Its been a long time since Bar Stewards evolved with an invite only, locked door personal party in its then nowhere near ready to open premises. I had been told by Rich Hough that I could join him but it sempt a bit rude and besides, I wasn't 100% sure where it was. Two weeks of guessing which of the recently reopened units followed before I spotted a sign outside. I ventured in on their second or third temporary license opening and had a choice of Blue Bee and two others on cask, served by gravity if I recall (?), or lager, but I liked the place, and soon it grew and improved.
Three visits in and I could remember which one was Charlie and which one was Al and I started to go more often. And then there was a wait for a full license before they opened in July 2017. Rich had a stint doing their quiz and I think they were sometimes joined by the brother of one of the owners (can't remember which!) behind the bar before another period of closure took place whilst they moved the bar from the left hand side to its present location, ordered some fridges and installed some keg lines. With the shackles of restrictive ranges off, the magic balloon of Bar Stewards sailed high into the sky like a soaring eagle. Or something.
Gradually, the hours were extended, Capn Space Maths started doing a quiz, the keg range matured and improved, and the fridge offerings increased in range exponentially. A typical night in the Stews now involved starting on a pint or two of good cask, then hurling myself into a DIPA on keg before finishing on a can or three. Many many nights were spent in there helping to reduce the backlog of suppable soup. Often it was only the pictures on my phone that told me how much I had drunk.....
In July they had their successful first birthday celebration where a fab range of ales including local brewery colabs was on offer, and recently Jay has joined from the Old Workshop, bringing with him a fab taste in music, a wealth of knowledge about beer, specifically beer that I like, a calm influence behind the bar and the ability to deliver his thoughts with a quiet honesty. The final piece of success lego in their castle has been the addition of bhajis and Wateralls pork pies delivered every Thursday. Now fully fledged, the feathers of the Stews have been recognised and rewarded by Sheffield CAMRA.
I was there with a number of friends and long time acquaintances on Tuesday night. There was a stellar line up of keg cask and can as always and a new staff member called Jonathon who used to work at the Picture House Social. Even former barkeep PJ, AKA Keith, came down to say hello.
Fine free food was available and I drank more than one pint of cask and some hoppy colder soup which tickled my tastebuds perfectly. It was an excellent night with the whole, albeit small, venue absolutely packed out from about 20.00. Well done to Al and Charlie and Jay and the rest of the expanding team at the Bar Stewards for providing a genuine alternative to the busier periods at Shakespeares when its admittedly better to go somewhere else - especially now that the range and quality of ales available matches up so well to the giant goddess og glugging glory across the road.