Having lived in the Heeley area for nearly 40 years The White Lion is a pub that I've seen change hands a number of times over the decades. For a long time since the noughties it felt very much like a pub that had lost its way somewhat. While undeniably a pub of character and charm with it's quirky individual rooms and stunning glazed tile frontage often the beer choice fell a bit short and prices were frequently a fair bit higher than other local establishments. As much as I liked the place I tended to go elsewhere as I knew I'd get a better pint for a better price.
|be envious of this exterior!|
It's clear when spending time in The White Lion that it is held dear by it’s regulars and let’s face it there is a heck of lot of competition in the area with the likes of The Sheaf View, The Brothers Arms, The Tram Shed, The Broadfield and The Picture House social all within walking distance. Despite this under Jon and Mandy The White Lion continues to hold its own which is a remarkable feat considering the restrictions and financial disadvantages that come along with being a tied house. Jon was a regular of the pub before he took it on and it shows and works in his favour. He knows his clientele and caters to their requirements which makes for happy and more importantly loyal punters.
On any given night there is a hive of activity taking place at The White. On a recent visit, Sean from Beer Central was holding a bottle share. At the same time there was a band warming up and in one of the little rooms The Sheffield Socialist Party was holding a meeting, and that's just a snapshot of the kind of things you can expect to find going on.
|Typical bottle share shenanigans from years gone by|
And the beer has improved too. Despite being a tied house, Jon has managed to get beers on from local brewery Hopjacker and you'll nearly always find one of their excellent beers on the bar. This is great news for vegans as their entire range is vegan friendly. Being a stout lover, Jon always makes sure there’s a decent dark beer on. There are plans to free up another pump to feature regular beers from Abbeydale's new range: The recent switch from Punch to Heinekin means Jon will have a lot more freedom to explore new breweries. If Jon gets his way, there will also be some improvements to the beer garden and backroom as well. If you like your traditional pub games you'll be pleased to find Jon has recently ditched his fruit machine in favour of a bar billiards table.
So it's a pleasure for once to agree with Camra and give our Pub of the Month award to Jon and Mandy and all the team at The White Lion. Great work guys keep it up. Onwards and upwards.