Brewery takes city centre bar

Trippets wine bar in Sheffield
Trippets wine bar in Sheffield

RAPIDLY-expanding Thornbridge Brewery has acquired one of Sheffield’s best-known bars – creating the company’s first city centre freehouse.

Trippets Wine Bar will be taken over by the Bakewell-based brewery on October 1 and will reopen a week later as Dada, featuring the full Thornbridge range and celebrating local arts and music.

“This is the opportunity to have a younger marketplace for our beers,” said chief operating officer Simon Webster. “The idea is not to turn it into a pub, but to showcase some of our range.”

The new bar’s tagline is: beer, music, community, arts, and its name is a nod to the Dada cultural movement that met at Zurich’s Cabaret Voltaire, from which the 1970s Sheffield band took its name.

Heaven 17 frontman Martyn Ware will be ‘curator’. “I’m looking forward to helping curate the look, sound and feel of the bar,” he said.

“It’s an innovative idea which will tap into the zeitgeist of that era with a hybrid of art, music and excitement – a new kind of experience and a first for Sheffield.”

The Trippet Lane bar was taken over in 2007 by wine merchant John Mitchell and restaurateur Jonnie Higginbottom, who relaunched it as Trippets Champagne & Wine Bar.

But the timing was wrong, said John: “We opened just after the smoking ban and the Sheffield floods – a champagne bar just didn’t feel right in that climate.”

The venue did well but the emphasis gradually changed and last year a partnership with Thornbridge put beer firmly on the menu.

When John, who’s 60 this year, decided to take a step back, Thornbridge was in prime position to take over. He will continue to supply the wines.

Simon said: “We’d been looking for a city centre venue and I always thought Trippets was a great site – I used to come here as a kid.

“We’ve opened a number of pubs over the last few years but this gives us a chance to do something a little more contemporary and different.”

Thornbridge runs the Greystones and the Hallamshire House in partnership with Enterprise Inns, it owns the Packhorse at Little Longstone, but lets it out to a tenant and also has a close partnership with pubs including the Sheffield Tap. This will be its first fully-owned freehouse.

Apart from the branding, little will change about the venue. The new owners hope that their vision will appeal to the city centre market.

“We’ll give it a slightly different direction but these days you need to make people want to come to town and go out,” said Simon.

“I think we’re a destination brand anyway – last week we had five guys turn up in a taxi from Newcastle. They drank 12 different beers, then got back in the taxi and went back to the station!”