Freshers Bucket List: the Best Bars and Restaurants Notts Has To Offer

Moving to a new city can be daunting, and many find meeting new people as well as adjusting to your new surroundings to be overwhelming. So to help, Impact have rounded up some of the best bars and restaurants in the city to make you feel a bit more at home, while also not breaking the budget.

Pepper Rocks

Pepper Rocks was a bar I only went to towards the end of my first year. My friends and I went out on a Saturday (a new experience for us considering we were always too hungover from Friday nights out) and decided we’d give it a try. Although it’s a smaller bar than we were used to, we really enjoyed our night. All house cocktails are £5 before 10pm and most of their cocktails fall into this category. Whether you like sweet, sour or bitter cocktails, they will definitely serve a drink that’s bound to tickle your fancy. When I went, I opted for two cocktails that I had never tried before: a Woo Woo and a Margarita. I quickly realised the Woo Woo wasn’t my favourite as it was far too sweet for me, but I fell in love with Margaritas after that night. I always lean more towards sour than sweet, so this was inevitable to be honest. In terms of interiors, the bar is really cosy with leather sofas dotted around the place and a plethora of plants adding a jungle vibe to it.

Rose and Crown

Would you really be a UoN student if you didn’t go to the Rose and Crown? Situated in between Lenton and the main campus, this pub is popular amongst students as well as the public. It’s the perfect place to watch a sports match and, as its just a quick walk away from the Jubilee Campus bus stop, getting the free hopper bus back to campus could not be easier – very handy if you have found yourself having had too much to drink!

Annie’s Burger Shack

One of the best burger restaurants in town, Annie’s Burger Shack should definitely be on your list of places to go. With over 30 different options on the menu, it caters to everyone. The portions are large however the prices aren’t compromised. The staff are incredibly friendly and its really easy to book; we were a group of 15 people and we felt really accommodated to. You can also get 10% off food when you go 12-5pm Monday to Fridays when showing your student card.

Ugly Bread Bakery

Serving pizzas, sandwiches and salads, Ugly Bread Bakery is the perfect spot for a late lunch or afternoon snack. From 2-7pm Tuesdays to Fridays you can get a 9 inch pizza + side + a drink all for £6.95 if you bring your student ID. They are also on an app called Too Good To Go which enables you to look for cafes and restaurants that sell their unsold food in the evenings for a discounted price.


Ever wanted some good food with your cocktails but can’t really be bothered to find a restaurant to go to? Well Bunk is the bar for you. Mixing cocktails, wings and hot dogs (an unlikely combination that surprisingly works very well), Bunk has a popular fanbase for a reason. The wings start at £7.50 and they give you the option of adding seasoning and sauce; from a mild Salt & Fresh Parmesan to the spiciest Naga Viper Chilli (with 8 chilli symbols!) and plenty in between, you are sure to find something you like. If you’re feeling extra peckish, they also offer a range of sides all for a reasonable price. In terms of drinks, they don’t boast the largest cocktail menu, with only 12 house cocktails, but the premium cocktails are a must try! While you do pay a bit more, they have some unique and innovative recipes such as their Parma Violet cocktail that are bound to leave you feeling a bit wobbly by the end of the night!


Another favourite amongst Nottingham students, Red’s True Barbecue is a must. I ordered the Donut Burger when I went; a burger that’s served between two glazed donuts. It may sound disgusting to some but it definitely surprised me, I honestly didn’t think I’d like it but I loved it! The sweetness strangley compliments the smokey bacon and their various sauces. If this doesn’t sound like something you’d fancy, they have plenty of other burger options as well as pork belly dishes, fish dishes, wings and steak. They also have 20% off for students from Sunday to Thursday if you present a Student Beans ID.


Possibly my favourite bar that I have tried in Nottingham, Boilermaker is quite hard to find but definitely worth it. Disguised as an empty plain boiler shop (I mean, the clue is in the name), it’s easy to miss it – I actually stumbled upon it when I was looking for another hidden bar that’s on the same street! After you have meandered your way through a number of doors, you are greeted by the relaxed atmosphere the bar exudes. What I loved most about Boilermaker was the unending choice of drinks you could pick from. Being a lover of gin, I opted for the Strong Gindependent Woman which arrived in interesting packaging I have to say. The drink came in a bottle that was kept in a sushi-style tray buried in ice to keep it cool – I actually thought the waiter had got my order wrong and was bringing me sushi before I realised what was in it! My friend (who’s not the biggest fan of cocktails) chose the No Shrubs by QMC that comes in a mini waste-disposal bin and really enjoyed it. While prices may be slightly more than your average student bar (most cocktails are £8), it’s worth a visit on a special occasion.

Anna Scott

Article images courtesy of Pepper Rocks, Annie’s Burger Shack, Bunk and Boilermaker via Instagram. Featured image courtesy of Mr Thinktank via Flickr. Image use mage license found here. No changes were made to this image. 

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