It seems everything from working men’s clubs to dating websites to hairdressers are reclaiming the word "social" in order to add a sense of the anything-goes speakeasy to their operations. Picture House Social, however – the Abbeydale Road venture from the people behind Division Street's eternally popular The Great Gatsby – has more of a legitimate claim to the on-trend tag than most. With a cocktail bar, DJs, a street food kitchen, a ping pong room, and a cosy mini cinema, Picture House Social laid all the elements in place to quickly become a serious out-of-town destination.
Located in the ballroom and billiards room of the 1920s-built Abbeydale Picture House, the main bar area is considerably larger than most places in the city centre, with generous sofa areas and an unapologetic amount of space for dancing. The room is all purple, dark wood, chandeliers and plush upholstery, which playfully contrasts with the modern, stripped-back look of the dining and ping pong rooms. As well as a carefully selected craft beer selection, there’s a rotating cocktail menu (which is, thankfully, different from a rotating cocktail bar), redesigned every month. Current creations include a cherry and cinnamon-spiced rabbit punch, and a lime infused coconut daiquiri.
Separate from the bar is the kitchen and dining area. Canteen-style and wilfully rough around the edges, food is served with a ticketing system. Once they arrive, though, the pizzas, meatballs and other Italian dishes are simple, but freshly made, tasty and very reasonably priced. Beyond the diner is the room dedicated to ping pong – a sport that requires the ideal amount of genuine skill, drunken bravado and physical activity for a bar. And when you pass the ping pong tables you'll find yourself in the music room. They’ve kept some of the decor from when it was a snooker hall in the 1920s. Now, it hosts some of the best musical acts from across the world and is a regular stop for touring artists.
Keep an eye on the Picture House's Facebook for upcoming gigs, beer festivals, guest DJ sessions, and screenings in the mini-cinema.
As far as social spaces go, Picture House Social is proving that good food, good drinks and good fun can be found well beyond the hub of the S1 postcode area.
Picture House Social features in a couple of short films we made with Sheffield Hallam Uni, alongside a bunch of other fine Sheffield music establishments and foodie favourites – watch below.
- Words by
- Lucy Holt