My Pub: Blue Ball Inn, Worrall, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Blue sky thinking: the South Yorkshire village pub is a real hit with locals
Blue sky thinking: the South Yorkshire village pub is a real hit with locals

Related tags My Pub Pubco + head office Admiral taverns Blue Ball Inn Property

As a vital pub in a village less than five miles from the centre of Sheffield, the Blue Ball Inn has plenty going on.

Not only is it a lovely site, it acts a hub for the community and the regulars are rightly proud of it.

Here, licensee Emma Shepherd tells The Morning Advertiser​ more about it.

The pub

The Blue Ball is a traditional community wet-led rural pub in Worrall, a small village in Sheffield.

The pub is owned by community pub group Admiral Taverns and is made up of serval buildings having become a public house in 1825.

We will be celebrating the Blue Ball’s 200th anniversary next year, which we are really looking forward to.

Facts ’n’ stats

Name:​ Blue Ball Inn

Address:​ 320 Haggstones Rd, Worrall, Sheffield S35 0PD

Licensees:​ Emma and Carl Shepherd

Wet:dry split:​ 80:20

Year opened:​ 1825

It hosts an open-plan layout with a separate bar and wood fire stoves to create a warm and cosy atmosphere, as well as lovely outside space at both the front and back.

The publican

My husband Carl, and I, have run the pub for the past five years.

Originally, I was head of business development at a construction company but as soon as we saw the pub was available, we knew it was the right move for us.

We always said it was very important that any potential opportunity had to be local to us as both grew up in Worrall and we wanted to be very hands-on.

Carl and Emma Shepherd

I am also the co-chair of a national pub watch group in the area, which includes a network of around 20 pubs that support each other – I love the idea of connecting with other like-minded publicans because if we are all successful then it will generate more business for everyone.

The trade

We are a family-friendly pub and always strive to make everyone feel at home. We are particularity known for our community engagement, hosting a range of events from charity initiatives to wedding celebrations.

It’s lovely because we constantly receive feedback from customers who have never visited before about how welcome they felt – it’s one of the main reasons why Carl and I love being so hands-on and involved in the day-to-day operations.


While we are a wet-led pub, with a fantastic drinks offering, we also have an amazing chef, Zoe Buxton, who runs the kitchen, cooking delicious homemade meals. We are also very well known for our wood-fired pizzas, which go down a treat.

The team

Carl and I are very much the face of the pub, but we do have a small, brilliant team to support us. As I mentioned, we have a wonderful chef, Zoe Buxton who is in charge of the food offering and we have one full-time front-of-house member and four part-time staff to help out on the weekends.

We also currently have a young man with complex needs from the local college who is on work experience with us because he is extremely interested in the industry and we wanted to play a small part in providing him with a pathway into this exciting sector.

blue ball inn collage

The pub itself is owned by Admiral Taverns so they form part of a wider team and provide exceptional support. This includes our own dedicated business development manager, helping with anything from assisting with training requirements to capex investment.

The drink

We currently host a couple of hand-pulls for Timothy Taylor’s cask beers, which are very popular in the local community but we also have a great selection of draft lagers, ranging from your standard such as Carling, to premium lagers, including Peroni and Madri.

Guinness is also very popular – we are well known for our fantastic quality here.


In terms of wine, we a have a broad selection, while we also stock about 20 different gins and 15 rums.

Our offering is very much led by the community – if a member of the community is interested in a particular product, we will always do our best to source this.

The food

While we are very much a wet-led pub, we pride ourselves on a really good food offering prepared by our Zoe.

We have freshly prepared pizzas every Friday from our wood-fired oven and Sunday sarnies, which includes local roast beef and bread cakes, paired with homemade potatoes and gravy – a real favourite in the village.


Our standard menu consists of hearty pub classics that are all homemade, such as steak & ale pie, cottage pie and fish & chips.

We have also recently launched a mini-Mediterranean menu that consists of pasta bowls, pizza and salad bowls and has received great initial feedback.

The events​ 

We are community obsessed at the Blue Ball – we like to see ourselves as a venue at the heart of the community up for any sort of activity, from weddings and birthdays to local business events.

Every other Wednesday we host a musical memory day, focusing on people who may be lonely and isolated and suffer with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

We invite the local groups to attend the pub, using it as a safe space to come and talk to experts who can provide support.


We host weekly music, quiz and karaoke nights, raising money for important local causes.

Over the past two years, we’ve raised over £20,000 with the help of our amazing customers.

We offer a free space in our pub for local businesses to put on workshops, which can be anything from candle-making classes to glass fusion – everyone in Worrall always wants to support each other and it’s a privilege to be part of this community.

The future

As like other publicans, we are really having to think outside the box of new ways to encourage people to visit the pub. We are trying to put on more events, specifically on days when the pub is typically less busy.

As the summer approaches, we will be showing the Euros and using our outdoor space with more events from family fun days to barbecues.


We have some exciting plans to encourage customers to watch the football games at our pub, which provides a great opportunity to increase our trade.

We recently finished an exciting refurbishment at the pub alongside Admiral Taverns and are really pleased with the results – it feels like a brand-new pub again. 

What’s on the menu?


Small cottage pie: Zoe’s homemade cottage pie in a smaller version of the main - ideal for a smaller appetite. Served with garden peas & homemade gravy - £7.25

Mini fish and chips: Crispy beer battered cod goujons served with  homemade chips, garden or mushy peas & tartare sauce - £7.50

Loaded fries – vegan: Crispy fries loaded with melted vegan cheese, Jalapenos, roasted peppers & onions - £6.95


Homemade landlord’s steak and ale pie: Homemade pie filled with prime chunks of Wasteney's beef steak cooked in Timothy Taylor Landlord ale, encased in shortcrust pastry, served with a choice of homemade chips, fries or mash & garden or mushy peas - £12

Moorish mussels: Whole shell mussels, cooked in fresh cream, garlic & onion, served with a baguette wedge - £14.50

Roasted Mediterranean vegetable lasagne: Layered with mushrooms, courgette & aubergine in a rich tomato sauce, topped with béchamel & melted mature cheddar cheese, served with homemade chips & side salad - £12


Creamy vanilla ice cream (vegan available): Ice cream served with your choice of sticky sauce - £5

Sticky toffee pudding: Traditional hot sticky pudding, with toffee sauce, served with ice cream or custard - £6.50

Summer Mess: Mixed summer berries, served with crunchy meringue pieces mixed with fresh cream and ice cream - £6.50

Related topics Other operators

Related news

Show more