Danielle Mustarde checks out the scene and more in South Yorkshire’s “reyt lovely” capital
BY DANIELLE MUSTARDE
While often overlooked in favour of nearby Manchester or Leeds, the “southernmost tip of the northern lands” – cue heated debate – with its industrial roots, jam-packed calendar of cultural events, and hella beautiful surroundings has an overly-humble charm all of its own.
Ok, so it’s probably not going to be crowned “UK’s Queerest City” anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t LGBTQI-friendly stuff going on if you know where to look…
Sheffield’s queer scene is mostly made up of one-off or (ir)regular events. Still, thanks to a handful of badass LGBTQI folk, it’s a scene that’s slowly growing…
🌈 ANDRO & EVE Citywide
Founded in Spring 2016, Andro and Eve (aka Katherine Warman and Rhiannon Scutt) are THE queer queens of South Yorkshire. Creating “feel good events that celebrate queer culture”, this fabulous duo transform Sheffield’s cafes, clubs and community centres into big, fat queer nights out.
If you’re thinking of visiting, make sure you check out their events page to see if you can catch ‘em. Their next event is the fantastically inclusive drag king cabaret night, The Kingdom Come. Expect very friendly vibes, vegan cake and glitter beards uh-plenty.
🌈 DINA 32 Cambridge Street, City Centre
An independent venue in the centre of the city, DINA is a not-for-profit offering a platform for artists and performers profiling new and unseen creative work. Making room for unheard voices is key to DINA’s ethos, meaning its events are culturally diverse and inclusive – and from time-to-time, very much queer-focused. Check out their social media to be kept in the loop.
🌈 DEMPSEYS Hereford St, City Centre
The most well-known of the few physical gay bars in Sheffield, Dempseys is something of an institution – depending on your preferred vibe. If you’re a fan of brightly coloured alco-pops, sticky floors and hearing a decade’s worth of chart hits in one evening, then good ol’ Dempseys is for you.
WORTH A LOOK
A space built on social freedoms, artistic expressions and community spirit (formerly the Audacious Art Experiment).
👀 THEATRE DELI
A space for artists, audiences and communities to come together. Queer-friendly events abound.
👀 SHOWROOM CINEMA
Screening a rich mix of independent, cult and world cinema, if there’s a new LGBTQ film out you’ll find it here. TIP: The restaurant serves top notch veggie food.
🍽️ THE HOLT Arundel Street, City Centre
Set in a beautifully repurposed warehouse, whether you’re after breakfast and a quick coffee, or a bite to eat for lunch, The Holt is a lovely spot (with equally lovely staff). Veggie and vegan options. Think: Stuff on toast, soups, and hot ‘n cold sandwiches.
🍽️ MAKE NO BONES Rutland Way, Kelham Island
Completely vegan eatery Make No Bones is a little outside of the city centre, but it’s also close to Abbeydale Road home to Sheffield’s Antiques Quarter, with vintage shops, cafes and pubs galore. Think: Soups, bigger meals and vegan fish and chips
🍽️ BHAJI SHOP & THALI CAFE Kelham Island
Serving British-Indian, street food-inspired dishes, the Bhaji Shop is smack-bang in the middle of Kelham Island an old industrial spot which has seen a huge revamp in the last few years – definitely worth an explore, especially if you’re on the Real Ale trail. Think: onion bhajis, platters and street-food inspired dishes
🌿 THE PEAK DISTRICT
If you’re into walking, hiking, climbing or cycling, the Peak District (peakdistrict.gov.uk) is for you. Easily accessible by car or bus from the city centre, there’s plenty to see and do.
Don’t fancy hanging off a cliff face but want some fresh air? Check out nearby market town Bakewell (bakewell.co.uk), or if you’re a Downtown Abbey fan, nearby Chatsworth House is a must-see (chatsworth.org).
🌿 THE CLIMBING WORKS
If you’ve planned a weekend of outdoor shenanigans only to have it rain all weekend, make your way to The Climbing Works (climbingworks.com), Sheffield’s indoor bouldering wall.
As well as being super easy to get to from the city centre, it’s staff are some of the loveliest around. Taking the kids? Check out the Mini Works next door (climbingworks.com/the-mini-works).
MOVERS ‘N SHAKERS
📣 Queer Agenda Sheffield (QASh)
Queer activists QASh are working together to promote the interests of Sheffield’s queer communities.
📣 Lesbian Asylum Support Sheffield (LASS)
Supporting and empowering Sheffield’s LBT+ and non-binary asylum seekers and refugees, LASS are a lovely lot.
WORD ON THE STREET
👭 What do the local lez/bi lovelies say?
“We feel very comfortable as a same-sex couple living in Sheffield, but there’s not a huge amount going on in terms of queer nightlife. The universities put on LGBTQ nights, but Dempseys and OMG are the only physical gay bars. Still, Sheffield Pride is a really positive event and LGBTQ communities are reflected in one-off, city-wide events like DocFest and She Fest” – Anna and Laura, 30, Sheffield
“There are a few really good events happening intermittently. QASh put on a few good nights and Audacious Art Experiment is a very queer-friendly, radical arts-type space. If you’re queer and live in Sheff, you’d probably join a political group… or go climbing! Failing that, set your tinder miles to 100 and hope for the best” – El, 26, Sheffield
“Andro and Eve put on a really good range of queer events!” – Char, 27, Sheffield
This piece was originally published in the March 2018 issue of DIVA magazine
Only reading DIVA online? You’re missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It’s pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves.