Popular Sheffield city centre bar will not reopen after lockdown, brewery confirms
A well-known pub in the middle of Sheffield will not be returning after lockdown, the city brewery that runs it has confirmed – saying coronavirus has had a ‘devastating effect’ on the place’s viability.
The Devonshire Cat on Wellington Street ‘will not be re-opening as an Abbeydale Brewery pub’, the beer company said in a statement that was met with dismay from regulars.
“With the underlying trend of a reduction in footfall over the past years it has become increasingly challenging to run the Devonshire Cat as a viable business,” said the brewery, which has run the pub since 2014.
“This is despite every effort made by our team to make it a warm and welcoming venue with a fantastic food and drink offering, and we’re hugely proud of what we were able to achieve in our little corner of Sheffield.
“It is, therefore, inevitable that the Covid-19 outbreak has had a devastating effect on the viability of this business.”
The pub’s rateable value – used to calculate its business rates bill – was ‘too high’ for it to ‘benefit from the grants offered', Abbeydale Brewery said on its social media accounts.
“Given the uncertainty surrounding the future of the hospitality industry and the prospect of long term changes to social interaction, we have come to the decision that we are not in a position to re-open.
“We would like to take this opportunity of recognising the efforts of our truly dedicated and hardworking staff members and we are now focused on supporting those who are impacted by this course of events. We have ensured that all of the local suppliers and breweries that worked with us before the countrywide closure in March have been paid.”
The company said it will be concentrating on its other pub, The Rising Sun at Nether Green, from now on.
“We will miss the Devonshire Cat so much, and wish to thank all of our customers over the years for their amazing support. We are disappointed not to have the opportunity to have a proper goodbye but would love to see all of you up at The Rising Sun, which will continue to represent Abbeydale Brewery into the future.”
The Devonshire Cat originally opened in 2001, winning fans by specialising in bottled Belgian imports and local cask ales. It became Abbeydale's flagship pub – the firm, known for producing beers such as Moonshine and Deception, carried out an extensive refurbishment after taking on the lease.
“This incredibly difficult decision is one we need to take to give both the brewery business and The Rising Sun the best chance of ensuring survival in these unprecedented times,” said the firm.
Andrew Hand was among those who expressed their regret at the closure on Facebook.
“Gutted! Favourite Sheffield pub gone - so sorry it couldn’t have worked out," he said.
Lottie Longdon wrote: “This has made me cry! All my love goes out to everyone that worked for Dev Cat, I’ll miss it so much.”
And Katie Anderson said: “This is so sad.”