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The Crow Inn: New Kelham boozer from the Rutland crew

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Photo from The Crow Inn

The bosses of cult classic The Rutland Arms have taken on a new project, transforming a down-at-heel hotel on the edge of Kelham Island into a craft beer boozer. The pub, which opens to the public today, is a labour of love for Kate and Chris. We spoke to them to find out more.

Tell us a bit about what you're going for.

The pub is going to be mainly focused on good beer, both local and from around the world with an emphasis on the most interesting things we can find. We've also got a fairly extensive range of gin, run and whisky - it is on Scotland Street, after all. Decor wise we've kept things fairly smart and simple and comfortable.

What beers are going to be on offer?

The cask beers we will have on all the time are two from Abbeydale Brewery: their Daily Bread bitter for our traditional option and Heathen Pale Ale, which is also gluten free. There are then three other cask lines which will rotate through beers mainly from local breweries, always including pale and hoppy beers and a stout or porter.

The pub's historic name is The Crown Inn but there are already a couple of pubs with that name in Sheffield

On the lager front, our session lager is Bavo, a Belgian brewed pilsner and then we have a Helles lager and a wheat beer from Hacker Pschorr in Munich. There are also eight ever-changing lines with craft beers from around the world, across a range of styles.

Where did the name come from?

The name is a bit of a roundabout story. The pub's historic name is The Crown Inn but there are already a couple of pubs with that name in Sheffield. We thought about a name that reflected the local area and its diverse history, but most of what we came up with either sounded like the name of a Wetherspoons or yielded some interesting results on Urban Dictionary.

The pub has indeed had quite a chequered past

In the end Kate and I came up with The Crow, as it ties in with our logo and sign which involves a crow with the letter 'n' from the old name in its beak, designed by the incredibly talented Ad from The Rutland. It also references an incident at The Rutland a year ago where a crow (named Gary) wandered into the pub and refused to leave for several hours!

I hear the pub has a lively history.

The pub has indeed had quite a chequered past. We think it was built in the late 1700s, when Scotland Street was quite a hub on the edge of the town centre (there were once 18 pubs along here), and home to a large immigrant population. Allegedly in the 1800s it was a Chartist meeting place in the run up to the uprising in 1840. In 1855 perhaps the most infamous incident in the pub's history took place, when the decidedly militant Sawgrinders' Union ordered the murder of John Linley, who had taken on too many apprentices, and he was shot while in the snug of the pub!

More recently, the pub is fondly remembered as R&B's, named after landlord and landlady Ruth and Barry. Since about 2008 the building has been operating just as the budget Sleep Hotel, with the ground floor pub area converted into rooms. The bar remained in place though, serving as the reception, so we've kept that.

What made you decide to keep part of the building as a hotel?

We've decided to continue running the top two floors as hotel rooms for a number of reasons. Firstly, they were already there, albeit in need of a good renovation, including making all seven rooms en suite. It seemed the easiest thing to do to keep them. Secondly, Sheffield doesn't really have many small independent hotels, especially close to the city centre, and we felt there was likely to be demand for one, especially above a (hopefully) decent pub!

Sam Gregory

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