“EVERYBODY has to believe in something,” mused the legendary American comedian WC Fields. “And I believe I’ll have another beer.”
Ah, welcome, reader, to The University Arms public house in Brook Hill.
You arrive as Pete Green, the Sheffield author of a fast-growing internet blog charting his search for the perfect pub, has just gone all WC on us and is tucking into a second pint. It is somehow fitting.
Over the last 18 months the 39-year-old has visited nearly 200 boozers - from Glasgow to London, from Cambridge to Bristol, from Hillsborough to Meersbrook - which he has rated, slated and extrapolated with the sharp eye and witty banter of... a bloke in a boozer.
The only difference being that with more than several hundred readers now logging on to his site each week, he’s probably more popular than said bloke.
“Pubs,” he will explain later, “have been the one constant thing in my life - along with Grimsby Town FC and my parents - and this blog celebrates that.”
Right now, though, the Sheffield University digital content editor, is deep in thought.
“The Rutland Arms in Brown Street,” he says eventually. “That’s my favourite pub. It’s bang in the city yet it has the cosy feeling of a local - the atmosphere is so friendly, the beer’s good and the setting is lovely.
“I love the Coopers Tavern in Buxton but I think if I had a pub of the year award - and I might do next year - The Rutland would have won. I just love the place.”
It’s not the only Sheffield boozer the father-of-one, of Cromwell Street, Walkley, is enamoured with.
Praise on his website is also poured out to, among others, The Sheaf View, in Gleadless Road, Heeley; The Fat Cat, in Alma Street, Kelham Island and the Princess Royal, in Slinn Street, Crookes.
In fact he says one of the main reasons he moved here seven years ago - he’s originally from Grimsby and spent 12 years in Birmingham - was because of the pubs.
“Me and my partner Claudia had become bored of Birmingham and we felt it was time for a fresh start,” he explains. “I’d been visiting friends in Sheffield at weekends and I slowly started to realise each Sunday I didn’t want to leave.
“I loved the city and the pubs and I’d tell Claudia but she was adamant she wasn’t going anywhere just because there were nice pubs.”
Not to be deterred, one Saturday Pete, brought Claudia up north. The happy ending came when, as they sat in The Gardener’s Rest, in Neepsend Lane, Neepsend, Claudia declared ‘I love Sheffield, let’s do it’.
And do it they did. And indeed it has been living here that inspired Pete to start the blog in December 2009.
“It was while in The Sheaf View,” he recalls. “It was Sunday, Claudia was out and I thought I have a few hours with absolutely nothing to do, so I went there - and for some reason it was one of the best two hours of my life.
“I had three or four pints and read a book but it was almost a semi-mystical experience and I just wanted to share my love of pubs.”
The first he wrote about (“it’s not a review as such,” he says, “because it’s more personal than that”) was the Sheffield Tap, in Sheaf Street, and he’s been drinking, thinking and penning since.
“It’s nice people are reading it,” he says. “I suppose it gives me an excuse to keep visiting pubs - and that can’t be a bad thing.”
n Visit www.gettothepub.com