True North Brew Co. has recently acquired The Punchbowl and the Old Grindstone from pub chain Greene King, both of which have been a fixture on Crookes High Street for many years
The Sheffield-based firm has developed a reputation for making a success of other high-profile bars - including The Forum in the city centre, The Broadfield in Abbeydale Road and The Riverside at Kelham Island – and they have big plans to turn Crookes into the place to be for a top night out.
They are refurbishing both bars and have grand plans for food and beer festivals.
And with Crookes already benefitting from several other long-established pubs, plus the recent opening of new venues such as the Two Sheds micropub and No Name bistro, the addition of True North is expected to further enhance the suburb’s renaissance in its night-time economy.
Kane Yeardley, managing director of True North Brew Co, said: “Lots of people talk only too well of what a fantastic little safe drinking circuit it was in the 70s, 80s and 90s.
“Often people started Saturday night in Crookes and never made it to town. Crookes, in those times, had its own spirit like nowhere else in Sheffield.
“We convinced Greene King that with the Grindstone refurbished at one end of Crooks High Street, which we bought in January, and The Punchbowl at the other, we could with The Ball in the middle and all the independent restaurants, make Crookes a cracking night out with some great pubs and restaurants.”
The Punchbowl acquisition was completed on April 18 and a Greene King spokesperson said this allows the pub chain to “continue investing in our other pubs in the wider area.”
Mr Yeardley described it as a “tough negotiation” as there were 14 cash offers from developers who wanted to turn the pub car park into flats, which he believes would have been a “tragedy.”
He plans to use the car park and pub for “craft and food fairs, and beer, gin and wine festivals.”
The bar will undergo a refurbishment in the summer which could take up to four months after which “we intend to carry the same menu and craft beers as The Broadfield or The Riverside.”
This comes after they took over the Old Grindstone – just half a mile away from the Punchbowl – earlier this year.
After an internal revamp, the venue has reopened under the stewardship of the Stancill Brewery, also based in Sheffield.
Mr Yeardley said Stancill will rent the site for the next two years, “while we save up for our future plans for stage two of the Grindstone, which will have incredible toilets, a large function room, air conditioning and a state-of-the-art kitchen to attract the best chefs in Sheffield, which we will install in 2021.”
True North’s expansion into Crookes comes just months after they took the decision to withdraw from a project to open a bar and cafe inside the nearby volunteer-run Walkley Library.
Mr Yeardley said at the time they halted their involvement “so the commercial aspect can be reviewed and new partnerships investigated.”
Today he described buying the two Crookes pubs as “more than we could have ever dreamed of” and added: “Crookes as a place to live and go out is just going to get better.
“We love renovating and restoring life and charm to pubs in the Sheffield suburbs. We hope you like what we do.”