Secret Nottingham

We all know the Nottingham where you can hit Ocean on a Friday night or stumble out of Cr-isis on a Wednesday, but these generic choices may leave some feeling that Nottingham has nothing better to offer than a cheap drink, chart hits and a greasy kebab. This would, however, greatly undersell the endless variety on offer. So in order to battle this misconception, here are a few places that showcase Nottingham’s secret, diverse and surprising culture.

The Golden Fleece

Banish the mundane, dare to tread the beaten track and climb up Mansfield road and you will find one of Nottingham’s hottest venues tucked away from the sinful sounds of the nightclub. The Golden Fleece, with its olive green walls, tasteful heavy wood decorations and bathroom tile bar beautifully combines comfy pub with up-to-date city centre music. Acoustic delights ooze out if its red brick exterior as every Monday night it gives up its stage to let Nottingham’s budding artists strut their stuff at its regular open mic night. After being chilled to the bone things start to spice up at the weekends as DJ sets hit The Fleece and bring us back into city sounds. The eclectic music genres keep you on your toes with anything from drum and base to reggae reverberating through the night, giving everyone a chance to forget about their headache of a degree. Give your friends a slice of the Nottingham music pie and show off what a talented bunch we actually are! (105 Mansfield Road)

Vintage shopping 

If you’re running low on over-sized knitted jumpers or need to replace your much-loved tie-dye t-shirt, then take a step into Nottingham’s vintage scene. Search (literally) high and low in the vintage warehouse or delve through leather jackets and denim shorts at COW. For a bit of old and new, check out Wild and its partner Wilder; both have a healthy amount of vintage as well as some fresh design. There is plenty here to choose from, making it easy to splash out on some original fashion.

Bar de Nada

This little family-run tapas restaurant is a great cheap eat. With its Spanish and world selection, you can choose anything from tortilla to spring rolls, and polish it off with their impressive selection of world beers. Soak up its carefree atmosphere and indulge your ears with its chilled out beats. This place has a whole lot of character packed into a cosy parcel, all wrapped up in a student friendly price of £6.50 for 3 dishes and bread. This deal has its drawbacks of being only applicable for the early bird who gets there between five and seven on a weekday, but I would say it was well worth it. You won’t just take one friend here; you’ll take them all. (43 Broad Street)

The White Rabbit

The White Rabbit can be summed up in two words; quintessentially English. From the bunny salt and pepper pots to the coronation memorabilia teaspoons, this place has brought afternoon tea and granny chic to the centre of Nottingham. Indulge in scones and clotted cream or choose from the selection of calorific cakes to go alongside your cup of tea in traditional china. Be prepared for a little bit of good old fashioned queuing though, as this is a teeny place with a big clientele. Well worth a visit for a touch of the quaint and the cosy. (12 Hounds Gate)

The Hopkinson Gallery

This place is more than just a gallery. It’s a vintage shop, antique shop, café and tea bar, creative studio, drumming session and salsa class all rolled into one. It provides a place for Nottingham’s art talent to showcase their work in its contemporary gallery upstairs and has an array of furniture, clothes and decorative items in its vast vintage collection. This truly is an Ali Baba’s cave and if for nothing else, it should be visited for its impressive twenty-one varieties of tea. This strange amalgamation of functions offers an extremely unique experience and displays some of the not-so-well-known, but extremely vibrant, culture of Nottingham.
(21 Station Street)

Sarah Hughes


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