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The Fat Cat, Kelham Island, Sheffield

23 Alma Street
S3 8SA
Phone: 01142494801

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 9 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Tris C left this review about The Fat Cat

Originally built in 1850 as the Alma, the Fat Cat acquired its current name in 1981; a lovely Cannon Ales mosaic can be seen in the entrance doorway, an indication that this was once a Wiliam Stones' pub. Indeed, CAMRA considers this place to be noted for its Interior of Some Regional Importance.
Comprehensively described below, I got the impression that this place didn't have the slightly more upmarket aspirations as its neighbour but it did have a more vibrant atmosphere as well as two passing lovely local lasses who joined our group photo. However, it was starting to fill up and I can quite imagine that later in the evening it would be rather crowded, something which doesn't appeal to me.
Ales: too many to list and probably all on rotation, but my half of Eagle Brewing's APA was great, though at £1.80 was quite steep by Sheffield standards.
Unlike its neighbour around the corner, this pub, despite its name, doesn't have a cat so if you fancy a break, have a KIT cat, a superb double-header.

On 19th July 2019 - rating: 8
[User has posted 986 recommendations about 971 pubs]

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Steve of N21 left this review about The Fat Cat

I was slightly concerned about trying to visit this Kelham Island institution on a Friday evening but as it happened, although it was busy I managed to initially get seated in the bar room and then moved to the room across the corridor which I recall being a more comfortable room to sit in.
My note and photo taking skills had deserted me by this stage of the crawl and all I can confirm was on was the regular Kelham Island Pale Rider which I thought it would be rude not to try on an inaugural visit.
I did try to return on the following day Saturday Lunchtime to make better notes and to take a look at the garden, but it was even more packed in the bar room with what looked like a hen party and escapees from some sort of wedding or other function at the nearby Kelham Island Museum with a queue almost out the door waiting to be served, so I cut my losses and headed off to the KIT.
For its importance to the Sheffield real ale scene I was hoping to be blown away by this one, but perhaps I will need to visit mid week for that to happen.

On 16th July 2019 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1704 recommendations about 1653 pubs]

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Gill Smith left this review about The Fat Cat

A must when on a real ale crawl in Sheffield. A pleasant friendly bar that is usually very busy, and a separate room across the corridor, plus a garden seating area at the back. Plenty of beers to choose from includin 3 from the nearby Kelham Island brewery. We chose beers from Ascot and Chin Chin breweries, both in excellent condition. Reasonably priced meals and popular pork pies available.

On 31st March 2018 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1306 recommendations about 1196 pubs]

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Malden man left this review about The Fat Cat

Another superb Kelham Island pub with two separate rooms with a corridor between. The main room with the bar is L-shaped, boarded on entering then carpeted around the side. The walls are covered in CAMRA awards going back years. Decor includes lots of Brewery and whisky mirrors as well as local scenes of the once industrial local landscape. Prints of the pub for sale behind the bar at an ambitious £30 as well as mugs for a tenner.
Kelham Island Pale Rider, Great Newsome Stoggy, Kelham Best and I Want That One, Mr Grundys Pashendaele, Ashover Amberella, Tollgate California Steam, 4T's Chocolate and Fudge Stout Detectives, Tim Taylor's Cook Lane IPA, Landlord, Lancashire Cantina Perry and Sussex Seacider. You probably would find something you like from that line up.
Food served, mains from £5.25, pork pies were flying out at £1.50 each.
I didn't explore the side room as there was a function on, stairs lead up somewhere too. A rear partially covered garden has a heated section and the ubiquitous Sheffield Ward's signage.
A splendid unmissable pub if crawling the area.

On 5th March 2018 - rating: 9
[User has posted 1687 recommendations about 1663 pubs]

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Al Bundy left this review about The Fat Cat

Another cracker in Kelham Island. A small pub with 2 rooms. The bar area has 12 handpumps of which 2 were serving a cider and a perry. Kelham Island beers were obviously to the fore. I found this to be better than the one round the corner, though that doesn't mean the other isnt good, I just preferred this one.

On 10th March 2016 - rating: 9
[User has posted 3389 recommendations about 3303 pubs]

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Aqualung . left this review about The Fat Cat

Another famous pub that although not as busy as its neighbour was packed around the bar area so I got a a beer that seemed to be a prototype by Isca from Devon called No. 133. It was a pale ale in excellent nick and although I forgot to note the price was around the three quid mark.
I did spot some faces from earlier which is probably a commonplace occurrence in this area.
Although rather more comfortable than the KIT this place is still a victim of its own success and I would be inclined to return to both of them early doors and preferably on a weekday.

On 17th November 2014 - rating: 9
[User has posted 2143 recommendations about 2143 pubs]

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John Bonser left this review about The Fat Cat

In a back street close to the River Don and the Kelham Island area of Sheffield is The Fat Cat, a small red brick Victorian era building that can validly be described as Sheffield’s original real ale mecca and an essential calling in point on Sheffield’s Valley of Beer tour.

On an outside pub wall, we see two painted horizontal lines showing the height that the flood waters reached in 2007 and 1864 and note that the latter line is at least twice as high off the ground. We also see the hanging pub sign telling us that the pub is “ferociously independent”.

As we enter through the front door, we see an old Cannon Ales mosaic just inside the door.

The pub has two rooms, either side of a small central corridor. The smaller bar, on the right hand side, has fixed padded seating round the perimeter of the room and red velour covered bar stools. The walls are decorated with a fine collection of brewery mirrors and posters. The kiosk style bar servery is three sides of a rectangle ( the fourth side is the serving hatch to the corridor and the other room ), over which is an impressive old clock.

On the other side of the corridor is a larger room, again traditionally furnished and decorated, but more geared towards what appears to be an expanding food trade.

A winding staircase at the end of the central corridor leads up to a further dining area, which I don’t recollect being in use on my previous visits.

The walls of the central corridor are decorated with an abundance of CAMRA award certificates. There’s also a number of photos showing the pub during the 2007 floods and a framed potted history of the pub since 1981, when an enterprising beer enthusiast acquired the pub from Wiliam Stones.

Outside at the back is a surprisingly large patio garden with brick walls decorated with old brewery memorabilia, mainly enamel signs. Of particular note here is an old Fat Cat pub sign, telling us that the pub was once a Marstons pub. There’s also several old Ward’s Brewery lamps. In this yard is the Kelham Island Brewery Visitor Centre, housed in what looks like a former garage.

On my recent Sunday lunchtime visit, the pub was filling up steadily with a mixture of diners and drinkers. Despite a certain amount of gentrification nearby, the pub is still in something of a relative backwater, with the consequence being that the customer base appears to consist entirely of local drinkers and other customers “in the know”. This isn’t a pub that you’re likely to stumble across by accident and, pleasingly, the smaller bar on the right, still retains, even now, something of an old fashioned public bar ambience, with a good number of regular patrons on first name terms with the friendly staff being present during my visit.

There’s an extensive foreign bottled beer menu, but the emphasis still appears to be on the real ale trade. The pub has always acted as a showcase for the products of The Kelham Island Brewery which is next door to the pub and, on my visit, three of their beers were available ( Kelham Best, Pale Rider and Bete Noire at £ 2.20p, £ 2.60p and £ 3.00p respectively ). The latter, a beer not encountered before, is a moreish dark stout, described as Hirisk Stout and with an ABV of 5.5%. It’s very moreish and worth sampling if you get the opportunity. There were at least 3 other microbrewery beers on offer as well.

Sheffield is not exactly short of decent real ale pubs – and the first time visitor might be overwhelmed by the selection available – but this is still an outstanding pub that you should definitely seek out.

On 13th May 2014 - rating: 9
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]

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Danny O'Revey left this review about The Fat Cat

Nice traditional local pub, needs a slight lick of paint but its a good real ale house in industrial Sheffield. The bloke behind the bar was a bit dour.

Over 10 real ales, but maybe streched a little as the quality wasn't quite on.

On 17th December 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1276 recommendations about 1253 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about The Fat Cat

The Fat Cat is only spitting distance from the Kelham Island Tav which was a bonus. We popped in on a Thurs afternoon and the pub was pretty quiet after their lunchtime, so had a good opportunity to look around. There were 10 ales on handpump on our visit. I went for the Kelham Island Easy Rider and Butcombe Brewery Adam Henson's Rare Breed.

On 29th April 2013 - rating: 9
[User has posted 2976 recommendations about 2976 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about The Fat Cat

A revisit found little changed about the pub itself but there’s definitely been a subtle addition to the clientele of people who have started moving into the redeveloped areas nearby. Ale-wise, there were plenty on with a good XS sampled though the Bully was past its best. It’s a very good pub but I perhaps can’t quite garner the same unyielding enthusiasm as some others. Perhaps I will be burnt as a heretic.

August 2009
A characterful two-roomed old-school watering hole, which is a lot more spit and sawdust than the Kelham whilst offering a similar range of excellent quality ales, cider and perry at similarly competitive prices. The main serving area is a classic public bar affair, quite spartan with little tables and stools, narrow and a bit tight space-wise especially at the tiny bar (though there is also a side serving hatch). The slightly superior decoration of the lounge is nice and light but gives off a feeling of faded grandeur that didn't resonate with me, though the open fire was welcome. Both rooms have a scattering of old sepia-tinged photos of random faces (of who?) and old brewery mirrors. There's some interesting tiling on the floor by the front door. There’s a well-designed garden area with a good number of creepers, hanging baskets etc. Some nice-looking good-value pub meals were available. The Kelham Island Brewery is situated next door, so a number of their beers can be sampled here including the infamous Pale Rider. The bogs smelt of piss, which was a bit off-putting – give them a good scrub, please! Items of note are the floodlines outside, showing the high water mark in 1864 and 2007 and the collection of painted cats secreted throughout the pub. The clientèle here seemed more 'tickerish' than the KIT. I couldn't quite dig the place like I could the KIT but it's still a great visit nonetheless. The idea of a “KIT-Cat” crawl is eminently sensible…

On 30th August 2012 - rating: 8
[User has posted 3997 recommendations about 3985 pubs]

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