
Let’s move on to the food. Church’s menu is 100% vegan and, from first-hand experience, is truly delicious. Consisting of burgers, hot dogs and more – it’s a collection of grub that even meat-eaters will drool over.
They cook up a mouth-watering choice of vegan comfort food such as burgers, hot dogs and loaded fries. And for those with a sweet tooth, they also have a selection of dairy-free cheesecakes and ice cream sundaes. The menu also caters for little ones with a specially designed children’s menu, including favourites such as meat-free fish fingers and chicken nuggets.
While it’s easy to expect that the food is the real showstopper, the drinks menu is just as impressive, with a vast choice to suit all tastes.
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. ‘Strawberry and basil Mojito’, ‘Aphrodite’ and ‘Satyr’ are just a few of the offerings that will catch your eye (literally!). And if you want to keep a clear head, there’s a fine selection of hot drinks, mocktails and soft drinks on offer, too.
To add to the excitement, Church is a 220-capacity live venue and has played host to artists such as Bring Me the Horizon, Deaf Havana, and While She Sleeps over its three years in business.
The venue also mixes things up with movie nights and gaming days. Purgatory is Church’s in-house tattoo parlour which features resident artists and guest artists from around the world. Keep your eye on the website and the various social media pages for tickets and bookings for future events as lockdown lifts.
Tying all things Oli up in a neat little bow, also housed inside Church is the Drop Dead clothing store. Here, you can buy a range of clothing, jewellery, and accessories. As the name suggests, it’s heavily influenced by goth and alternative fashion, and the brand has been worn by major names in the music industry such as Yungblud and Machine Gun Kelly.
Due to COVID-19, Church has sadly had to lock its doors for most of the past year. But now, as hopes rise that the pandemic is starting to pass and our local venues can start to reopen, make sure Church is at the top of your list for places to visit this spring. Find out more and book a table here.
[Featured image: Church – Temple of Fun]