A weekend in Kelham Island
Kelham Island is one of the city’s most exciting suburbs and with new things to see and do springing up with arresting regularity you can easily spend the whole weekend down there and still have things left to do. So here’s a handy guide to some of the stuff you could be getting up to…
To kick off the weekend in tasteh style, you’re going to want to find the perfect breakfast (for you early risers), or brunch spot (if you’ve treated yourself to a lie in) and there’s plenty of top venues in Kelham for some early morning fuel.
Chief amongst them is The Grind café, a stalwart of the area on Green Lane, they serve up a daily array of classic breakfast fodder. Their full English/Vegetarian/Vegan option, and breakfast sarnies are perfect if you’re after a hearty start to the day, but they’ve also got you covered for a slightly lighter bite, with granola and porridge options, as well as eggs pretty much any way you want them, toasted sourdough, pancakes of the day, and a nod to a Sheffield staple – Henderson’s Relish Rarebit. At the weekends, from 11am, they also serve Bloody Mary and bottomless Prosecco, if you’re starting on the booze early-doors.
Across the river, on Burton Road, you’ll find Gaard, a vegan café with vegetarian options. At this cosy, dog friendly venue, there’s plenty of space to eat in or take away any of their Maccies-inspired breakfast items, including ‘sausage’ breakfast muffins, hash brown bites and pancakes with ‘sausage’ patty and maple syrup, or grab a stuffed croissant and a bit of cake. On the drinks front, expect speciality roasted coffee from Foundation Coffee, loose leaf and bagged teas from Suki, and CBD Iced coffees.
Back over at Kelham Island Museum you’ve got Island Café. Run by independent operators, and ostensibly there to serve museum patrons, their coffee, breakfast and brunch menu is so good it’s worth making the effort even if you don’t fancy a mooch around the museum.
A Bite to Eat
Once that lots settled, thoughts will inevitably be turning to lunch and evening meal plans, and whether you’re after a casual bite for lunch or a full-on fine dining experience, Kelham Island has you covered in spades.
The obvious place to start on any food tour of Kelham Island is Cutlery Works, on Neepsend Lane. The city’s first food hall has an array of vendors, serving up everything from pizzas, tacos and fried chicken, to Indian, Chinese and Thai cuisine. They’ve even got bubble tea and Sheffield’s favourite bean-to-bar choclate makers Bullion in-house on dessert duties.
Across the water from Cutlery Works, in Osborne Works, sits Church – Temple of Fun. Owned by Bring me the Horizon frontman Oli Sykes, this all-vegan venue has all your plant-based junk food needs covered. Think big dirty burgers and loaded fries, as well as the recent addition of a Sunday Service, an all-vegan roast that includes, what are, for our money, the best vegan yorkies around.
If you’re looking for something slightly more refined, that still retains a relaxed vibe, look no further than Domo, in Little Kelham. This authentically Sardinian bistro has been wowing diners with its top-notch antipasto, pasta and pizza dishes since 2019, and is currently in the process of moving onto the next chapter for the business, opening Kelu, their take on a Sardinian sky lounge atop Krynkl, coming this spring.
A couple of recent additions to the Kelham food scene are Chop Shop and Roku. The former is the sister restaurant of Broomhill’s popular Butcher and Catch and very much focuses on the butcher element of its elder sibling. They use an Argentinian asado BBQ chargrill to enhance the flavours of the meat over natural flames – a meat lovers paradise!
Roku, on the other hand, is a new venture by experienced sushi chefs from Edo Sushi who are bringing the ‘next level’ of Japanese cuisine to Sheffield. Expect exciting sushi and Japanese-inspired dishes, set in the 92 Burton courtyard, which also houses Depot Bakery, Factory Floor, Donner Summer, and is of course the home of the ever-popular, monthly street food market, Peddler.
Last, but by no means least, on this round-up of restaurants is JÖRO. Based on the ground-floor of Krynkl, it’s difficult to heap more praise on this high flying restaurant. Operating out of a shipping container, it’s pretty astounding what they achieve and if you’re looking to add some truly innovative dishes to your weekend around the island, then JÖRO is the standout fine dining experience in Kelham, and probably anywhere in the city.
Cocktails and late-night fun
It’s not just about eating in Kelham Island though, and if you’ve not over faced yourself with the snap, the party is just getting started.
Mezcal mesters, Pina, have got the Tommy’s Margaritas ready to kick things off and if you’re missing this party bar out on a weekend in Kelham you’re simply doing it wrong. As well as the DJ’s and cocktails, they’ve even got banging tacos, if you’ve still got room.
Switching spirits from mezcal to rum, next up we’ve got another late-night hot spot and popular party bar, Parrot Club. From the founders of Sheffield favourite O’Hara’s Spiced Rum, expect premium rums, great cocktails and pumping old school Hip Hop. A vibe.
Sandwiched in between these two in Peddler’s courtyard is relative newcomer, Factory Floor. The innovative venue is the UK’s first bar to combine the best in drip infusion cocktails (derived from a traditional Japanese Coffee Filtration method), tank beer (brewed on-site by Neepsend Brew Co.) and bespoke audiophile sound (proper banging speakers that make sure the sound quality literally follows you about the gaff!). Also, a vibe.
But, if you’re looking for somewhere a little more chilled that still offers amazing cocktails, Nook The Bar has you covered. A unique micro bar in Kelham, Nook offers a tailored artisan cocktail menu with an ever-changing seasonal menu, incorporating obscure spirits and ingredients from all corners of the world. Find them above JÖRO , on the first floor of Krynkl.
Continuing the chilled-out vibe, Grafters Bar is essentially a big ol’ beer garden that during the upcoming summer months is going to be absolutely banging. Expect a small selection of beers, with just three cask and two keg lines, alongside a broad selection of cans and bottles, as well as premium spirits, and don’t worry, if it gets a bit nippy, they’ve got some pretty heavy duty outside heaters, making sure you stay nice and toasty.
And if it’s courtyards you’re after, Saw Grinders Union utilises its courtyard space in Globe Works expertly, recently launching a whole new event out of it – the extremely colourful Kelham Carnival. Keep your eyes peeled for more events in the coming months, or pop down anytime and enjoy one of their sensational cocktails, or a bit of snap.
Sample the beers
As well as its industrial heritage, Kelham Island also boasts a proud history of brewing and no weekend in Kelham would be complete without a tour of some of the best places to sample the local breweries on offer, as well as other beer-y treats from around the world.
Situated in a former warehouse on Neepsend Lane, Heist Brew Co are the latest Sheffield brewery to call Kelham Island home, and their epic brewery tap on Neepsend Lane boasts a bar chocka block with over 20 lines, shuffleboard and, randomly, 2p machines. The venue also houses the amazing lockdown success story and burger slingers, Slap and Pickle.
Just next door to Heist is the more traditional, but no less quirky boozer, The Gardeners Rest. Community owned and serving great beers on cask and keg, their tag line is ‘more than a pub, a community hub’, and for our money has one of the most enticing beer gardens overlooking the river that the area has to offer.
Continuing the tour of traditional pub, The Fat Cat and Kelham Island Tavern both continue to punch well above their weight as trendier venues spring up around them. Both pubs are multi-award winning, both pride themselves on excellent beers, and both have excellent beer gardens. Just a stone’s throw away from each other, near Kelham Island Museum, you can very easily stumble from one to the other.
Talking of the museum, here is probably a good time to mention that it also has its very own boozer, The Millowners Arms. Originally created as an exhibition for the museum, the pub was somewhere you could read and learn about the history of beer in Sheffield, but you couldn’t actually buy a pint (most of the time, anyway). That all changed back in 2019 when the museum’s hospitality offering was revamped, and the Millowners Arms was transformed into a fully functioning tavern, becoming a lovely little hidden gem.
Another hidden gem and recommended pit stop is Hymn To Ninkasi, a craft beer bottle shop and bar in the heart of Little Kelham. Taking its unusual name from a song of praise to Ninkasi, the Sumerian goddess of beer, and an ancient recipe for brewing, it boasts huge fridges packed with around 180 different lines of unique and exciting independent brews from both Sheffield and across the globe. A fitting tribute to Ninkasi, we think.
No one was more excited than us to see The Ship Inn set sail again. One of the oldest pubs in city, The Ship acts as a gateway to Kelham Island, but sadly closed in 2021 amidst the pandemic. New operators have restored it to its former glory, attempting to emulate the vibe of popular Camden boozer and Amy Winehouse haunt, The Hawley Arms and it once again offers somewhere to come as your first or last stop on a Kelham crawl, or a comfortable space to spend the day.
Another river-view beer garden of note is The Riverside, on Mowbray Street. Now part of the True North Brew Co. family, expect plenty of their signature beers as well as a proper good roast on a Sunday.
Fun stuff to do
As well as the stacked food and drink scene, you’re gonna need some stuff to do while you’re here, and thankfully, there’s plenty of events and stuff to do to while away your weekend in Kelham Island.
The most notable attraction is the eponymous Kelham Island Museum that sits on the Island itself (yes, we know some of the places mentioned are actually Neepsend and Shalesmooor!). The industrial museum houses exhibitions on science and Sheffield industry, including examples of reconstructed little mesters’ workshops and England’s largest surviving Bessemer converter. The primary school trip favourite is a fun-packed and interesting nod to Sheffield’s industrial past for any age group and is a must for anyone visiting the area for the weekend.
One of our other favourite haunts is Yellow Arch Studios. Famed for its rehearsal spaces and recording studios to Sheffield’s great and good, the former nuts and bolts factory on Neepsend Lane is now a venue in its own right, putting on some of the most interesting acts around. Check out the listings before your weekend away and you could bump into anything from a Planet Zogg night to a gig by a local acoustic troubadour. If not, the courtyard bar is a decent place to spend a coupla hours in the sun.
While you’ve got the listings out, check to see whether you’ve booked in for the first weekend of the month, as that’s when you’ll find the ridiculously popular Peddler Market. The street food market, housed in a warehouse on Burton Road, is often credited with the area’s recent resurgence as a destination and the appeal of the event over the years hasn’t waned. So much so, that they now host an entirely veggie and vegan version of the event, called Veg Out. On any Peddler weekend, expect a top-notch array of food vendors, artisan makers, DJs and live acts.
Where to stay
With all this to do, you’re going to want somewhere comfy to get your head down for the night, and we recommend newbie hotel the House of JÖRO. Coming from the owners of JÖRO restaurant, this boutique hotel of four beautifully designed rooms is located just a stone’s throw away from the restaurant and provides far flung visitors with a beautiful space to spend a foodie staycation in the heart of Kelham Island.