Favourite Things: Theatre, nightlife and cuisine give Sheffield its buzz

John Wickham, of Cubana, outside of the Lyceum Theatre.
John Wickham, of Cubana, outside of the Lyceum Theatre.

John Wickham, aged 24, is the deputy manager of Leopold Square’s Cubana. He has just spent months researching the venue’s first-ever rum menu, which was voted the best in the UK at the industry’s annual November rum awards.

John, a self-confessed rum connoisseur, has amassed a staggering 167 varieties that are now on sale at Cubana including one that needed a 10,000-mile round trip to source - sadly it was his bosses that got to go on that little jaunt rather than John. John has a degree in jazz piano and is an accomplished pianist – he regularly surprises Cubana guests by doing a spot.

He is engaged to Ashleigh and lives in Sheffield city centre.

Trippets Lounge Bar

One of the best things about Sheffield’s after dark scene is its independent operators. They provide the colour and creativity that distinguishes us from rival cities. They don’t come any better than Trippets Lounge Bar.

Debbie and Carl, the owners, are lovely and they have regular live jazz acts at the weekend. They also have their own ‘gin bible’ – gin is truly their thing – together with regular food pairing evenings.

Bamboo Door

I couldn’t do this article without a nod to my favourite Leopold Square neighbour. This is the city’s one and only Polynesian tiki bar serving up some awe-inspiring cocktails.

This is another great independent bar which offers cocktails in the shape of everything from a Bakewell Fizz (complete with “all the flavours of the classic tart, dried out with prosecco”) to the absinthe-based Death In Paradise.

It’s fair to say everything tastes good out of one of their coconuts.

Endcliffe Park

You’ll be relieved to hear my world isn’t one hundred per centre based on spirits! There’s nowhere better for an early morning run than Endcliffe Park.

Where else do you get to experience pond, river and a forest and a plethora of ducks? And you can’t forget the wonderful Endcliffe Park Café. Another marvellous independent Sheffield institution.

Marco @ Milano

I’ve never had a bad visit here and we’re always well looked after. I took my partner for her birthday recently. I can highly recommend the fillet steak ragu pasta– gorgeous!

Lyceum Theatre

This really is one of the most stunning theatres I’ve ever had the pleasure of frequenting. Our most recent visit was to see Chicago.

It was absolutely phenomenal.

My partner took me for my birthday in the summer.

It was a truly quality production. Very old school and very beautiful.

Botanical Gardens

When my mum comes to visit from Lancashire our regular haunt is the Curator’s House for tea and scones.

Few places are more breathtaking at any time of the year.

Starmore Boss

This is great independent off-licence on Sharrowvale Road.

It is packed with specialist single malt whiskies, intriguing liqueurs and top-quality wines.

I cannot recommend it highly enough if you’re looking for something a bit different.

Fargate food festivals

There really are some great visiting attractions on Fargate.

My favourites are always the various food festivals and markets they have there.

They add a real vibrancy and offer some intriguing choices of food and drink.

Particular favourites are the Wiltshire Chilli stand – they suit my love of hot, spicy food. And ensure you look out for a visit from the Magic Mead stall – another firm favourite which regularly manages to tempt me.

Vero Gusto

We’re regular visitors here. They also offer the most sublime wine menu.

They major on authentic Italian cooking with superb service in classy surroundings.

Truly wonderful!

Sheffield musicians

My love of live music makes my job in Cubana even more of a blessing! It’s has been an absolute pleasure to work with the scores of local musicians who perform here night after night.

The talent pool in this city is amazing and there really is a fantastic camaraderie between them.