Nottingham is a city with great nightlife. Having lived in Nottingham for a year, and spent a few weeks in the city over the last couple of months, I’ve been working on my bucket list of Notts bars. In the name of research, I’ve been busy checking out some of the best bars and seeing how they compare—aka drinking for the blog! In no particular order, here are my picks for the top 10 best bars in Nottingham:
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem
While Ye Olde Trip is a tourist favorite, it really can’t be missed. The oldest pub in Europe, it dates back to 1189 and is situated right under Nottingham Castle. The building is literally built into the limestone rock wall, so make sure you walk upstairs to see the cave! If you’re looking for the “medieval” old-England charm, this is where you should go. You can contact the pub directly if you’re interested in booking a tour of their cellars!
Ye Olde Salutation Inn
Not far from Ye Olde Trip on Maid Marian Way, Salutation Inn is another old, historic pub—dating back to 1240. There’s a good selection of beers and a decent rock and metal scene, if that’s your thing. If you’re lucky you might be able to weasel your way into a free tour of the caves beneath the building!
Just a bit outside of the city center at Canning Circus, Organ Grinder has an excellent selection of craft beers, specializing in the Nottingham-based Blue Monkey Brewery. They have a nice two-story beer garden and a function room for sports games. Visit every other Monday night (check in advance) for their popular quiz night!
Sir John Borlase Warren
The Sir John is a Nottingham institution, also located at Canning Circus. They have a great selection of craft beer and cider—try to catch one of the pub’s beer festivals, or better yet try to go right after their beer festival, when they sell the leftover festival beer for super cheap! They will always have several beers from Lincoln Green brewery, another Nottingham-based brewery. The atmosphere is busy but doesn’t tend to be boisterous, and check out their beer garden if the weather’s nice.
Tilt is famous in the Nottingham bar scene for it’s specialty cocktails. While they don’t come cheap, the cocktails are absolutely worth it! I’d recommend the Black Dahlia’s Murder, but I honestly think any of the cocktails will surprise you. It’s a small bar that regularly hosts music gigs, and is lit mainly by candlelight. It gets absolutely packed late in the evenings—but they have an amazing Happy Hour from 5-7pm where £7 cocktails are £3.50!
Pitcher and Piano
Inside a beautiful church, this bar does “classy pint” best. The soaring ceiling gives it an incredible atmosphere, and there is plenty of outdoor seating for the rare English occasion that the sun shines. The food is also excellent, especially the fish and chips and the Sunday roast. It’s a bit pricey, but drinking in a church definitely makes the price worthwhile! Sign up for their email newsletter and you’ll get coupons for a free specialty beer/cocktail once a month.
Pit and Pendulum
One of the four Eerie Pubs locations in the UK, Pit and Pendulum aesthetically caters to rock/metal fans with its goth vibe and spooky atmosphere. I absolutely recommend the Envy cocktail—it’s basically like a McDonalds shamrock shake with alcohol. If you drink all of their Seven Deadly Sins cocktails, you get a free t-shirt! The bathrooms are hidden behind a door in the library.
You probably wouldn’t even notice it from the outside, but Coco Tang is huge inside! Very popular with students and specializing in cocktails, there’s lots of room for both drinking and dancing. You might just happen upon one of their free shisha nights in the beer garden! Tip: Do not get into an argument with the bouncer when there is no free shisha.
This speakeasy is one of Nottingham’s most popular bars. It’s not cheap, but you pay for the atmosphere. Look for an empty store front in the Hockley area with a line of people waiting to get in—you push the sink in the bathroom to open up the door. The Stockbroker’s Breakfast cocktail is delicious for whiskey/bourbon/bacon fans! If you’re looking for a classy bar with a great vibe, look no further.
Somehow it took me three years to get here—but Canalhouse was definitely worth the wait! This bar has a HUGE selection of beers (300+), of which over 250 are international beers. It’s located right on the water with a canal running INSIDE the bar! It doesn’t get much cooler than that. There’s a big beer garden on the canal, and they do decent pub food for a good price.
Honorary Mention: Blue Bell
No Nottingham bar list would be complete without my one and only, Blue Bell. While it’s nothing fancy, the dirt-cheap student deals (helloooo £1 jagbombs!) means that this fine establishment will always have a place in my heart. Your shoes will most likely stick to the floor. Enter with caution.
What are your favorite bars? What bars in Nottingham have I missed?!