Bookshops, vintage gems and burger bars in an independently-minded corner of the city centre.
Due to Sheffield's village-like nature, and its huge out-of-town shopping centre, the city centre can sometimes seem a little neglected – missing out on both the community ties of large residential areas and the big brands that rush to Meadowhall. However, the Devonshire Quarter uses these factors to its advantage. The characterful area, dotted with former cutlery works, unites visitors and locals with its showcase of a whole range of independent businesses. It comes as no surprise then that it was recently named a finalist in the great neighbourhood category of the National Urbanism Awards. Such an accolade is bittersweet in the face of the council’s approval of the demolition of a significant chunk of Devonshire Street. There’s still a bit of time before the bulldozers arrive, though – so let’s enjoy it while we can!
Referred to by Jarvis Cocker as "a global treasure", Rare and Racy has been in business since 1969, and will lose its home in the previously mentioned demolition. With reams of collectable books, records, CDs, comics and artwork packed tightly onto shelves it's reminiscent of a Dickensian junk shop and certainly fulfils its tagline: "We sell previously enjoyed artefacts that will delight your eyes and ears". (UPDATE: Rare and Racy is now sadly gone but very much not forgotten). If you’re a fan of pre-loved items there’s plenty of vintage clothing, broaches and retro paraphernalia to be found at Vulgar, Cow, Freshman's, A New Shop, and Mooch. Meanwhile the folk at Syd and Mallory’s have been designing and sewing clothes from their yellow-fronted boutique since 2006, dressing Sheffield in grunge- and punk-inspired fashion. On top of all that, there’s CollardManson for unique homeware and handbags, Plantology for succulents and flowers, Moonko for cards and gifts, the Forum's row of boutiques for tattoos, barber shops and skateboards, Party On for fancy dress, Green and Benz for jewellery, and more.
The spacious area of greenery at the heart of the Devonshire Quarter means there's always plenty to do, even if it is just relaxing with friends, playing frisbee or walking the dog. For the more adventurous, Devonshire Green’s skatepark is the perfect place to give moving on wheels a go. The green also often plays host to events like Tramlines festival, markets, and even Sheffield’s answer to Munich’s Oktoberfest. If all that's a bit much, relax with a cocktail in the Forum bar's large outdoor seating area, complete with deck chairs in summertime.
As the Devonshire Quarter is a hotspot for trendy, indie shops it's hardly surprising that it has become the go-to location for the hipster’s second home: the coffee shop. Tamper, arguably Sheffield’s best coffee institution, originated in the area, with Westfield Terrace's "tiny Tamper" dispensing caffeine-infused goodness in a relaxed environment with New Zealand-style pies and sandwiches. Ink and Water is a cute spot to pick up a snack and a cup of something hot. Meanwhile, on Division Street, Lucky Fox is the place for you if you've ever fancied consuming a burger, nachos, beer, cake or even fried chicken on waffles while being watched over by a stuffed fox. And tucked away just off Division Street is Steam Yard, a wonderful, cosy coffee shop, serving up grilled cheese, doughnuts and its own cold brew – perfect on a sunny day in the courtyard. Round off your afternoon with a sweet treat from Cake 'R' Us on Devonshire Street or your evening with a Korean feast at Gingseng. Take a slight detour out of the quarter for a Twisted Burger (and, if you time it right, a gig) at the Harley or a bite and a browse at brand new cafe-deli-bookshop-creative studio space Roco.
Night and day, the Devonshire Quarter is a hive of activity, thanks to its row of brilliantly individual bars. From Anchorage all the way down to Bungalows and Bears via the BrewDog bar, there's no shortage of beers, ales, cocktails, unique artwork, creative interior design and dancing opportunities. Both The Old House and The Great Gatsby have varied cocktail menus and space to kick your shoes off at the end of a busy week. By 10pm they're too loud for chatting, so forget the small talk and just enjoy the music and atmosphere. Or, at the weekend, book a table upstairs at the latter where Daisy's will wait on you with cocktails. Hidden away from everything else, the Bath Hotel is a snug Victorian pub, with kegs and casks largely supplied by the excellent Thornbridge Brewery. At the other end of the quarter Bungalows and Bears inhabits the old fire station, meaning there's more than enough room for gigs – many of which are free (keep an eye on our monthly music picks for tip-offs). And if you aren’t much of a night owl, many of the bars serve top food throughout the day, from burritos and the best cheese fries in town at Gatsby to a Sunday roast at the Old House.