The Grade II listed building, opposite the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, is to be turned into 27 apartments in a £4 million scheme by city-based Primesite, according to plans.* The scheme follows the conversion by another company of the Beauchief Hotel into homes.
It’s been empty ever since it closed as an outpost of the Loch Fyne seafood restaurant chain in 2016.
When it first opened in the Eighties Hanrahan’s was the place to be and be seen. The clientele was a mixture of footballers from United and Wednesday, hangers-on, the wealthy, pretty girls on the make and posers – “ten bob millionaires” as the local expression had it. There were ordinary members of the public but it was known, like Menzel’s wine bar, as the place for “posh totty.”
VIP customers found their names attached to dishes on the menu. The Sheffield businessman Stephen Hinchliffe was one – before he was sent to prison for fraud.
I forget what it was – probably a steak – but further down the menu was the famous deep-fried ice cream.
And you could order a Mars Bar cocktail which came garnished with the chocolate. It was sickly and if you were wise you didn’t order another, even though the bar’s cocktail hour stretched to two hours. Another infamous cocktail was the Zombie.
It is claimed that the cocktail bar mentioned in the opening lyrics of the city group Human League’s hit Don’t You Want Me Baby was Hanrahan’s. It’s a nice story but the group released the song before the bar opened, although Phil Oakey did visit.
I recall conducting several interviews there, among them hearing from businessman Lawrence Wosskow that he was buying Bradwell’s Ice Cream, which helped catapult him to success in the food and beverage industry. He stuck to orange juice.
The building is early Victorian and dates from the 1840s. It was built as an elegant terrace of town houses. Around the turn of the 20th century it was used as a nurse’s home. It had been boarded up and empty when Whitbread took over to launch it as a Cheers-style American bar, after the popular TV series.
It was around the same time that they launched another famous brand, Henry’s, across the city.
Hanrahan’s lasted until 2008 although it had a brief name change to Casa before reverting back. There was quite a substantial revamp in 1999 which included swapping over the ladies’ and gents’ toilets, causing considerable confusion!
Loch Fyne, also a Whitbread enterprise, followed but sadly failed to encourage enough custom after the initial interest.
Getting on for almost two centuries later, the building is being returned to its original use as homes.
*Since this article was written the relevant committee has rejected the plan. Expect them to be revisited soon.