“ Address: The Forum / 127-129 Devonshire St / Sheffield / S3 7SB / „
It's not often that I am overly impressed by the new bars that open in Sheffield. They come and go frequently and often change names overnight. The Common Room is however one such place that I did walk into and say "wow!" because its discreet entrance offers no hint of what is to be found inside.
Located on Devonshire Street next to The Forum shopping complex this is a place that lies right in the heart of the city centre's student quarter. The Forum shopping complex has built up a reputation in recent years as a place to hang out and be seen and there are many small expensive boutique style shops whilst The Forum bar is a frequent haunt of the city's pop stars (past and present) and you even might spot a footballer or too as well.
The Common Room opened in 2006 and occupies the area above both The Forum Bar and the shopping centre. The entrance is either from inside the shopping centre via a stairway that could easily be missed or via a set of doors on the main street where a couple of bouncers loitering around is usually the only tell tale sign that there is a bar close by. Through the entrance there is a staircase in front and this leads to the first floor bar area. The first thing that always strikes me is how big this place is, something that is magnified by its open plan design. The decor is very modern with dark wooden panelling, comfy leather sofas and a bar that occupies almost the full length of the left hand wall.
It is popular with students and the younger crowd and there are regular drinks promotions at the bar. On the walls are huge plasma TV's that show sporting events and despite its size the place is usually heaving. If you are meeting friends be sure to arrange a specific spot to meet or you will never find them. What I like about this place is the fact that they don't belt out loud music, it is therefore a good place to meet and chat without having to compete with the sound system.
After discovering the first floor it took me a further two visits before I realised that there was an upper floor too. This is slightly smaller than the other area but still pretty huge. Here the emphasis is much more of a sports bar and just to give you some idea of its size there are 13 (yes thirteen) pool tables which have to be pre-booked, apparently sometimes weeks in advance. They cost £3.50 for a one hour session. In this area there are more plasma TV's and the music is a few decibels louder but still not overpowering.
The Common Room has managed to survive the test of time. It might have only been around for two and a half years but in a city where the average life span of a new central bar is only six months that's quite an achievement. Judging by its popularity it has no signs of disappearing soon.
Food is served daily until 9pm and the drinks sold include both alcoholic and non alcohol. There is a separate coffee bar. It seems to be popular no matter what time of day and has very long opening hours. It was originally one of only a handful of places that took advantage of the new licensing laws and opened 24 hours a day but now it closes at 4am and re-opens at 8.30am, presumably to give the staff a chance to clean up and restock the bars.
The Common Room
127-129 Devonshire Street
Telephone - 0114 280 8221
Sports Bar with pool tables, table football and of course, a big screen tv for those sports events.