Rob O’Shea is general manager of the award-winning Motorpoint Arena Sheffield, which is undergoing a multi-million pound refurbishment. He lives in Carter Knowle with his partner, Lisa, and children, Martha, seven and Milo, four.
I’m not going to toot the horn for the Motorpoint Arena here (even though it’s clearly the best large indoor venue in Yorkshire!). There are lots of interesting, smaller live music spaces in the city. Special mentions for the Greystones, which is really nice pub and just happens to have a very cool backroom venue, the Lantern Theatre, which is a tiny but perfectly formed Victorian jewel in Nether Edge, and Queens Social Club, which has touch of the Phoenix Nights about it (in a good way, of course).
This isn’t my ‘local’ in the sense that it’s the pub closest to my home, but it’s worth the extra five minutes’ walk. I went in there a few times before it was refurbished and it was OK. Now it’s a fantastic boozer that’s packed out most nights. It has a clear focus on getting the basics nailed, with a good range of beers and high quality, but unpretentious food. While everyone is bemoaning the demise of the Great British Pub, the guys from the Forum Group are showing there’s still a very strong market when it’s done properly.
Abbeydale Miniature Railway
This place in Ecclesall Woods, off a narrow track off Abbeydale Road South, is like heaven for the kids. It’s run by steam train enthusiasts, so the prices are cheap and the helpers are all friendly and enthusiastic. It’s pretty much perfect on a sunny Sunday with a picnic.
Endcliffe Park Café
The favourite thing I’m choosing is actually any nice park with a café attached. Sheffielders are spoilt for choice, and I wonder if they fully appreciate it. Endcliffe tops the poll because it’s fairly local to me, with a nice community feel, the staff are friendly and efficient (even when it’s rammed) and they usually have something decent for us vegetarian sorts.
If I’m having a bad day or I just need to get out of the office and clear my head, the canal towpath is just a few minutes from the Arena. Apart from the odd angler or cyclist, you rarely see anyone, so it’s perfect for stretching your legs and having a bit of instant Zen.
A five minutes drive from home is this little hub of global cuisine. You can have a mooch and take your pick from Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese, Cantonese or a range of others in between plus some decent pubs for a pre or post prandial. I’m happy to recommend Zeugma, Danisthas or Baan Thai to anyone who is in that neck of the woods.
I’m from Bolton, which is quite famous locally for its market, and as a kid I often used to be sent with a list to do the shopping, so this place takes me right back. I love the hustle and the noises and the smells. It’s like the world was before the big supermarkets took over.
All the random things you can’t get anywhere else (brown boot laces, ironing board cover, cat’s flea collar…) are here, as well as things you didn’t know you wanted until you found them. And then there’s the fruit and veg which won’t get any fresher or cheaper than it is here, not even at a farmers’ market.