I am informed by a number of reliable sources (hoping not to be hoist by my own petard here!) that tonight will be the last night of trading at DaDa on Trippet Lane Sheffield. I understand the business and therefore assumedly the building (?) has been sold and therefore, of course, DaDa will be no more.
This is disappointing, but not entirely surprising news. I used to like DaDa especially because it was quiet. I was well aware that this was not good for the business, and so it proved. This, even against the backdrop of numerous managers and excellent members of staff, many of whom have gone onto manage other Thornbridge pubs. On that basis, the renowned quietness and inability to attract drinkers other than on Friday and Saturday nights is somewhat a puzzle. Or is it?
My first impressions of DAda or DaDa or similar weren't all that positive. Here is my blog post from November 2011 which sets out my concerns about its decor and lack of prominence for cask ales. Although I came to love Dada (no use fannying around with extra capital letters now eh?) I think some of my initial observations rang true when I last visited om January and had a half of pale ale before meeting Tash. Its not comfortable. Its noisy. It lacks atmosphere.
The strange thing is, Thornbridge has won national awards as a pub owning brewery. Like its brands or venues or not, its hardly unsuccessful in respect of running bars and boozers. The problem with Dada was, nobody really got what it was about. In fact, Dada never really got what it was about.
I understand the design was the brainchild or dream of the directors of Thornbridge. And it shows. Its not really the kind of place someone not in their middle age would want to go. It is pleasingly unconventional, but not enough to woo those seeking an unusual night out, whilst not being sufficiently traditional to win over many of the CAMRA crowd. It is and was a beer bar where people were for the most part, not there for the beer. The concept didn't work and it seems Thornbridge, possibly out of blind determination to stick with their vision of the bar and its themes, didn't want to change it.
On Thursday I was in the Bath Hotel drinking the rather amazing Jaipur X, a special keg 10% version of the excellent pale ale. I was with former Dada regulars Mike, Josh, Amy and Ben. As Mike summarised, the final straw was the two absurd huge frozen Heineken posts that were installed on the bar to absolutely no-ones rejoice. That, and long term staff like James, Emily, Steff and Jamie having left, started, or rather accelerated, what had been a slow decline. The music got louder. The gas ran out more often than it should. They stopped serving bar snacks. They bought near out of date keg beer to sell cheap. It was a venue that needed to do one thing to change which it couldn't. It needed to not be Dada.
Its important to point out that I have had some cracking nights in Dada. I have also drunk some amazing beers. I have met friends in there, and supped til closing time, I have reveled in the Halcyon, the Chiron, the Schlenkerla and the Melba and others. I have enjoyed its silence, its lack of customers, and its ska. Unfortunately, not enough other people did.
So long, ta-ra and it was good knowing you Dada.