12 Days of Freshers

Review: Best Bars And Restaurants In Nottingham

Ryan Keane

It’s true what they say: Nottingham is a fantastic place for a night out. We might be none the wiser about when the clubs will reopen (thanks COVID) but this doesn’t mean we have to feel dismayed. There are plenty of local bars welcoming the fresh wave of students this September and they truly have LOTS to offer. From eclectic architecture to flamingo-pink neon lights, Nottingham’s nightlife is by no means short of unique and interesting places to socialise in.

Pepper Rocks

Located beside the developing Bravissimo store on Bridlesmith Gate, this unique space never fails to amaze those who enter it. Vintage-style sofas and homely plants elicit a sense of warmth for every customer. A broad range of cocktails greet customers, from sweet lychee martinis to margaritas. And don’t worry if you start to feel a bit peckish. They sell the most delicious hotdogs in the city and even have a stand where free popcorn is regularly handed out.

Coco Tang

Only a stone’s throw away from Pepper Rocks, this Vietnamese-inspired business offers some of the best food and drink in the city. Bodacious murals, turquoise shutters and Asian plants will have you feeling as though you’ve stumbled into the heart of 1950s Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon at the time). One of the best cocktails to enjoy here is the Regina George. She’s a pink beverage comprising of hibiscus-infused air foam and an edible Burn Book. Regina is joined by many other drinks in Coco Tang’s varicoloured alcoholic pantheon.


When you take your new friends into Boilermaker, they might look at you like you’re crazy. Why have you brought them into a random white-washed room with some bouncer-looking dude sitting behind a desk? Well, that’s because they’re not yet aware it’s a speakeasy! Led through a door, you’ll saunter into one of the most unique bars in the whole of Nottingham. Located on the fringes of Hockley, Boilermaker promises to blow people’s minds and this bar’s extensive array of drink options will prove just as atomic.


As evocative as Katy Perry and Cardi B tracks might be, sometimes you’re feeling music that’s a little more… classic. Well, that’s where MOJO comes in handy. Also in Hockley and just a three-minute walk from Old Market Square, this neon-lit dive bar plays the likes of Whitney Houston, Fleetwood Mac, Def Leppard and ABBA. ‘Leave dishevelled or leave now’, a light-hearted sign reads by a mural of The Beatles. But there really is no pressure here to get so inebriated you think a rosebush outside the venue is a stationery Alsatian. The entire bar is glazed over with easy-going vibes. You can even request songs.

Pit and Pendulum

Alright, technically, Pit and Pendulum is more of a pub than a bar. But their décor is nineteenth-century-Gothic-inspired. They have a range of cocktails named after the Seven Deadly Sins, including what is basically an alcoholic milkshake called “Sloth”. They even have Victorian-esque torture equipment adorning the walls to make you feel like you’re drinking in a castle. How could I not pay reverence to that?

Tiki Bar

In the leisure complex The Cornerhouse, you might wander past the cinema and end up in the middle of a South American jungle. You’ll become accustomed to mellifluous birdsong and Aztec statues in the Lost City Adventure Golf’s courses, and above it, you’ll adore the Tiki Bar. Alcoholic slushies. Rare cocktails. Beautiful straw-woven chairs. It really is an underrated gem in the city, and some third-year students have never been into it or even heard of it. They sell pizza here and on Tuesdays, you can get two for the price of one. Or, if you’re just feeling drinks, you can get two cocktails for £10.

Billy Bootleggers

Another underrated gem, Billy Bootleggers is an American-themed dive bar just a thirty-second walk from Yo Sushi in Lace Market. This bar serves 22 delicious kinds of Long Island Ice Teas and often hosts live country music performances. I frequently visited this place before COVID-19 hit and it warmed my heart to see it open a few months back. The atmosphere will have you feeling like you’re living it up in the Deep South as people drink beer and play rounds of pool underneath ‘Vote Billy’s’ posters.

The Bodega

Directly opposite to Pit and Pendulum, the Indie-centred bar The Bodega is truly a diamond. Equipped with a jukebox you can influence and some of the friendliest bar staff in Nottingham (I know because I’ve made so many friends with the employees there), The Bodega has good reason to be so popular. You can certainly order cocktails here but they do serve an impressive amount of different beers and I’m still getting around to trying them all.


It’s one of the most popular places for Nottingham’s student on a night out. Bierkeller is a Bavaria-inspired bar located on Friar Lane and has two floors. In the past, beer was the defining beverage on offer here, but as the years have elapsed, all kinds of alcohol are served. They do great shots! A mirrorball (Taylor Swift would love it) sits above the dancefloor, glistening away as neighbouring customers drink and laugh. It is one of many features to make the space so lively. It’s above Bierkeller that the sports bar Shooters is situated. Ornated with pool tables and televised live matches, it contains a more relaxed energy than its German-esque counterpart.

This list is by no means extensive and is simply a personal set of suggestions compiled by yours truly. Visit TripAdvisor to discover more unique and invigorating bars around Nottingham. From The Alchemist to Hockley Arts Club, there are plenty to satiate your tongue’s wanderlust. 

Impact understands that some of these bars and/or their certian features may not be open at this current time, please check their websites before booking. 

Ryan Keane

Sources Used: Nottingham Post

Featured image courtesy of  Boris lu via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes made to this image.

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