The Blake is in the hilliest part of a hilly city, so new owner James Birkett may be putting his neck on the block in trying to attract a drinking crowd to this old Stones house on the edge of Ruskin Park. His track record at the New Barrack Tavern and the Sheaf View suggests otherwise. If you’ve been to either of those pubs, you know the quality to expect.
The Blake is a much smaller pub than the other two, with a friendly atmosphere engendered by the staff and customers, with no music or machines. The compact bar is in the centre as you enter, with rooms either side and a garden to the rear – this has a tremendous view over the city, and the decking and benches are sure to attract a crowd in the summer. At this time of year even the purpose-built smoking shelter was deserted, though whether because of the freezing conditions or because there were no smokers in attendance I couldn’t say.
There are six beers on hand pump, plus a real cider and various top quality continental lagers. Beers range from £2 to £2.60 and the cider (at 7%) is £3. Local beers are well represented, and the variety is as you’d expect if you’ve been to the Barracks or the Sheaf.
Getting there might be a problem for some – it’s just a fifteen minute walk from home for me! The 95 bus from the city centre to Walkley will probably suit most. Ask the driver for Fulton Road, and simply drop down the hill and bear right when you get to Ruskin Park – about five minutes. Getting back it’s probably best to head down Daniel Hill Street, right at Sherde Road then left at Fox Lane. This brings you to Whitehouse Lane near where it debouches onto Infirmary Road, conveniently close to tram and bus stops (not to mention the Hillsborough Hotel). More energetic types can simply head back up Fulton Road for a 95 into the city.
The above review was written shortly after the Blake reopened. Since then not much seems to have changed – prices may have risen by about 20p a pint, but there are beers available at under £2.50 still. And, putting my money where my mouth is, I go there as often as I can.
The Blake Hotel
Review by Will Larter, ‘sheffieldhatter’
Visit Date: 25th November 2010