The Old Shoe, Sheffield: Yorkshire's latest craft alehouse building a reputation for excellence
Owners of the recently opened the Old Shoe in Sheffield’s Orchard Square clearly have a nice sense of humour, because it occupies the site of a former footwear emporium.
It is, pure and simple, a craft alehouse, with the added enticements of a range of excellent ciders and some selected (and excellent value) wines, which come by the glass, and not the bottle. That’s it. But, because of the staff, and the selection of beers, it is rapidly building a reputation for excellence.
The premises are simple, almost spartan. Wooden-clad walls, some modern prints, wooden tables and comfortable chairs, with some outdoor seating. Dogs are very welcome.
Each day, the Shoe team produce a useful A4 printed sheet of what is available for the customers. You might, therefore, find on one side a Huxbear sparkling brut next to Kono Marlborough Blanc, and an Eric Bordelet classic cider next to a Danish cherry wine.
Turn over, and there will be more ciders, and around 20 beers. The ales are sourced from all over the UK and Europe, so as well as some well-established Yorkshire favourites, there are visitors from Salford, Cambridge, Ancoats and Mold.
Or there were the other day, for the list will have entirely changed by now. Guests are invited to “try before you buy”. They also do some great coffees.
There is no food, because the owners felt that they would concentrate on their speciality, and not be lumbered with the addition and responsibility of a kitchen.
But you are perfectly free to bring in your own lunchtime sandwich, or evening pizza, and to enjoy it on the premises – as long as you buy your liquid sustenance at the bar.
What you get at the Shoe is spot-on service and a second-to-none knowledge of the products. What you’ll be free of is fuss and faff and twee decorative furbelows.
The edges need to be blunted a little, but that will come with time – after all, shoes need to be given a little while to feel perfectly comfortable, do they not? And the Old Shoe is well on its way to becoming a perfect fit.
The Old Shoe, Orchard Square, Sheffield. S1 2FB. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Drinks choice 5/5