The Rude Shipyard

London Road

89 Abbeydale Road, S7 1FE
0114 258 9653

Open every day except Wednesday 10am-4pm.

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The Rude Shipyard is a homely and unassuming little place, the sort where the hours pass by that little bit slower. When my friends and I first discovered the cafe, not long after it opened, we soon whiled away whole days there – reading magazines, eating buttered bagels and pretending we knew how to play chess – as if we were in one of our parents' living rooms.

It's been so heartening to see the Rude Shipyard grow into one of the city's best-loved bookshops and cafes, while not losing any of that cosiness that first drew us to it as under-nourished students missing the comforts of home. Ah, already I'm feeling nostalgia for past, carefree days spent in a place that opened just five years ago.

Unsurprisingly for an establishment that takes its name from a work of literature (the novel Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell features the line "In the rude shipyard beneath my window"), this cafe offers offers an idyllic retreat to anyone looking to spend a quiet afternoon in the company of a good book.

The surfaces that aren’t lined with homemade cakes and blends of loose leaf tea are stacked, floor-to-ceiling, with books. Second-hand classics line up alongside new releases. Philosophy and art books are tucked away upstairs. And local writers get a decent look-in, with a section dedicated to poetry pamphlets and zines made in Sheffield. 

For the proper bookworms out there, the Rude Shipyard hosts a book group that meets on the first Monday of each month. And every now and then, in the evening, you'll find some of Sheffield's brightest poets and best acoustic musicians staging their works in the corner of the cafe.

On the ever-changing menu, meanwhile, is always a delicious selection of breakfasts and lunches: mainly vegetarian, plenty vegan, some meaty. The Rude Shipyard kitchen also offers up homemade three-course meals every now and then at its intimate supper evenings.

As you lean into the settee cushions, mug in hand and book on lap, it shouldn't take long for you to adopt the Rude Shipyard as your living room away from home.

One final note: no trip to the Rude Shipyard is complete without a slice of the Guinness cake.

Written by Kathryn Hall; June 12, 2014
Photography by Shaun Bloodworth.