“ Address: 109 Norfolk Street / Sheffield / South Yorkshire / S1 2JE / England „
The Brown Bear is a small pub situated right in the heart of Sheffield City Centre at 109 Norfolk Street. It is the sort of place that you could quite easily walk past but it is well worth checking out if you get the chance.
Once you step through the doorway you are faced with two tiny rooms to the left and right. Take your pick because both are pretty much the same and are served by the same bar, which occupies the centre of the room. The décor is nothing special and comprises mainly of dark wood panelling on the walls, but at least there is now a plush carpet on the floor where once there was only wooden boards.
It is a friendly pub, family run and not tied to any brewery, although it has long been associated with the Sam Smith's brewery chain and still stocks many of their more obscure brands, which all adds to the atmosphere. It is popular with theatregoers due to its close proximity to the Crucible Theatre and the Lyceum Theatre and each room is full of old theatre posters on the walls. Some of the posters are signed and it is not unusual to find the cast of one of the shows sitting amongst the customers.
Food is served all day but the menu is quite basic and children are welcome if eating food. It is also a popular pub for lovers of real ales and many guest beers are available from the hand pumps. All bar prices are very cheap and a pint of lager will cost you just £1.92.
There is always a friendly atmosphere and karaoke takes place on a Saturday night for those brave (or drunk) enough to take part.
There is something else about this place too which is surprisingly not very well publicised. The Brown Bear is actually one of the oldest buildings in Sheffield and in the cellar there is still a natural well, which dates back to the Middle Ages, and there is also at least one resident ghost! Even more obscure is the room with no doors. If you sit in the room to your left of the entrance you will realise that there is another room between there and the corridor but this large space is completely bricked up. There are many stories of people hearing strange noises from behind this wall including children crying, very spooky indeed.
In 2007 the brown Bear underwent a fairly major and much overdue refurbishment. Thankfully the old theatre posters have been saved and the atmosphere has not been lost.
I would definitely say that it is well worth a visit if you are in the area.