Opening night: Dada, Sheffield

Innovation. Passion. Knowledge. They've been the watchwords of Thornbridge Brewery for some time. Now add an new quartet: beer, music, arts, community. Their pubs in Sheffield use these words their statement of intent. So how well do they apply to their latest offering, Dada?

It may seem a strange name for many. After all, wasn't Dadaism about being anti-art? Turns out that Thornbridge director, Simon Webster, is a fan of the Dada-loving Caberet Voltaire along with other iconic Sheffield artists past and present. So he's been instrumental in the refashioning of what used to be Trippet's from a slightly-gloomy wine bar into a, well, slightly-less-gloomy sixth-form common room.

Plenty of collage and photomontage - ah, there's that Dada influence coming through again. The back room is low-lit with functional-chic furniture and military-green walls. Up front, in the pointy bit that sees the daylight, is space for exhibitions. Currently showing works by Jane Faram and Geo Law, the space is going to be curated by the city's one time music-meister Martyn Ware, amongst others. There's also some nifty table design by gig-poster supremo Martin Bedford.

What about the beer, you say? Plenty. Four casks, two of which will be Thornbridge along with two guests (on opening night they were from Buxton). But it's the keg offering that the bar leads on; eleven taps, five Thornbridge plus guests. Expect to pay the customary craft keg premium for the likes of Flying Dog Pale Ale alongside the brewery's own limited-run beers such as Halcyon. Bernard lager is on tap too. Plus a solid bottle selection - the usual Belgian suspects alongside some choice US and German beers.

'Lady Dada' on the bar has a wistful look; perhaps it's because she's misplaced the Veet. Dada's aiming for the knowingly-cool crowd who want to escape the West Street meat-rack and Kelham Island cask circuit. One thing's for sure: there may be plenty of art of the tables but the atmosphere isn't merely painted on the walls. The staff were well up for a storming opening night and the preview crowd soon filled the fairly-tight floorspace. The music was just there, so you could hold a conversation. How it's going to sound mid-afternoon on a wet windy winter's Wednesday is something I'll have to go back and find out.

Overall impressions? It's a place I could see myself spending time in, particularly on the occasions I'm in the city gig-wards. The beer isn't cheap, but I'd rather buy a pint of quality kegged Thornbridge than a bottle of crap at somewhere later on in the evening. I imagine the place will hack off a bunch of old Trippet's regualrs as it's a very different feel from before. But here's hoping it attracts a crowd who want to drink good beer in a bar that's resolutely Made In Sheffield.

Dada can be found at 89 Trippet Lane, Sheffield S1 4EL. Open noon-11pm or til 12.30-ish on Fridays and Saturdays. Not open on a Sunday.

Thanks to Thornbridge for the opening night invite.


  1. It's a good sign that James from the Coach & Horses is now there but I have to say that I really liked the old Trippets and I think DaDa is a very daft, pretentious name indeed.

    I will give the place a whirl at some point but it will have to be very good indeed to beat Trippet's.

  2. I used to really like Trippets (despite it's policy of not opening on a Monday evening) but I think this retains the things I liked about trippets (i.e. the good beer) and gets rid of the things I didn't like (i.e. the bad jazz). I think the decor over does it a little bit but it's worth it for the fabulous Cabaret Voltaire/The Fall gig poster that's next to the bar.

  3. Wow...interesting looking place!