Public and Bench: Two Sheffield venues named among 50 best cocktail bars in the UK

Two Sheffield bars – one of which is located underground in a former men’s toilet block – have been named among the UK's 50 best cocktail joints.
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Public, on Surrey Street in Sheffield city centre, and Bench, on Nether Edge Road in the popular suburb of Nether Edge, have both made it onto the The Top 50 Cocktail Bars list for 2023, published this week.

Public, which lies underneath Sheffield’s Victorian town hall in what used to be the gents’ toilets, came 39th in the list, with judges hailing it as a ‘tiny haven for drinkers of fine liquids’. They also described it as a ‘world within a world’ which ‘offers an exceptional experience’.

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The bar’s most ‘notable’ cocktails, according to the list, include the 159 Norfolk Street, made using White Chocolate washed Tanqueray, Cocchi Americano, Fino Sherry and Rose Water.

Jack Wakelin and Tom Aronica (Ronnie) outside Bench in Nether Edge, Sheffield. It has been named as one of the top 50 cocktail bars in the UK. Photo: Geoff JonesJack Wakelin and Tom Aronica (Ronnie) outside Bench in Nether Edge, Sheffield. It has been named as one of the top 50 cocktail bars in the UK. Photo: Geoff Jones
Jack Wakelin and Tom Aronica (Ronnie) outside Bench in Nether Edge, Sheffield. It has been named as one of the top 50 cocktail bars in the UK. Photo: Geoff Jones

Public is no stranger to awards, having been garlanded with numerous accolades since opening in November 2017, including being named the ‘best place to drink’ in The Observer’s Food Monthly Awards and being crowned for serving the UK’s Best Bar Food at the prestigious Class Awards.

Bench took 50th place on the list, with judges praising its ‘stylish serves where boundaries between bar and kitchen are dissolved’. The venue, founded by Jack Wakelin and chef Tom Aronica, opened in 2020 and serves a range of ‘spectacular’ seasonal dishes alongside cocktails and other drinks. One cocktail which wowed judges was the Spritz, made using Isle of Wight tomatoes, white chocolate, lovage, Cattarato and Soda.