Sheffield – Fat Cat

Roger Protz, the great beer writer, wrote that the founder of this pub, Dave Wickett, told him:

“Dave told me a wonderful story of how he bought the Fat Cat, refurbished it and was ready to open but he didn’t have any beer. He phoned Wards, who were still brewing, and none other than the head brewer came round and asked to see the cellar.

“I’ll tell you what I’ll do,” he told Dave. “I’ll put a cellar tank in with pressure points on the bar and away you go.”

“I don’t want that,” Dave said. “I want casks and handpumps.”

“Nobody wants to drinks that anymore,” the man from Wards said and stormed off in a huff. In desperation Dave phoned Timothy Taylor in Keighley and asked if he could buy an 18-gallon cask of Landlord and was told Sheffield was outside the brewery’s delivery area.

So Dave drove to Keighley, put the cask in the boot of his car and took it back to the pub. Two days later he phoned Taylors who said they expected he’d been unable to sell the beer.

“No,” Dave told them. “It went in two days and I want two more casks.”

“In that case, we’ll deliver,”

Taylors said and with just three cask of ale Dave Wickett helped the brewery turn Landlord into a national brand.”

The pub opened in 1981, so this was one of the forerunners of the real ale movement in the city, a brave and innovative decision at the time. There was also an innovative change in 1986, when there was a non-smoking room introduced into the pub, which was the first one in Sheffield.

The Chasing Casks Irish Stout from Kelham Island Brewery, which I recall was well kept, although unfortunately I remember nothing more, other than I marked it as 4 out of 5 on Untappd…. We followed in the problem group from the previous pub into this location, but fortunately they found another place to sit in the pub whereas we found a suitable area elsewhere.

The high tide mark on the side of the pub. There were some floods the week after we visited, although I’m not sure if this area suffered any damage.

The pub was busy, but the staffing was friendly and engaging, with the barman being conversational and knowledgeable about the beer options. All very comfortable and the building itself is quite intriguing, and Nathan managed to walk us round about three rooms before he found the bar. But, I don’t like to comment on such things….

My favourite TripAdvisor review…

“CRAP larger, unfriendly bar staff with no personality made us feel like we was an inconvenience”

This is a win-win when I see a review like this, because I can see it’s a pub that obviously doesn’t sell Stella and lager is mis-spelt far too much….

I liked this pub, although I mildly regret that it was so busy I didn’t get more chance to look at the building itself. CAMRA have a detailed history of the pub and the interior, so perhaps I’ll get to go back in the future to have a better look at this.