Sheffield station used to be a pretty grim place if you wanted a drink before (or after) your journey.
The best option was to get out of the place sharpish, but probably unknown to the vast majority of passengers there was a sleeping beauty in their midst just waiting to be awoken and restored.
The Sheffield Tap, opened in 1902, suffered decades of neglect and then vandalism. The restoration has been handled with care and sensitivity. The original tiles are buffed and shining, the mahogany bar is gleaming and packed with 10 real ales and a cask cider as well as a wide selection of quality lagers. Apart from the main bar to the front, there are three snugs to each side. They are keen supporters of the Thornbridge Brewery. No TV screens overpower the rooms and there’s no canned music. No cooked food either – because no kitchen, only baguettes or paninis. The feel is of a friendly, mix of folk, ramblers in one corner, someone with suitcases in another, a businessman with a pint and laptop in another, and someone with a crossword and a Biro over there.
In the 1940s, you wouldn’t have been surprised if Celia Johnson had come in with a smut in her eye. Today, she’d have come in with a spring in her step, made herself comfortable on the well-padded seating, and Trevor Howard would have enjoyed a couple of pints. If they’d been in The Tap, that doomed romance might have turned out differently.
The Sheffield Tap, Platform 1B, Sheffield Station, 0114 273 7558.