Hiding away in the city’s bustling streets are an abundance of secret bars, café’s and activities proving why Nottingham is so unique. Luckily, we’ve been able to hunt most of them down so that you can spend your time enjoying everything that the city has to offer.
The Boiler Maker
Located on Carlton Street, Nottingham’s original secret bar is hidden behind a broom cupboard in a fake façade of a boiler shop. Situated behind this glum exterior is a large, dimly lit space with boho décor and vintage sofas. Featuring quirky names such as Pornstar Mankini, Gin Rickey ‘n Morty, and Strong Gindependent Woman, the cocktails cost around £8, but they do also offer non-alcoholic options.
Location: 36b Carlton Street, Hockley
The Nottingham Secret Garden
Hidden off Trinity Walk, this open-air beer garden has been transformed into a concrete garden of trees, grass and a mixture of fake rose bushes and sunflowers. Visitors can sit on wooden benches and deckchairs, and the toilet?
On cooler evenings, customers can still enjoy the aesthetics of the garden thanks to heaters and blankets. The laid-back roof top boasts a menu of Pimm’s, gin and tonic, cider and beer, glasses of prosecco, cocktails and four ales on tap.
Location: 17 Trinity Walk, NG1 2AN
A hidden gem waiting to be found in the heart of Hockley, you can try and find this venue behind a lost property office down a small alleyway. True to its name, the lost property theme envelopes the venue with quirky décor including stacks of chest of drawers, old fashioned suitcases, hanging objects and lost keys.
All of this leads to a stunning illuminated bar where cocktails are served from £7.50. It’s advisable to book in advance to guarantee entry.
Location: 7 ½ Carlton Street, Hockley
A hidden bar within a hidden bar! The Lost Caves is a part of Lost Property and can be found a level below. Head down the stairs, and you’ll soon find yourself amongst sandstone caves, colour changing lighting and candlelight. The focus at this bar is Gin, which is served in frosted glasses, however beer, wine, and other drinks are still available.
Location: 9 Carlton St NG1 1NL
The Hockley Arts Club
This is the Hockley hideaway accessed down a passageway. It houses three floors of creative space for social eating and drinking, each with their own unique theme. The top floor – the Electric Garden – is perhaps the most popular floor due to its pink blossom trees and Japanese artwork. With its own private entrance, toilets and sharing tables, it’s available to hire as a private space. Their speciality cocktails include Twister (with the actual lollipop) and the exotic Mambo #5.
Location: 20A Carlton Street, Nottingham NG1 1NN
Not secret, but definitely hidden and easy to miss. Nottingham’s highest roof top bar is at the very top of The Cornerhouse. Open to drink the afternoon or night away, this bar provides perfect views of the City Centre and beyond. Alternatively, you can admire the bars elegantly furnished Art Deco pink, gold and blue style, velvet booths or chandelier. As the name suggests, they specialise in gin, cocktails and prosecco with prices starting for around £4-5.
Location: 3rd Floor, The Cornerhouse, NG1 4DB
The Chameleon Arts Café
Perhaps one of Nottingham’s best kept secrets is this live music venue – hidden down the passageway off Angel Row. The only clue that it’s there is a board at the entrance with a sign pointing down the “Creepy Alley.” The intimate venue has hosted the likes of Royal Blood, Sleaford Mods and Blossoms. It is a music lovers haven with a tasty craft beer menu also available.
Location: 17 Angel Row, Nottingham NG1 6HL
City of Caves
Nottingham’s underground sandstone maze features over 500 original caves underneath the streets that date back to the dark ages. As part of the tour you will visit the Anderson air raid shelter used during WWII, and explore the remnants of Drury Hill Victorian slums. Adult tickets are £7.95 and tours start at roughly 10:30am to 5:00pm.
Location: High Pavement, NG1 1HF
Now the secrets are out, what are you waiting for? Go and discover Nottingham for yourself and see what else you can find…
By Sarah Ward
Feature Image: Meg Chadderton