The 15 Best Independent Bars in Nottingham

Now that hugs are legal again, I believe a celebratory drink is in order. As always, when it comes to the best food and drink in Nottingham, I’ve got you covered.

The nightlife in Nottingham is among the best in the country and we’re fortunate to have a wide variety of independent bars to choose from, as well as your favourite chains (honourable mentions go to Slug & Lettuce and of course the ever-faithful Wetherspoons).

As the hospitality sector works hard to recover from the impact of three national lockdowns, we can all do our bit to support small and local businesses by shopping independent where possible.

The 15 independent bars on my list stock a range of cocktails and other alcoholic beverages, while giving you the personality and atmosphere that chain venues all too often lack (soz Slug). So what are you waiting for? Get planning your next night out!

Another? Wine Bar – 9 Trinity Square, Nottingham, NG1 4AF

A self-service wine bar — sounds like heaven, right? The first bar of its kind in Nottingham, Another? Wine Bar boasts 65 different varieties of wine. A personalised tab card on arrival allows you to help yourself to either a 50ml sample, 125ml small glass or 175ml glass of the various wines on offer. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or simply enjoy a chilled glass of rosé with the girls on a Saturday, this bar is a must visit!

Tilt – 9 Pelham Street, Nottingham, NG1 2EH

Enjoy premium cocktails in a candle lit setting at Tilt. The relaxed atmosphere in this intimate venue makes it a great choice if you’re looking for somewhere to spend a laidback evening with good company. The team at Tilt are pros when it comes to the fine art of cocktail making, so if there’s a cocktail you love that isn’t on the menu just let them know and they’ll mix it up for you.

Boilermaker – 36b Carlton Street, Nottingham, NG1 1NN

If we’re judging on first impressions, few bars in Nottingham compare to Boilermaker. The upmarket venue is hidden behind the clever facade of a boiler room. In fact, so convincing is the exterior of this place that I actually walked by it for several years, completely unaware of its existence. Speakeasy vibes, plush furnishings and exceptional cocktails make it a popular choice, so expect a queue at weekends and remember that a table at Boilermaker is worth the wait.

Malt Cross – 16 St James’ Street, Nottingham, NG1 6FG

Set in a Victorian music hall, Malt Cross is a bar & kitchen with heaps of period character. It’s had a few contemporary upgrades during its 144 year history, but the overall look and feel of the place maintains an old world charm. Pre-COVID times, Malt Cross had a busy events calendar featuring weekly live music and quiz nights, so keep an eye out for entertainment announcements over the coming weeks.

400 Rabbits – 15-16 Hurts Yard, Nottingham, NG1 6JD

No-one does tequila like 400 Rabbits. They are the only dedicated Mezcaleria in Nottingham, which is basically a fancy way of telling the world that when it comes to tequila they know their stuff. 400 Rabbits is a quirky venue, situated down an alleyway just off the Market Square. Think vibrant colours and distressed, artistic decor with flavours of Mexico. Don’t worry if one too many tequila slammers has put you off the taste for life, there’s also a selection of beer, ciders and wines.

Coco Tang – 45 Bridlesmith Gate, Nottingham, NG1 2GN

Beneath the cobbles of Bridlesmith Gate lies a lavish cocktail den, its unassuming entrance marked only by the presence of a mysterious red lantern. Famed for their Mean Girls and Fight Club inspired cocktails, Coco Tang has been a leading name on Nottingham’s cocktail scene since 2008. If you’re in the mood for a boogie, this underground venue has a dance floor and a soundtrack of club classics. There’s also a Vietnamese roof garden and a dedicated table service area to enjoy.

Nottingham Secret Garden – 17 3/4 Trinity Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2AN

You may think you’re sick of outdoor drinking after months of no alternative, but a visit to the Nottingham Secret Garden could change your mind. Hidden down an alley way off Trinity Square, the Secret Garden offers an oasis to the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Lush foliage, twinkling fairy lights and wooden beams give this bar a magical aesthetic. The staff are friendly and attentive, and the cocktail menu is equal parts creative and delicious.

Hockley Arts Club – 20 Carlton Street, Nottingham, NG1 1NN

Hands down the most beautiful drinking venue in Nottingham! Hockley Arts Club has the wow factor with three exquisitely designed floors — Stockholm, the Blue Rooms and the Electric Garden — each with its own unique vibe and dedicated drinks menu developed by award-winning bartenders. You’ll need to make several visits to this venue before you can fully appreciate the variety and creativity of the cocktails available.

Das Kino – 22 Fletcher Gate, Nottingham, NG1 2FZ

For Nottingham students, Das Kino is synonymous with ping pong tables. The venue may be best known for its entertainment factor, but it also has a lot more to offer in terms of food and drink. This retro-styled bar has a selection of original gin & tonic creations on the menu, alongside its range of cocktails. If you get hungry, Das Kino’s pizzas have earned a cult-like following in the city!

The Lacehouse – Broadway, Nottingham, NG1 1PS

The Lacehouse is the perfect place for a lively night out with lots of dancing. Situated in a converted lace factory, this venue has personality to spare and an abundance of Instagram-worthy features, including neon light signs and a bath tub filled with pink balls. Sip your cocktail in rustic yet contemporary surroundings that give a nod to downtown Manhattan.

The Bodega – 23 Pelham Street, Nottingham, NG1 2ED

The go to venue for incredible live music if you want to witness the best up and coming musical talents in the UK before they get discovered. Over the last two decades, The Bodega has seen world-class acts such as George Ezra, Mumford & Sons and Hozier perform on its humble stage. In addition to regular gigs, this bar hosts club nights and bar nights every week, so there’s something for the dancers out there as well as more laidback drinkers.

Cottonmouth – 25 Goose Gate, Nottingham, NG1 1FE

Cottonmouth is another Hockley haunt you need to visit. Friendly and unpretentious, this cocktail bar prides itself on being ‘gimmick free’ and prefers to keep the focus on their high-quality drinks. The menu is made up of classic cocktails and house originals, like the customer favourite Pony Girl. Its low-key ambience makes Cottonmouth the ideal spot for a quiet drink, post-dinner or pre-show at Broadway.

Brass Monkey – 11 High Pavement, Nottingham, NG1 1HF

If you’re a fan of rum, you’ll already know Brass Monkey. It sells the largest collection of rum in the whole of Nottinghamshire — that’s right, not just the city, but the county. The owners have been busy during lockdown with a full refurbishment of the venue almost complete and I can’t wait to see the end result. Whatever the new face of Brass Monkey will look like, the venue has sworn to stick to its founding values: good times, good drinks and good people.

31K – 31 Goose Gate, Nottingham, NG1 1FE

31K brings you the dream duo you didn’t know you needed… until now. Cocktails and meatballs. Although this unconventional pairing may seem a little odd at first, loyal customers of 31K swear by it! Whether you take a ‘when in Rome’ approach to the meatballs or give them the side step, this bar promises quality drinks at great prices. The varied cocktail menu even has a page titled ‘Hangover’, a thoughtful addition for any visitors who might be searching for the ol’ hair of the dog.

Pepper Rocks – 12 Pepper Street, Nottingham, NG1 2GH

Pepper Rocks is a cocktail bar with its own hotdog stand outside. If that didn’t immediately sell this venue to you, the house cocktails are an absolute steal at £5 each until 10pm every day. The three-storey bar also offers vegan versions of all your favourite creamy cocktails, a god send for this lactose-intolerant blogger who can never resist a piña colada.

Go on then, hit me — which bars did I miss? If you’re a Notts local, I know you’re dying to tell me! Let me know your drinking hole recommendations in the comments below.

Don’t forget to check out my other Nottingham blogs before you go:

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