Let’s taco ’bout piña: The story behind’s Sheffield’s favourite Mexican-inspired party spot
A few years ago, Joe Cribley embarked on the trip of a lifetime around Mexico with a concise to-do list: eat tacos and drink mezcal.
Vibrant bar and restaurant piña has brought a passion for real Mexican food and drink to Kelham Island. It all started with a journey that took Joe, the owner and founder, from Jalisco and Michoacán to Oaxaca and Mexico City, where he soon fell in love with the people, the culture and above all the cuisine. The trip was financed by a tequila company so although it was drinks-led initially, Joe stayed on for another week to learn about not only the country’s distilleries but its food, which he describes as “an exciting and eye-opening” experience.
By creating piña, Joe and his family have chosen a deliberate take on Mexican cuisine – focusing on tacos and tequila – to make it as accessible yet authentic as possible. The bar and restaurant offers proper tacos in an appropriate setting, encouraging customers to eat them as they should be eaten: with your hands! The traditional fish tacos are hugely popular; battered white fish served with pico de gallo, pickled cabbage and mayo crema de mayo in a corn tortilla, creating an explosion of vibrant, fresh flavours.
The small but carefully curated cocktail list accompanies the taco menu, designed to introduce tequila and mezcal to the people of Sheffield. Joe hopes to enlighten people who think they hate tequila, having only drunk poor quality versions: unlike most varieties sold in the UK, at piña it’s all 100% agave-based and of the highest quality. “It’s nice to know that we’ve become the place to get good tequila and mezcal in Sheffield, and people know what a good margarita tastes like now,” says Joe.
The freshly made food and drinks, warm colours against exposed brickwork and relaxed ambience welcome everyone in at piña. Fusing the charm of their setting, an old warehouse in Sheffield’s former industrial quarter, with the brightness of Mexican culture and cuisine has created a beautifully unique haven in the heart of the city.
As Kelham Island has changed over the years, so piña has adapted and evolved to find its niche. The bar and restaurant has become a much-loved culinary experience in Sheffield, thanks to its truly independent spirit. Having previously worked at The Great Gatsby and other hospitality hotspots around the city, Joe is proud to be part of a network of such businesses, all battling the pandemic amidst the fortifying strength of community spirit demonstrated during these tough times.
Read about more of Sheffield’s finest independent businesses in ‘The Little Book of Sheffield’, available to purchase online here.