on Tuesday I sat in a quiet Three Tuns awaiting the chance to visit the Red House, which was reopening, on Solly Street. I was surprised that I hadn't heard anything about its reopening apart from a note on the door, and a mention in the Inn Brief section of Sheffield CAMRA's Beer Matters. So I put a note on Facebook asking for an update. In the end, Mr Cullen confirmed the furniture had only just arrived and they would now reopen tomorrow. So last night, once again sat in the Three Tuns supping Blue Bee Attack of the Geek, now far busier, I joined Matty and Tash to visit the Red House.
When I got in the couple running the pub were sat in the room on the left with Mr Cullen. He had been there about 20 minutes we found out later, and this would have been about 20.45, so depending on when they unlocked the doors there was only 1 customer in after an hour or two, or more, of opening.
The pub is leased from Punch Taverns and the couple are trying to get onto the SIBA list instead of Punch finest cask. This would give them acces to a wider range of real ales. The three real ales on were Castle Rock Harvest Pale, York Guzzler and Abbeydale Moonshine. Matty and Tash had a pint of that and I a pint of the Castle Rock. The beer was clear and tasted OK apart from a slight aftertaste - a bit like the line at the Closed Shop where they had the dark beers prior to refurbishment. After this, we moved onto pints of Moonshine for all three of us, which was in decent form.
The keg lines are mainly continental lager including Budvar and I understand there are some decent bottled beers available as well. Food will be served sooner or later, as will coffee, however neither are as yet available.
There is a young Police dog puppy called Parker there - he is being housed by Craig and Marie who are running the pub. Its good to see a dog friendly boozer in what is more or less the city centre, and for soft spots like me Matty and Tash the dog was a hit.
The decor is quite modern, which is a shame. Every time in the last 10 years I went in the pub it was dark - so I have no idea if when it was closed in 2005 or 2006 the original wood paneling was robbed or ripped out, or had been by previous landlords. I first visited in 1994 and supped Wards bitter and ate some dinner. Then, It was a very well presented traditional back street boozer. I understand the previous incarnation as a venue is not what the pub intends to be, however, what I am not sure of is what the pub is intending to be.....
More to the point, what is the pub's targeat market? Its notoriously difficult to find Solly Street from up near Brook Hill roundabout, easier if you come off Tenter Street, but its surrounded by flats housing mostly overseas students. The Ship on Shalesmoor is in the same situation, although easier to find or spot, and the landlord there once told me that the pub was busy with regulars from all over the city, as there were no locals to visit the pub. I can't see the Red House attracting overses students, so if musicians and lovers of live music aren't to be tempted back, who will be?
I ask this question only because I am chuffed that the pub hasn't closed down, and that they continue to sell real ale, and that there is still a lovely balcony to sit on at the back along with a pleasant room next to the loos to relax in, but I worry that it will struggle to attract sufficient trade.
You may think this is a bit of a doom and gloom review for what is a recently reopened pub - less than 24 hours - but its reopening was not announced anywhere other than in Beer Matters and on the door, and its postponement was not mentioned anywhere apart from on my Facebook page. On that site, as well, the Red House page is still the one which was maintained by the previous tenants. I think they need to promote the pub more!
After Parker had been consigned to the back, two gents came in a stood chatting at the bar and we left about 23.00 and walked down to Shakespeares. I like the fact that its a quiet place to have a pint of real ale and a chat. I just don't know if there are sufficient numbers of drinkers in Sheffield who know, or want, the same. I do, however, wish Craig and Marie all the very best.