Nottingham Venues

A guide to Nottingham’s four biggest music venues.

Capital FM Arena

The Capital FM Arena plays host to the most mainstream gigs in the city, with past guests including Girls Aloud, Justin Timberlake and even musical icons Radiohead. It is quite comfortably the largest venue in the city, boasting a 10,000 person capacity, as well as being the home of the National Ice Centre, although we don’t recommend singing along to ‘Creep’ and ice skating simultaneously.

Since opening in 2000, the Arena has hosted over a thousand gigs and doesn’t look in any danger of slowing down. Before Christmas, the likes of Paramore, Stereophonics and Sigur Ros will arrive at the Arena, along with a whole host of comedians, circuses and dance acts. Be aware that purchasing tickets in advance is very much necessary as it has a tendency to sell out. Check their online listings nice and early.

Rock City

Unfortunately celebrated by most students only for its Wednesday club night, ‘Crisis’, Rock City is also one of the most well-known and well-respected music venues in the country. It’s big enough to get lost in the crowd, with a capacity of 2450, but small enough to remain intimate and credible. NME recently described it as ‘sweaty, but truly indie’, which is about as accurate as it gets.

In the past, Rock City has hosted the likes of David Bowie, The Chemical Brothers and Oasis. And the big names just keep coming, with Johnny Marr, The Boomtown Rats and Tom Odell all set to play this autumn.

A truly great venue for live music, if only for the double pint glasses on offer at the bar.


Rescue Rooms

If a band’s too big for The Bodega but not quite big enough for Rock City, they’ll be jamming at The Rescue Rooms, which finds itself adjoined to the latter. The venue boasts an appealing bar with comfortable seats and cocktails served from teapots.

A wide range of unmissable acts are coming to The Rescue Rooms this autumn. If you’re looking for a lively gig, Jagwar Ma will be bringing their brand of psychedelic rock on the 20th October. Alternatively, the performance-art Public Service Broadcasting will be playing on the 13th November, whilst on the 30th November, Neville Staple (from The Specials) will be providing a little nostalgia.

Always attracting an interesting crowd and hosting some of the best up and coming acts in the country, Rescue Rooms should be a regular on your gig calendar.



In the heart of Hockley, just down from Market Square, stands the trendy Bodega Social Club. It hosts the best bands on the cusp of breaking through, with recent guests including Savages, Palma Violets and The Strypes.

Before 9pm, the Bodega’s happy hour at the downstairs bar (don’t go upstairs for cheap drinks), allows for excellent student pre-gig drinking opportunities. The Bodega outdoor patio area is sublime, allowing you smoke, chat with your mates, and feast on the Bodega BBQ. You will also be given free entry to the club post-gigs, meaning you can smoke, chat and feast for a little longer.With a capacity of only 250 people, the Bodega sees incredibly intimate and sweat-laden atmospheres. Experience it for yourself when the likes of Drenge, Temples and Ghostpoet play this autumn.

Image Courtesy: Lee. JHaywood

Alex Neely, Ian Fillingham, James Mson, Kamiah Overaa

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