'Why we've taken a risk by reopening historic Sheffield pub at a time when so many pubs are closing'

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“This is a real community pub, it’s an institution which needs to keep going”

More than 500 pubs shut last year, according to the British Beer & Pub Association, as soaring bills and the cost-of-living crisis hit the trade.

But when the historic Yorkshireman pub in Sheffield city centre became the latest casualty in January this year, two of its regulars decided they had to do something.

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New owners Mark Chambers and Ingrida Kavaliauskaite outside the Yorkshireman pub on Arundel Gate in Sheffield city centreNew owners Mark Chambers and Ingrida Kavaliauskaite outside the Yorkshireman pub on Arundel Gate in Sheffield city centre
New owners Mark Chambers and Ingrida Kavaliauskaite outside the Yorkshireman pub on Arundel Gate in Sheffield city centre

Speaking to The Star, Mark Chambers has explained why he and his partner Ingrida Kavaliauskaite took on what he has admitted is a huge gamble, and how things are going so far.

The pub began life on Burgess Street, beside what is now the old John Lewis department store, in 1790, before moving to the old Mulberry Tavern on Arundel Gate in 2021 when the old building was demolished.

Mark and Ingrida reopened the pub, which is famed as one of Sheffield’s best venues for live rock music, on Saturday, March 23, and they say the response has been fantastic.

Inside the Yorkshireman pub, which has reopened after a prolonged closure, resurrecting a classic Sheffield rock venueInside the Yorkshireman pub, which has reopened after a prolonged closure, resurrecting a classic Sheffield rock venue
Inside the Yorkshireman pub, which has reopened after a prolonged closure, resurrecting a classic Sheffield rock venue

“The main response we get when people come in is either saying ‘thank you’ and shaking my hand or asking ‘are you crazy?’,” Mark told The Star.

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“Pubs have been a risky business for year. I think I read at one point that 50 pubs were closing a week.

‘It’s an institution which needs to keep going’

“But this pub is something my partner and I are passionate about. It’s not like taking on a Wetherspoons. This is a real community pub, it’s an institution which needs to keep going.

“There’s so much potential and we’ve got a very detailed business plan and a lot of contacts. We really believe it can work.”

The Yorkshireman pub on Arundel Gate, Sheffield, will continue to host live rock music, for which it is famous, while expanding the variety of live acts to attract a wider audienceThe Yorkshireman pub on Arundel Gate, Sheffield, will continue to host live rock music, for which it is famous, while expanding the variety of live acts to attract a wider audience
The Yorkshireman pub on Arundel Gate, Sheffield, will continue to host live rock music, for which it is famous, while expanding the variety of live acts to attract a wider audience

Mark runs his own security company and recruitment group, and also has experience in the pub industry, while Ingrida works for the NHS.

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Mark said they plan to continue doing what has always worked well at the pub but make it more affordable and more accessible.

The 150-capacity upstairs space will continue to be a rock bar, he says, while the downstairs room, which can hold the same number of people and is being renovated, will be a separate live music venue with ‘something for everyone’.

There will be a monthly comedy night, and a regular live show hosted by the popular drag queen Emma Maezin. An opening party for the downstairs ‘Vault’ is planned on May 3, featuring the blues and drum and bass sensation Pat Fulgoni.

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‘Making things more affordable’

“The key is to do everything we already do best for the rock crowd, and do that better, but also cater for a wider audience,” said Mark.

“There’s a cost-of-living crisis and a lot of people either aren’t coming to town or they’re not coming as much as they used to.

Inside the Yorkshireman pub on Arundel Gate, Sheffield city centre, which has been reopened by Mark Chambers and Ingrida KavaliauskaiteInside the Yorkshireman pub on Arundel Gate, Sheffield city centre, which has been reopened by Mark Chambers and Ingrida Kavaliauskaite
Inside the Yorkshireman pub on Arundel Gate, Sheffield city centre, which has been reopened by Mark Chambers and Ingrida Kavaliauskaite

“We’re going through all the prices to see where we can make things a bit more affordable for our customers.

“This is more than just a pub. It’s somewhere people really feel at home and feel safe, and there’s always someone to talk to.

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“It’s a fantastic location too. There’s big student block that’s going to be built across the road where Primark was, and you have Tank nightclub down the road and there’s a new container park venue coming soon too. It’s right next to all the bus stops too, and two minutes from the tram stop.”

Mark and Ingrida have already extended the opening times, with the pub now open between Tuesday and Saturday each week, until 2am on Fridays, 4am on Saturdays and midnight on the other days, having previously only opened at weekends.

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