Cubana Tapas Bar

Leopold Square

When he started a salsa music night in Sheffield in 1996, Cubana co-owner Adrian could never have envisaged where it would take him, not least that almost 20 years later he would be running the most popular tapas bar and restaurant in Sheffield.

This year Cubana celebrates its 15th year, no small feat for an independent Cuban restaurant established at the turn of the millennium, specialising in a style of food which wasn't the culinary mainstay it is now. This is in no small part thanks to the hard work and dedication of Chilean head chef, Fabian, who has been at the helm since day one.

For the first 14 years, Cubana was located on Trippet Lane, but last year the restaurant moved up the road to Leopold Square and hasn't looked back since. With a large and varied menu, tropical cocktails and plenty of space to host big groups (Christmas party organisers, take note), Cubana is a city centre favourite with a real sense of liveliness and character.

That first love of Latin music, inspired by Maracanã and Club Salsa nightclubs in Florence and London respectively, has never left Adrian, his business partner, Brad, or the long-standing team they have built up over the years. Cubana hosts daily live music, ranging from gifted soloists to full band performances. In the past they have had the pleasure of hosting the world-renowned Buena Vista Social Club (pictured), who have gone on to be customers whenever they are in town.

Cubana's daytime and evening Christmas menus are available now and bookings can be made via their website.

Festival of Debate 2016

In the run up to the General Election this year, we went out on a limb and organised our first festival, which ended up spanning two months and over 40 events, ranging from keynote political speakers like Owen Jones and George Monbiot to small-scale arts events, talks, discussions and workshops. The aim was to get people talking about the social and political topics of the day, discussing alternatives and plotting possible solutions. We estimate that the Festival of Debate brought in a total audience of 1,000 across all events and feedback from the public was really positive, so we're already planning the 2016 programme.

Next year, we want to do better - to engage more people and organisations, and widen the discussion. There will be two distinct event strands - one using economics as a framework and one focussing on politics, both with a view to encouraging active citizenship and engagement. These events will be spread across two seasons, Spring (Mar-May) and Autumn (Sept-Nov), with big keynote events bookending each season and smaller events taking place in between.

It's early days, so we are really keen to connect with passionate groups and individuals who want to get involved in the Festival of Debate 2016 on any level. Visit the site for more info, drop us a line and stay tuned for updates in early 2016.

Writing Sheffield

In collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University and Writing Yorkshire, Opus and Wordlife have put together a new digital project mapping Sheffield's connections with writing and literature, of which there are a great many. On visiting the site you will be presented with a map of the city, with location markers colour-coded by category, including venues, organisations, regular events, poetry performance videos, literary references and poems on buildings.
The site has been populated with the goodwill and hard work of volunteer Hallam students, working alongside Wordlife, and it was launched last month at the Wordlife 9th birthday event at Theatre Deli. If you want to know more about writing in Sheffield, take a look.

The Art House

8 Backfields, S1 4HJ

Following a grand transformation earlier this year, St Matthew’s House has been reborn as the Art House, a creative space for local artists and makers to create, socialise and learn in a relaxed, supportive environment.
In addition to high-quality tuition, The Art House offers flexible, purpose-built workshops, open to beginners and experienced artists alike, and serves delicious, locally-sourced produce in their cafe. From pottery to portraiture, their varied programme is designed to support personal wellbeing and the local community, which places them pretty high on our list of new favourite places.

Sir Robin of Locksley Gin

Portland Works is now home to Sir Robin of Locksley small-batch, artisan gin, and we couldn’t be happier to welcome our new neighbour, just in time for the festive season.
Forged in Yorkshire and blended with traditional botanicals, Locksley Gin is a unique alternative to your usual Christmas tipple. Notes of elderflower, dandelion and pink grapefruit combine to leave a refreshing, citrusy finish that yields a subtle hint of sweetness for balance. Stock up at Starmore Boss on Sharrow Vale before heading over to the Locksley website for some excellent cocktail recipes.

Archer Project Xmas Cards

Most of you will be aware of the good work that the Cathedral Archer Project does for the city, offering support and services to homeless people, which is particularly vital over these frosty winter months. To raise funds for the cause, we are helping them shout about their new Christmas card, which is on sale now. Designed by Ian Anderson of the Designers Republic, these are the kinds of cards that remind you why cards - actual, physical cards - will always have a place on the mantelpiece.
Packs of five cards are priced at £5, with all proceeds going to CAP. You can order them on the website or pick them up from selected traders in Sheffield, including Beeches of Walkley, Rare & Racy, Vintedge, Wickwire and Porter Brook Deli.

The Besotted Wretch

329 Abbeydale Road

The Besotted Wretch on Abbeydale Road has all the good stuff - books, art and hot beverages aplenty. They also offer vegan-friendly breakfast options, so there’s no excuse to miss the most important meal of the day if you’re passing.
A member of the Alliance of Radical Booksellers and Sheffield Antiques Quarter, TBW is an offbeat haven of curiosity, where you can find a good read for £2.50 and see exhibitions for free. Local artist Coloquix had some of his recent work on display throughout November and a piece by Mila K adorns their shop shutter. Pop in, say hello and give a good book a good home.  

9 Pin #3

11 December
Old Junior School, Sharrow

On The Edge Brewery is a local labour of love, home-producing small batches of real ale with interesting ingredients since 2012. This June, Tom and Lu won bronze in both the golden ale and stout categories at the Rotherham CAMRA Champion Beer of Yorkshire competition.
If your interest is piqued, the best place to sample their wares is at the next 9 Pin Beer Festival at the Old Junior School, just off Sharrow Lane. There will be ale, mulled wine and juice, plus music, pie and peas, and festival games. Keep an eye on their website and Facebook page for the latest developments.