Arctic Monkeys Sheffield: Fans descending on iconic first gig venue The Grapes ahead of Hillsborough shows

It is the pub forever linked with Sheffield superstars Arctic Monkeys.
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And it is already seeing a flow of tourists taking in the history, as the band’s fans flock to Sheffield for their two massive homecoming shows at Hillsborough Park, on Friday and Saturday.

Anne Flynn, who runs The Grapes on Trippet Lane, near Sheffield city centre, says fans who have come to the city for the shows have already started arriving on pilgrimages to the venue, the scene of the Arctic Monkeys’ first ever gig.

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She said: “We had two or three fans in from Mexico on Wednesday, who had booked two nights in Sheffield. They were then heading to Dublin, and then to Paris to see them there as well.

Fans have already started arriving to see The Grapes, right, the venue of the first ever Arctic Monkeys gig, ahead of the group's massive Hillsborough Park shows this week in SheffieldFans have already started arriving to see The Grapes, right, the venue of the first ever Arctic Monkeys gig, ahead of the group's massive Hillsborough Park shows this week in Sheffield
Fans have already started arriving to see The Grapes, right, the venue of the first ever Arctic Monkeys gig, ahead of the group's massive Hillsborough Park shows this week in Sheffield

“I think there will be a fair few who come down over the next few days – people have been coming in to look since Monday. But it is nice to see that the group is so well thought of. The upstairs, where they played is a sitting room now. If I’d known what was going to happen I’d have made it into something like The Cavern! But I’m so pleased for them.”

For years, the venue was one of Sheffield’s main music venues, notably hosting the first Arctic Monkeys gig, when the group members were aged 16. But the room which was once used for gigs was converted to living accommodation years ago.

Tourists still flock to the popular Irish pub from all over the world on the back of its Arctic Monkeys link. And when they arrive there, they can taste one of the finest pints of Guinness in Sheffield.

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The Grapes is run by well known Sheffield publican Anne, who took over 20 years ago. She was previously also landlady of the Dog and Partridge, which she ran for 40 years, initially with her husband Frank, who died in the 1990s.

The Grapes on Trippet Lane, now has new claims to fame as well as its Arctic Monkeys linksThe Grapes on Trippet Lane, now has new claims to fame as well as its Arctic Monkeys links
The Grapes on Trippet Lane, now has new claims to fame as well as its Arctic Monkeys links

Originally from Cork, Ireland, she moved to Sheffield in 1954 when her family moved to the city when her father was seeking work. Working in pubs from the age of 18, she took over the Dog and Partridge in 1970. From 2001 until 2010, she ran both the Dog and Partridge and The Grapes, both on Trippet Lane, until leaving the Dog and Partridge in 2010.

Although the stage upstairs has now gone, there is still music in the bar, on a smaller scale. But the pub now opens earlier, serving food at dinner time.

There are reminders of iconic bands like Arctic Monkeys on the wall, and the American indie band The Killers also have links to the venue, having done a photo shoot there in the past.

Anne, who has always been tee-total, says visitors arrive from all over the world. She said: “You can’t believe the visitors we get asking to see the room Arctic Monkeys played.

The Grapes on Trippet Lane, Sheffield, venue of the band's historic first ever show, with some of its iconic Arctic Monkeys memorabilia on the wallThe Grapes on Trippet Lane, Sheffield, venue of the band's historic first ever show, with some of its iconic Arctic Monkeys memorabilia on the wall
The Grapes on Trippet Lane, Sheffield, venue of the band's historic first ever show, with some of its iconic Arctic Monkeys memorabilia on the wall

“They come from South America, Asia, Eastern Europe. If I had known how popular they would become maybe I wouldn’t have altered the room.

“But I tell them the only original thing now is the toilet they used – nothing else is original. Some of them have come to London, and then to Sheffield just to see The Grapes.”

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Among the visitors a few years ago was Alex Turner, who brought his American girlfriend to show her the venue.

St Vincents GA

The Grapes on Trippet Lane, now has new claims to fame as well as its Arctic Monkeys linksThe Grapes on Trippet Lane, now has new claims to fame as well as its Arctic Monkeys links
The Grapes on Trippet Lane, now has new claims to fame as well as its Arctic Monkeys links

The pub’s other claim to fame is now that it is home to St Vincents. After being set up there, The Grapes’ staff still play a role in running the team, which plays sides from all across northern England in the Yorkshire League. A number of Sheffield United players with Irish connections follow the team, including John Egan, whose father was a legend in the sport, and Enda Stevens. Dozens watch their games at Norton Sports Park. One of the team’s shirts is displayed on the pub wall.

The other claim to fame? The pub is said to sell more Guinness than any other pub in Yorkshire.

Cellarman Michael McIvor says selling a lot of the drink is one of the keys to the quality of the Guinness – it means it has not been hanging around long.

He said: “There are three key things to a good pint of Guinness. One is sell a lot. Two is pour it quickly. And three is nice short lines in the beer. Our pumps are only eight foot down to the barrel.”