25th January 2023.

There’s much discussion of pub and brewery closure on CAMRA’s Discourse (think MumsNet for beery blokes) at the moment.

As the thousand or so CAMRAs (or is it Camras, or CamRAs ?) who descend on Sheffield in April for their AGM will find out, pub numbers seem to be holding up OK. As Pub Curmudgeon notes here, it’s the costs as much of lack of demand that’s the killer.

I’ve just subscribed to Sheffield’s Tribune, which among many excellent articles (paid journalism works) has an in-depth look at the gentrification of Kelham Island.

I live 10 minutes walk (downhill, thankfully) from the start of Kelham’s Valley of Beer, where many delegates will no doubt be heading to old favourites like the Fat Cat, Tavern and Gardeners in April*.

These days Kelham has a couple of dozen cask options, nearly all supplying GBG quality beer.

Still some work to do to resurrect a few old favourites though,

and you might lose an hour just staring at Wards window porn.

I popped down while the slow cooker was on to take a peep at Happy’s Bar, over the road from the abandoned Cannon brewery.

Like a lot of Kelham openings since Covid (Heist, Alder, Neepsend Social Club) it doesn’t look much, and tipping up at 4pm on a Wednesday finds it quiet,

bar the sound (from majestically large wall-mounted speakers) of Queens of the Stone Age and this woke classic.

The Vocation pump is turned round so my Hobson’s Choice is Moonshine and, I confess, I fear the worst, wishing I’d saved a visit till it gets (I hope) busy at the weekend.

But it’s lovely; cool, chewy, tasty (NBSS 3/3.5).

And though the soundtrack, clearly picked by the two cheery young lads at the bar, starts with nu-metal/emo/whatever/stuff your labels, it soon goes pleasingly weird and I make numerous musical discoveries idling away half an hour over a pint.

Sometimes, retired life seems just perfect.

*And if anyone attending the AGM wants to see the strength in depth of the Sheffield pub scene, I’d probably suggest this one and Alder as a place to start.


  1. Paid journalism? Aye.

    “You cannot hope to bribe or twist,
    – Thank God! – the British journalist,
    But seeing what the man will do,
    Unbribed, there’s no occasion to”

    Humbert Wolfe


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