Hidden Gems of Sheffield
The Audacious Art Experiment
What: This fittingly named record label seeks to liberate the arts from corporate clutches, releasing choice local music from their modest premises that also offers a space for gigs, a ‘music lab’ and an art exhibition. In terms of door policy, there’s also a widely welcomed “no dickheads” rule. No arguments there.
Why: Creatives and ‘people’ people should absolutely give this social artistic hub a visit. To those passionate about local music and artistic integrity: what are you waiting for?! You’ll find plenty of nice folk and inspiration in spades.
Where: TAAE is located just across from Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane, roughly a half an hour walk from the UoS campus and slightly quicker from the city centre. As far as calling ahead goes, music lovers are encouraged to “just come round” by the label’s Facebook page.
What: Foodhall represents a new wave of community-focused initiatives that exist to support and give back. Founded by University of Sheffield students, the city centre venue aims to “tackle social isolation and encourage integration across a diverse range of community groups”. In other words, it’s a place where people come together and customers give what they can (‘pay-as-you-feel’).
Why: It’s fair to say that supporting Foodhall is directly supporting the local community. The venue has so many different purposes that you might find yourself attending for many different reasons across the year. From Festival of the Mind and Tramlines Fringe to pottery crafting workshops, communal dinner parties to the monthly Culture Quarter Market, there is a staggering number of reasons to head down or get involved. Speaking of which, they also encourage all kinds of volunteering and donations that extend beyond just money, including giving ingredients and sharing your skills by hosting a workshop. Listing every function of and way to help the project in this space is impossible, so please give their website a thorough read at foodhallproject.org.
Where: You can find it just behind The Moor in the city centre, and a short walk from Plug nightclub. Standard opening times are limited to Thursdays and Fridays from 10am till 3pm, although special events occasionally occur in slots outside of these times on Wednesday and Friday evenings. For a full list of upcoming events, visit facebook.com/foodhallproject.
What: An independent record label and recording studio, this former wig shop functions as a venue for low-key gigs and clubnights, usually run by the Clam themselves. Artists from far and wide come to the city to play gigs here, with a specific emphasis on promoting innovative DIY music.
Why: With proceeds from events often going to charity, a stripped-back BYOB vibe and a strict ‘don’t be a dick’ rule, you’ll find it hard to not have a good time here. There’s a cool little scene bubbling up in the Casltegate area, you could no worse than nipping down for a gig with a few tinnies.
Where: With the likes of Bal Fashions and Plot 22 on the same stretch of road, Delicious Clam sits in the heart of the creative hub of Exchange Street. It’s just a short walk from the train station so if you’re knocking about town without a plan, it’s never more than a brisk 10-minute walk away.
Bear Tree Records
What: One of Sheffield’s favourite record stores, Bear Tree recently moved away from its home in Orchard Square to a much larger unit in the Forum on Devonshire Street. Owner Joe Blanchard has worked in record shops for over a decade, with stints at Selectadisc in Nottingham, Jacks Records (formerly Division St) and Record Collector in Broomhill. Safe to say, he knows his stuff.
Why: The more spacious surroundings of the Forum have allowed Bear Tree to stock even more rare records. Browse your way through their carefully selected range of popular and underground artists, covering everything from indie to punk, psych, rock, techno, soul, folk, experimental, jazz, metal and even the odd soundtrack.
Where: Tucked away at the back of a Devonshire Street boozer, you’ll find the Forum Shops and Boutiques – a hub of independent businesses. As well as Bear Tree Records, you’ll find the likes of Follow Your Dreams Tattoo, Honky Tonk’s Barber Shop, Owl and The Pussycat Piercing, Phone-Geeks, The Savage Sister, Slugger Skate Store and Vulgar Vintage.
The Red Deer
What: The Red Deer is one of the cosiest boozers in the city centre. There’s a decent little beer garden around back for summer sessions and during the winter they’ll get the fire going, but all-year-round you can expect the same standard of quality ales and homely grub. There’s a fairly large food menu on offer too, ranging from tapas, burgers, sandwiches and a “main menu” which features some classic pub snap.
Why: Whether it be midweek or a busy Friday night, you’ll get the same warm hospitality here. It caters to a wide range of tastes, hosts live music and the pub quiz is always good value.
Where: Head down West Street until you hit the Wick at Both Ends and turn right down Mappin Street, away from all the hustle and bustle of the city centre.