Something’s brewing as station bar is extended

Jamie Hawksworth in the former first class dining room at the Sheffield Tap at the train station which is being converted into a micro brewery
Jamie Hawksworth in the former first class dining room at the Sheffield Tap at the train station which is being converted into a micro brewery

THREE years to the month after arriving at platform 1B, one of Sheffield’s best known real ale venues is about to expand.

Final touches are being put to the restoration of the former first class dining room at Sheffield railway station so that the Sheffield Tap can open its own small brewery.

The £270,000 development, financed largely on the back of the success of the neighbouring bar, which was converted from the old station waiting rooms, will also be used as a function room and as an extra seating area.

“It’s a beautiful building and it is looking amazing,” said Tap co-partner Jamie Hawksworth. “The ceiling has been restored, the tiles steam-cleaned and the floor polished, and we have got three cut- glass chandeliers. “It was the first-class dining room. It’s a lot grander than the rest of the bar wwand the cost reflects that.”

Jamie and Jon Holdsworth spotted the rundown grade II-listed building while waiting for a train and embarked on what turned out to be a tortuous project to secure permission, raise the money and restore the ornate ceiling, original tiles and mahogany bar in the former waiting rooms

The opening of the Sheffield Tap in December 2009 resulted in acclaim from conservationists and an award for the best pub conversion in the country.

Moreover, it has become a magnet for real ale enthusiasts, which gave the business partners the incentive to focus on the derelict premises next door.

“Business is as good as ever,” said Jamie. “We are at an all-time high. That’s how we have got the finance for the final phase.”

A Railway Heritage Grant has covered £60,000 of the cost, but the rest is coming from Jamie and Jon.

Operating four days a week, the brewhouse will allow beer to be produced for the Tap and for other ventures run by the two men, who trade as Pivovar Tap Ltd. There are Tap at stations at London Euston and York.

Guest brewers will be invited, and already specialists are lined up from America, Germany and the Czech Republic. Some of the beer they produce is likely to go back to their own countries.

‘Meet the brewer’ sessions will be held where real ale enthusiasts can be taken through the process. Jamie is head brewer and his assistant is Pete Dakin.

The extension is due to open around the middle of the month, with Jamie reflecting on the success so far.

“I’m delighted, but without the customers we wouldn’t be here. Fortunately, people have bought into our dream and we have picked up awards along the way. The team has worked really hard.”

The latest project may not be the end of the line at Sheffield station.

They have their eyes on the remaining part of the block, the old five-bedroom house of the station master.

“The jury’s out on what to do with it,” said Jamie.