Spaces in Sheffield: repurposed and reimagined
by Amy White
The steely cool city of Sheffield is rich with culture and electric with things to do. A legendary music & nightlife scene, an underrated culinary hotspot and a city with a penchant for a spot of shopping. In recent years, the city has regenerated into a whole new version of itself. The use of repurposed buildings has led to restaurants, bars, shops and other businesses opening in some very unexpected places: a bar in what used to be an underground gent’s toilet, a restaurant within an old steel factory and a pub found in a former Victorian tram shed. A trip across the city to try out these places showcased the creativity and atmosphere of a city come back to life.
The start of my journey across Sheffield took me to DOMO, a Sardinian restaurant homed in what was once a factory used to refine steel. This place displays a well-calculated balance between the building’s industrial past as well as the authentic Sardinian roots of the owners. Looking on at the industrial kitchen, the steely infrastructure now complements Italian goods and cookery books on display. The decor matched with the lovely enthusiastic staff make visiting this place an experience, rather than simply a place to eat.
Next stop is Public, possibly the quirkiest of them all. What was once a men’s underground toilets, this bar is now an intimate venue for tasting the cocktails from their extensive list. You are reminded of its past by the penny machine outside, as well as from the tiles within. But don’t worry, that’s where its privy-past ends. The sound of Mykonos (by Fleet Foxes) playing in the background and the noise of the cocktail shaker all contribute to that main character energy as you sit in a bar that is known only by the few that are curious enough to explore.
Finally, but no less impressive was The Tramshed. This bar, which also serves food upstairs, has held onto its former tram shed past with the brickwork, old doorways and iron girders, bringing you straight into the building’s history. But through the doors, you’re in for an exciting and regularly changing menu and many craft beers.
The regeneration of such buildings is an example of how sustainability and creativity are being combined to reinvent places and renew connections to Sheffield’s past that may have otherwise been lost. Rather than being left to ruin, these buildings are given a new lease of life, a chance to have a purpose again and to ensure that the industrial past of this steel city is not forgotten.
For me, the combination of the building’s past and the new story being told is unmatched and one that is worth experiencing for yourself. This list of great places that have used regeneration does not end here, and others that are worth exploring include Cutlery Works in an old cutlery factory, and JÖRO within upcycled shipping containers. Let curiosity take the better of you and explore these places across Sheffield that have reimagined space. You know where to find my full list!
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All photos courtesy of Amy White
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