Sunday, 16 October 2011

Wee Beefy's beer bites - for every good pub news story there's a bad one....

The three cranes soar high whilst Pubco dogs savage the Partridge.....

First, the good news - Three Cranes official reopening night

Well after a week or so practising the Three Cranes Queen Street Sheffield finally officially reopened on Friday 14th October. (see if you have access to Facebook) Having assumed that this would be well attended I made the effort and got there about 17.30 to secure seats, as a few people were hoping to join me for drinks and to listen to the evenings entertainment.

Clearly everyone else had the same idea and we initially found only a small inconveniently placed table, for me Chala, Maureen and Rox, but luckily Middlemarch and Jones (sounds like a solicitors!?...) had secured seating in the right hand side and we moved into the space when they left. So now to relax and imbibe.

As promised there were 6 real ales available - Stones Bitter, Sharps Doom Bar, Abbeydale Moonshine, Blue Bee Bee's Knees Bitter and Nectar Pale Ale and Camerons Strongarm, along with a real cider and some decent bottled continental beers. Alas the Birra Moretti draught did not make the starting line and it was only through the much appreciated kindness of the staff that we secured snacks, but that aside everything was in working order.

Entertainment came courtesy of Jack of Harps around 8pm, but to be fair we didn't hear a lot from our far corner, and besides we had a lot of catching up to do, so all worked out well. With the Nectar on imperious form I had a good 6 pints (you know, just to make sure it was OK) as the evening rolled merrily by. Overall this promises to be an exciting new addition and crucially, the pub is only 5 minutes walk from work so I hope to be spending a lot more time in there now its open again. The only downside? How to fit it in my expanding roster of favourite pubs......

Harrisons beer

Harrisons 1854 have lost control of their minds and added a third beer (although this may be a temporary addition in place of Moonshine, which means its still two - watch this space, or better still, go and see for yourself ). Sheffield Brewing Co Blanco Blonde was the new arrival on Thursday night when I popped in, hopefully this beer can be as popular as the Abbeydale Deception, which, I concede, is always my first choice beer in the 1854...

The Wick at Both Ends

Two recent visits have seen Thornbridge Sequoia on handpump, sometimes with a friend down the bar for company, in addition to the decent range of continental draught and bottled offerings. A mercifully good music selection on Friday meant an enjoyable visit, although I can confirm officially that I shouldn't have been headbanging, at my age.

Fat Cat special ale

I am reliably informed that the Kelham Island Brewery have brewed a special ale to celebrate the recent contesting of the Anglo Galician Cup. The ale was aparrently on the bar at the Fat Cat on Saturday, along with a plaque presented by the Galicians. I report all of this story in the style of repeating rumours because, having accidentally drank at least 9 pints and had nowt to eat on Friday night, the very last thing I could stomach on Saturday was a trip to the pub. Thanks to my friend Maureen for his nod ahead of the event, hopefully he tried said ale and took a photo....

And now the bad news PUB UNDER THREAT

Since the Flynn's decamped to the Grapes, where I was on Thursday enjoying a pint of Absolution in the snug, things have gone rapidly downhill in the Dog and Partridge, Trippet Lane. New licensees took over and created an initial interest with bands and other events and even had the rare treat of serving a guest ale before the pubco got wind and pissed in that souffle. Their tenure soon came to an end and the pubco, always mindful no doubt of how many thousands it had to take each week to consider not selling it for redevelopment or turn it into offices, installed a manager to oversee the day to day running until a solution could be found, a term nicely used to avoid saying closure.

On Thursday night, even though the nearby Trippets bar was closed for a refurb, and despite the recent influx of students, there was just me in the Dog at about 20.30. And I only stayed for a half - it was only Tetleys, and only average Tetley at that.

The Dog looks like it has somehow lurched from profitable venerable Sheffield institution to forgotten failure in less than a year. Depending on who you listen to (and how well, i.e not dreadfully so, I recall my chat with the manager ), it would seem the pub company have absolutely no interest in continuing to keep the pub open and are set on closing it in the next few months.

What, and I'm going to swear here, a fucking travesty. Honestly. Which planet do pubco's live on? What can't they see in terms of potential for this fine original Gilmours fronted, large multi-roomed Victorian classic boozer one wonders?

The Flynn's ran it very successfully and to great acclaim for decades, but the greedy pubco decided that the only way to get what they wanted was to punish them for their success and hike the rent up (I heard doubled - yet to be confirmed). Naturally, the Flynn's didn't need to lose all their profit in one fell swoop having worked hard to build up a fantastic business, so, given that they owned the Grapes, rightly dismissed the punitive and derisory reward from their megalomaniac building owners and moved out.

Mindful of the sudden earth shattering change this would entail, surely the pubco would have taken a step back, offered a reduced rent and given any new tenants longer than usual to start rebuilding trade. As I said myself at the time, the transition was breathtaking, even though, in essence, only the decor had gone from the physical building, the pub seemed completely different and devoid of its soul and character. But of course it did - its incumbents of many decades had moved up the road and in effect created the Dog and Partridge all over again in the Grapes. So it needed a massive input and stoic belief to return the pub to anything like its former glory.

Cue shortsightedness in the extreme form the pernicious blight of the British pub the pubco. It would appear that they expected the pub to turn its fortunes around despite all of the above in a matter of months. When that didn't work out, they simply placed a temporary manager in charge, likely with no remit and am sure no ability to get something interesting in for punters to drink, and then sat back and waited for the inevitable stagnation so that they could close down a historic city centre pub without having made the slightest effort to allow it to come back to life.

If whichever faceless foreign bank owned accountant breeding pool of a pubco owns the Dog and Partridge aren't interested in making it work, it should be sold, at a realistic price. Or, failing that, a plan should be put in place to temporarily close the pub whilst a proven, experienced tenant with a realistic remit is found to be put in charge and start the slow process of bringing the business back to life.

And just how realistic is that prospect? Well just look at pubco's track record around the UK and see what you think they will decide. If its not to be apartments it will be offices. The lazy business template for disinterested, immoral and unsuitable landlords of period properties all over the country. How terrifically sad, yet despairingly prominent, this story is. A pathetic waste of a pub to please shareholders. Shame on them.

So, that wraps up a good cop bad cop story of Sheffield pubs for now. Drink well, stay active and sign or better still start, a petition to save the Dog.

Wee Beefy.

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