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Sampling Nottingham’s Best Public Houses

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem

Its distinctive black-and-white frontage graces almost every postcard of Nottingham: ‘Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem’ is supposedly the oldest pub in the country, though many others lay claim to the title. It was built in 1189 AD, the year that Richard I ascended the throne. The name is derived from the fact that pub was the final stop-off point for many knights before they headed off on the Crusades. Legend has it the king himself frequented the pub, though this is debatable. But then, Richard I was called Lionheart due to his fighting prowess – ‘Ye Olde Trip’ surely provided him with some Dutch courage!

And why go? Well, firstly it’s a pleasant alternative to the usual student dining holes – Bella Italia, Frankie and Benny’s and the infamous Toby Carvery by the West Entrance just don’t quite hold the charm which ‘Ye Olde Trip’ exudes by the bucketful. From sandstone cellars to caves dug into the rock, each room has a character of its own – we ate in the Haunted Snug, which is delightfully cosy and has a ghost who taps patrons on the shoulder! There’s even a pregnancy chair – any female who sits in it will supposedly become pregnant. Believe it or not, we were not prepared to take the risk.

Secondly, it’s number 59 on the SU list of 101 things to do here in Nottingham (possibly now languishing amongst your huge pile of leftovers from Freshers’ Fayre), and therefore simply must be ticked off the list. Thirdly, attractions in the immediate vicinity of the pub include Nottingham Castle and the Museum of Nottinghamshire Life, so it’s in a prime position for you to eat, drink, and enjoy some of the features the city has to offer.

Finally – and most importantly – the food. Admittedly not Michelin star quality, ‘Ye Olde Trip’ serves good food nonetheless, hearty and wholesome. Perfect for hungry students! The size of portions is humongous – my fish (with a generous helping of chips) was approximately the size of a small whale. And exceedingly tasty to boot. AND it hardly dented my dwindling student loan – at around £6.00 for such a large meal, what more could you want?

So if you’re in need of a winter warmer and medieval cheer, try this pub, and embrace the quirkiness of your university city.

Eleanor Matthews

The Orange Tree

I could begin this review of The Orange Tree – located on Shakespeare Street – by saying that I happened upon this pub by complete chance. That, however, would be a blatant lie. If I’m being completely honest, the reason behind my first visit to The Orange Tree was a whisper that 8% cider was served on the premises. Having finally become weary of the same old pre-Ocean-going-out-routine, and with the promise of a decent cider ringing in my ears, I decided to give the Orange Tree a go.

Upon walking into the Orange Tree do not expect to be overwhelmed. In terms of aesthetics this place is about as uninspiring as it gets; picture any standard high-street chain pub and you’re along the right lines. However, my initial disappointment was washed away with one pint of Old Rosie. This scrumpy is about as close to a real cider as you’re going to get – without trekking down to the West Country of course.

Completely flat and cloudy, Old Rosie is far removed from your average pint of Strongbow. The downside? A pint of this will set you back £3.50 – and other drinks tend to be just as pricey. Having said that, the music on offer is agreeable and the bar staff are very friendly. Whilst it may not be to everyone’s liking The Orange Tree is a good pub with a nice atmosphere; certainly worth checking out, especially if you happen to be a cider fan.

Jonathan Tye

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