The NME guide to Sheffield

As Arctic Monkeys head back to their hometown for this week's MASSIVE GIGS, here's our guide to the city with a jam-packed musical history.

It’s the home of Henderson’s Relish, The Full Monty and some of the greatest musicians of all time. What other reason do you need to head over the hills and soak up the South Yorkshire paradise that is Sheffield? From arguably the best burritos in the UK to the dirty dancefloors of the infamous Leadmill, there’s something for everyone.

Just in case you need further justification as to why Sheffield is the place to be, read on below.

Go for a drink at…

The Great Gatsby
Located on the buzzing Division Street, The Great Gatsby is home to dozens of liquors and two cocktails for less than a tenner! Don’t come in here and think you can relax and tuck into your favourite F. Scott Fitzgerald book, mind; the bar is as lively as the roaring twenties. If you want to escape the party, head upstairs to the more tranquil Daisy’s bar and soak up the luxurious surroundings.

The Wick at Both Ends
If bizarre cocktails are your thing, then hit up The Wick at Both Ends on West Street. From Turkish Delight to Rhubarb & Custard concoctions, it’s certainly a joint to visit if you enjoy something a bit different. Mind you, there are plenty of wines and craft beers from across the world if nursing an absinthe induced headache tomorrow morning isn’t your thing.

Sheffield Tap
If you’re coming to Sheffield via train then you’re seconds away from Sheffield Tap – lucky you! The train station’s pub is way way better than any of those chains that make you pay £5 for a pint of Fosters, too. They pour beers from across the world from Thornbridge Brewery classics to Fruli Strawberry beer, all of which you can enjoy sipping in the historic surroundings of the Edwardian building.

Kelham Island Tavern
Located on the industrial isle of Kelham Island is the aptly named Kelham Island Tavern, a big hit for the locals and those who want a proper pint in a traditional boozer. They’ve got loads of real ales and welcome rotating guest ales, meaning there’s a beer for everyone. Make sure to sit in their award winning beer garden to get the most out of your trip to Sheffield’s C.A.M.R.A pub of the year.

Rutland Arms
Another must for beer lovers, Rutland Arms is also situated close to Sheffield train station; in Sheff you barely need to step off the platform to start your pub crawl. Here they’ve got loads of real ales, craft beers, lager and gin and none of them are going to break the bank. The chip butties are next level, too.

The Grapes
A distinctive pub which smells exactly like every other sticky-floored local you grew up with, The Grapes is also one of Sheffield’s most important pubs. It’s an iconic venue in music history. Take a sip on a beer in the small Irish pub and take a look around the place. This was the venue that welcomed Arctic Monkeys for their debut gig in 2003. Now you want to go there don’t you?

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Empty your wallets in…

Record Collector
In the heart of the student area is Record Collector, a small independent record shop. Stocked with a huge and varied selection, most of the vinyl up for grabs here won’t make your wallet squeal in agony. It’s also the best place to visit if you’re after that rare gem you can’t get anywhere else.

Devonshire Quarter
Devonshire Quarter is a retro-head’s heaven; the indie folk of Sheffield spend hours roaming the racks. Forum, a small arcade, is full of hidden treasure and boutique shops including Bear Tree Records are tucked away there too. A few minutes away from Forum is MoonKo, an highly instagrammable store that celebrates emerging artists and designers.

The Porter Book Shop
From vintage comics to classic literature, The Porter Book Shop in Sharrow Vale is an Aladdin’s cave for anybody who enjoys spending their days searching through piles of books. Buying and selling second hand books, this is the place to head for worn out and scribbled on novels with a few tales to tell before they’re even opened.

Get a pre-gig snack at…

Street Food Chef
Offering some of the best Mexican street food around, this local chain is Sheffield’s pride and joy. They’re dotted about the city but the main branch is located on Arundel Street, a short walk from the city centre. Bite into a burrito bursting with flavour, or else a taco or quesadilla. Everything can be adjusted to suit your tastes, too. If you’re brave enough, try Street Food Chef’s burrito challenge – which essentially involves chowing down a burrito 3.5 times the weight of the average serving. Don’t come complaining to us if you end with a Polaroid picture of yourself up on the wall of shame, though.

The Nottingham House
Sheffield’s best pies can be found at The Nottingham House (or as locals call it ‘Notty House’). If you find yourself wandering around the city first thing, take a walk past get a whiff of that glorious fragrance; all the pies here are homemade. Notty House have a big range of fillings but nothing beats a traditional steak and ale.

Twisted Burger Company
Hit this top burger spot up at The Harley on Glossop Road or Fulwood Road for some weird but wonderful creations. Don’t come to Twisted Burger Company expecting a basic cheese n’ meat combo, mind; think more along the lines of a burrito burger or even a ‘ghost spiced’ burger that’s titled the ‘killah’. Vegans, veggies and meat eaters are all welcome and if burgers aren’t your thing, you can always grab some of their loaded fries.

Broomhill Friery
Situated on Whitham Road, the luminous image of Sean Bean on Broomhill Friery’s sign has been attracting chippy lovers for years. Run by Sean Bean’s nephew, this local favourite is unlike your typical fish and chip joint. Make sure you grab a Beany’s Burger. Ned Stark would be proud.

Make No Bones
Hidden away on Kelham Island, this is a pinnacle restaurant in Sheffield’s vegan food scene. Surrounded by smashed up jewels, phones and creepy ornaments, Make No Bones is the place to head to if you’re after some delicious meat and dairy free food that’s more than just a Linda McCartney sausage and a hammy bread roll. The doner kebab is a must.

Craft and Dough
Also situated on Kelham Island is the best pizza place in Sheffield. Craft and Dough have a huge range of pizzas; a cut above the usual takeaway fare you gobble up in your pants on a hangover. Weirdly, it’s also a great place to head to for brunch.

And then dance the rest of your day (and night) away here…

The Leadmill
Hundreds of students are lured to Sheffield thanks to this place; the venue that welcomed most of your favourite musicians way before they hit the big time. Grab your dancing shoes and head to the dirty dancefloors of The Leadmill (across the road from Sheffield station) and glide along to the likes of The Smiths, Stone Roses and of course Arctic Monkeys. If you ask us, Club Tropicana on Thursday is the best night, though the party runs all week.

The Harley
Sheffield isn’t all about indie music and sweaty gigs; The Harley is home to all things house, bass, techno and garage. On Glossop Road, this is the main alternative to the the sounds of indie gone by.

Foundry
Don’t be put off by the fact it’s the University of Sheffield’s student union club – this is apparently the best in the UK. Foundry invites everybody to have a dance, too, regardless of education status. The likes of Paul McCartney, Blondie and Coldplay have taken to their hallowed stage but let’s not forget the fact that Foundry is home to the infamous Tuesday Club, the weekly club night that celebrates all things electronic.

West Street Live
It might be a local haunt for students who want to down coco pop flavoured cocktails or way too many shots. It might also be a generic club that plays ‘Mr Brightside’ every night. However, it’s also West Street Live and Sheffield locals love it. Plus – the 4am closing time means it’s the best place to end your night out.

Plug
For fans of intimate affairs (oooer!) Plug is the go-to venue. A tribute band heaven on earth, Plug gathers dozens of acts with equally ridiculous names; ranging from A Band Called Malice to Guns 2 Roses. If cheesy homages aren’t your thing, Plug also welcomes rising musicians of the non-tribute variety into their small music venue.

Cafe Totem
New on Sheffield’s independent venue scene is Cafe Totem. Despite being a mere year old, it is quickly becoming one of the best venues in the city. Like The Velvet Underground, Bowie and Tame Impala? All Tomorrow’s Parties is your best bet – it’s one of the major club nights at Cafe Totem.