Sheffield is as much a city of ale as it is city of steel. A river runs through its heart, and you would be forgiven for thinking that it was made with brown booze instead of water, given how many pubs and breweries line its banks.
Like the river winding its way through Shalesmoor and Kelham Island, so too can you meander along, stopping off at some of the city's best taverns and drinking holes for a sup. Or two. A great place to grab an adventurous ale and a hot pie, and right at the heart of Kelham Island, the Fat Cat is an essential stopping point on any ale trail in Sheffield.
The Fat Cat was the first Sheffield boozer to break free from the Big Breweries, when it was bought at auction and became a real ale free house in 1981. An open policy on its taps has seen the pub pull nearly 8000 different beers over the past thirty years. Priority goes to small independent breweries. And some of the beers come straight from the pub's own back yard, where Kelham Island Brewery staples like Pale Rider and Riders on the Storm are in regular fermentation, next to a beer garden that's the ideal spot for a summer ale. And in winter, you can always trust the fire to be lit, keeping the inside cosy.
The Fat Cat's reputation is so great, it even crossed the Atlantic: the pub got a mention in the New York Times' 52 Places to Go in 2014 – see no. 22. And ignore the part about carrying on to Leeds – there are plenty of other places around Kelham Island to satisfy anyone's appetite for real ale.
The Fat Cat is part of our real ale trail of cosy Kelham Island pubs.
- Words by
- Greg Povey