Regional report

Why own a pub in Sheffield?

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Heart of steel: steel yourself for a look at the property market in Sheffield
Heart of steel: steel yourself for a look at the property market in Sheffield

Related tags: Property

Once nicknamed Steel City in recognition of its rich industrial past, Sheffield remains a working city with a large student population and a range of other industries.

Sheffield in numbers

  • In the Sheffield local authority area there are 417 pubs, which provide employment for 8,517 people (Source: BBPA)
  • ­Sheffield’s population was 552,698, with 229,928 households
  • 19.2% of Sheffield’s population was of black or minority ethnic origin. The largest group was of Pakistani origin and made up 4% of the population
  • ­Just over 58% of Sheffield’s households owned their own home, either outright or with a mortgage. 25% rented from the council or other social landlords
  • ­There were almost 67,000 full-time students aged 16 or over
  • 227,800 people aged 16-74 were working, 30,000 of them self-employed
  • ­Only 9% of workers were employed in manufacturing; 34% worked in the public sector (Source: 2011 Census)
  • ­ Sheffield’s population is projected to increase by around 88,600 people over the 25-year period to 652,300 in 2039. (

Male strippers might not seem an appropriate topic to start off a location report on Sheffield. But for those of us who have seen the movie The Full Monty, ​it was not just about six unemployed steel workers who form a male strip group, it was also a story documenting some of the social and industrial challenges faced by the city and its workers.

It was in the Anglo-Saxon period when the current city of Sheffield is thought to have originated. Fast-forward to the 1600s and Sheffield had become the undisputed leader of the cutlery industry. It also became a world leader in steel production, gaining the nickname Steel City.

However, another few hundred years on a decline in steel production, partly due to cheaper imports, saw high unemployment levels and steel mill closures.  e downturn also coincided with the decline of the regional coal industry. While there remains some steel manufacturing in the city, it now boasts a range of other industries including banking and even food giant Mondelez International, which produces liquorice allsorts and Oreos.

The changing industrial landscape of the city was reflected in the latest 2011 Census which showed that only 9% of workers were employed in manufacturing, with 34% working in the public sector.

Along with its famous industrial past the city has also been the scene of some historical firsts. Sheffield Football Club is reputedly the oldest in the world, and for 40 years Sheffield has been the home of the World Snooker Championships.

On a less salubrious note, the Yorkshire Ripper was finally caught and arrested in the Broomhill area of the city in 1981. And like most major cities in the UK it has a strong student population, with two universities and good transport links.

On the market

The Plough Inn, Brackenfield, Matlock, Derbyshire
Plough (1)

Price: £39,995

Tenure: Free-of-tie leasehold

Rent: £21,250

Landlord: Private

Turnover: c£432,000 (inc VAT)

Wet:dry split: 80:20

Agent: Guy Simmonds, 01332 865112

This Grade-II listed 16th century inn is bursting with rustic charm. The trading areas have a welcoming atmosphere and include a dining area, lounge/bar area, lower dining and main restaurant areas and the Potting Shed for private dining or small meetings.

The Hillsborough Hotel, Hillsborough, Sheffield
Hillsborough Hotel

Price: £335,000

Tenure: Freehold

Turnover: £216,696

Wet:dry: accommodation split: 50:10:40

Agent: Davey Co 0333 200 8788

This large Victorian-style freehouse is located next to a proposed adventure theme park due to open in 2020. With dining area and six en-suite letting bedrooms, there is potential to build the business. It has a self-contained owner’s apartment and extensive cellarage.


The Carlton, Attercliffe, Sheffield

Price: £225,000

Tenure: Virtual freehold

Turnover: £77,167 (net of VAT)

Wet:dry split: 100:0

Agent: Fleurets 0113 234 0304

Thought to date from the mid-19th​ century and of brick construction, The Carlton is available on a 999-year lease. Accommodation is arranged over three levels. Private accommodation comprises a lounge, breakfast kitchen, double bedroom and bathroom/wc with separate shower.

But what about the pub sector in the city?

According to the British Beer & Pub Association there are 417 pubs in the Sheffield local authority area, which provide employment for 8,517 people. While many of the major operators are represented in the city there is a high number of community boozers in the surrounding areas representing its working class roots.

Jon Heald, director at Everard Cole, admits the city has faced some challenges.

“There is some buoyancy in the city centre, while in the outer regions there are lots of community boozers. It is very much a working class city,” he says.

The city centre remains a target for many of the major pub operators which are looking to expand into new territories.

“We are certainly finding that a lot of operators coming out of London say they are targeting Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds, with Sheffield on a second level down,” he admits.

The vast majority of pub sales in the region have been pubco disposals, which reflects the changing demographics in the area. Sadly, many of these have been sold for residential use, including student accommodation.

Despite this operators are remaining choosy about where they locate their sites in the city, with free-of-tie leases still in demand, Heald says.

Simon Hall, director at Fleurets, agrees that the city is still one of the target towns for multiple operators. But while the city is bigger than Leeds, it does not have the compact city centre of many other cities. He highlights the main trading areas including the West Street circuit, which includes a customer base of students and locals.

“­The thing that is the craze is a place called Molly Malone’s, an Irish bar,” he says.

­The Ecclesall Road area, he says, is recognised as the ‘Golden Mile’ with more premium shops and food outlets, while Kelham Island has developed into its own destination, with residential, a brewery and real ale pubs such as the Fat Cat. Hall predicts more development for the Sheffield market with churn, though improved offers and more experiential leisure offers.

­The area has also seen a boom in small regional breweries and boasts Kelham Island and True North Brewing Co.

True North started in 1992 when its managing director Kane Yeardley transformed an old disused warehouse into ­ e Forum. ­ e company now has venues throughout Sheffield, with plans to open more in the suburbs of Crookes, Hillsborough and Grenoside. It also has a brewery, gin distillery and coffee roastery.

Yeardley admits that trading in the city centre can be challenging for operators.

“It is tough in the centre, lots of new competition and more people staying local to the suburbs or going out in Kelham Island. People are also saving up for big nights out in other cities such as Leeds and Manchester,” he says.

Yeardley, who is from Sheffield, says he decided to focus on the suburbs after he noticed many of his friends had stopped going out as much after having children.

“I wanted to do something locally for them in the suburbs, so built up my brand of the neighbourhood local which has great food, beer, music and is open later that the traditional pub,” he says.

“We also find it’s easier to find quality managers and chefs who want the freedom to work in the suburbs, like they are running their own business.”

Of course, you can’t discuss Sheffield without taking into account its strong sports background.

Sheffield was the first site for pubco Punch’s sports brand Champs, which has just received a £700k investment.

Ian Morley, operations director for South Yorkshire at Punch, says that Sheffield has a “real sports feel to it” and has a “real sporting pedigree.” And it’s not just about the two football teams, other sports include an ice hockey team and a strong snooker following.

“Champs is on a good location on Ecclesall Road and there is a lot of student accommodation around as well as residential,” he says.

The venue benefits from a clientele with a wide age range as well as a good number of female customers.

Many of the Punch pubs in the area, including Champs, are community venues, which offer snooker tables for customers and have a strong rhythm of the week.

Done deals

The Dean Inn, West Dean, Chichester, West Sussex

Price: £95,000

Tenure: Leasehold

Rent: £28,500

Landlord: Wellington Pub Company

Turnover: £380,000

Wet:dry:accom split: 55:40:5

Agent: Davey Co, 0333 200 8788

This destination pub and restaurant is an AA four-star rated inn with six en-suite letting bedrooms. The lease is on free-of-tie lease terms. There is scope for the introduction of a weddings and events. The pub also has outside trading space, with a stunning location within the beautiful South Downs National Park.


The Mug House, Bewdley, Worcestershire
Guy Simmonds

Price: £180,000

Tenure: Leasehold

Rent: £64,000

Landlord: Star Pubs & Bars

Turnover: £1,213,309 (inc VAT)

Wet:dry: accom split: 60:30:10

Agent: Guy Simmonds, 01332 865112

This profitable riverside inn and restaurant with seven letting rooms sits alongside the River Severn in the popular town of Bewdley, renowned for events including regattas, harvest fairs and its annual Festival. The business has a lounge bar, guest lounge, restaurant, riverside terrace, patio courtyard, catering kitchen and one bedroom living accommodation.

To find out more about pubs for sale, lease and tenancy visit our property site​.

Related topics: Property law

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