The Old House: 'End of an era' as popular Sheffield pub on Devonshire Street changes hands after 29 years

A famous Sheffield city centre pub is changing hands after nearly 30 years, with a popular brewery taking up the reins.
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The Old House on Devonshire Street has been run by True North since 1994, when it was known as The Halcyon. It was just the second venue to be operated by the chain, which today has more than a dozen bars and pubs around Sheffield.

But True North is bowing out after almost three decades, as Vocation Brewery prepares to take over and, breathe a ‘new lease of life’ into the venue. Before then, the existing team at The Old House are throwing ‘one last party’, with customers being offered 20 per cent off all drinks until staff ring the last bell this Sunday, January 29.

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The Old House, which was put up for sale last autumn for £75,000, described the change of owners as the ‘end of an era’ but said Vocation Brewery would be ‘breathing a new lease of life into our much-loved venue’. They added: “We hope as many of you as possible can make it down before Sunday to raise a toast with us and say goodbye. Thanks for the good times, Sheffield, we love ya.”

The Old House pub on Devonshire Street in Sheffield city centre is changing hands after nearly 30 years, in what has been described as the 'end of an era'. True North, which has run the pub since 1994, is handing the reins to Vocation BreweryThe Old House pub on Devonshire Street in Sheffield city centre is changing hands after nearly 30 years, in what has been described as the 'end of an era'. True North, which has run the pub since 1994, is handing the reins to Vocation Brewery
The Old House pub on Devonshire Street in Sheffield city centre is changing hands after nearly 30 years, in what has been described as the 'end of an era'. True North, which has run the pub since 1994, is handing the reins to Vocation Brewery

True North’s managing director Kane Yeardley said The Old House would always hold a special place in his heart but it was time to move on and he felt confident it was in safe hands with Vocation Brewery. He told The Star the pub had been 'ahead of the curve’ in many ways, from getting in on the gin revolution early to serving great British and European beers and bespoke cocktails mixed by staff who were passionate about their craft.

He recalled how there would regularly be queues outside the pub, which by staying open till 3am offered something for the 25 to 40-year-old crowd who had moved on from clubs but still wanted a good night out. One big hit was the ‘Guilty Pleasures’ inspired playlist which would see DJs move from the likes of The Killers to Fleetwood Mac, via Abba and the Sex Pistols. But he said other venues had ‘caught up’ and it was time to pass on the baton and focus on other venues.

"Since Covid, there’s only about 60 per cent as many people back in the city centre, and at the moment if something’s only just breaking even for you it means you can’t invest in other things you want to,” said Mr Yeardley. “The city centre has been drastically affected by Covid and more people working from home. It’s going to be challenging for a few years until you have more people living there, so it’s hard to take a risk there, whereas the suburbs are really strong.

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“We like Vocation Brewery. They've got some fantastic beers and they’ll be an asset to Devonshire Street. We could have let The Old House all day long for concepts I didn’t think would be right for Devonshire Street but we held out till we found somebody we believed was the right fit.”

The team at The Old House pub on Sheffield's Devonshire Street have promised drinkers 'one last party' as True North, which has run the pub since 1994, prepares to hand over the reins to Vocation BreweryThe team at The Old House pub on Sheffield's Devonshire Street have promised drinkers 'one last party' as True North, which has run the pub since 1994, prepares to hand over the reins to Vocation Brewery
The team at The Old House pub on Sheffield's Devonshire Street have promised drinkers 'one last party' as True North, which has run the pub since 1994, prepares to hand over the reins to Vocation Brewery

True North also has a deal being finalised to let The York pub in Broomhill, Mr Yeardley revealed, but he said he plans to invest in its other pubs and could open more venues, adding ‘I’ve got my eye on places’.

Mr Yeardley said that bigger venues tended to work better for True North, like The Broadfield, on Abbeydale Road, and The Old Grindstone in Crookes, a neighbourhood where he said there was a ‘great little scene’.

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