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Undercover Once Again: Top Bars & Clubs in Nottingham

Home > Nottingham > Bars | Clubs | Cocktail Bars | Pubs
by John Burns (subscribe)
I am a writer and teacher, out and about in the world but with Nottingham never far from my heart.
Published November 18th 2014
Notts' secrets exposed
We recently brought you details of a clandestine trip around the secret bars of Manchester city centre. Now it's time for you to join us once again, this time some 60 miles southeast in the East Midlands city of Nottingham.


There's no need for disguises or funny masks; that is, unless you really want to! All that is required for this trip is a sense of adventure, a keen eye and room in your belly for at least four bevvies!

Boilermaker



We begin our voyage into the underworld of Nottingham's nightlife scene in Hockley. Renowned in the city for its cavalcade of top notch bars and clubs, Hockley provides its nocturnal visitors with an array of options for their evening entertainment.


When walking downhill on Carlton Street, you are advised to keep an eye out for the first bar on our list. Just before the junction with Broad Street, look to your right: if you see a shop-front selling domestic boilers, you're in the right place.

Despite appearances, this is no place to come in search of a central heating upgrade. Instead it is the venue of one of Nottingham's most intriguing bars. Inside, the place is low on décor and high on atmosphere; sample one of the bar's famous cocktails and take it all in. Try the Bloody Marley (that's no typo) if you're looking for a classic drink with a unique twist.

Coco Tang



It's time for a short walk. Leaving Boilermaker, turn left and head back up the hill towards town. Cross the tram tracks, make a quick right past the Tescos then take a left onto Bridlesmith Gate.

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By day, Bridlesmith Gate is one of the most charming shopping streets in the city, and the place to be if you're looking for some new designer threads. By night it's a little quieter; and so is perfectly placed for hiding a secret bar or two.

Walking along Bridlesmith Gate towards the Broadmarsh Centre, look out for a strange looking lantern hanging above a doorway. This is Coco Tang.

A pleasingly atmospheric basement bar, Coco Tang is big enough to accommodate a lively crowd, yet intimate enough to differentiate it from the chain bars you might find elsewhere in the city. Coco Tang is predominately a cocktail bar, so take a while to peruse the menu and make your choice. The Gunpowder Tea comes particularly highly recommended!

A quick side note: Coco Tang was known as The Hippo Club back in the day, a club that was renowned for having its very own spectral patron. Several visitors to The Hippo Club reported seeing a spooky Civil War era soldier loitering around the dancefloor, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled when its time to cut a move or two.

Pepper Rocks



Turning right out of Coco Tang and walking a short distance back along Bridlesmith Gate brings you to a small side street known as Pepper Street. It is here that you will find bar number 3 on our list; Pepper Rocks.


A low key establishment, the Pepper Rocks website describes the décor as being on a "retro industrial style theme". The bar also boasts outside terraces on both floors so guests can enjoy themselves during those all too brief Nottingham summers.

The bar offers cheap cocktails during its generous happy hour which runs for four hours every night of the week, so your wallet won't mind if you try a few out.

Hidden Bar



From Bridlesmith Gate its time to walk back into town in search of the last bar on our list: Hidden Bar. At the north end of Bridlesmith Gate, turn left and head down towards Market Square, before turning right onto King Street and following the road up hill.

After quickly paying tribute at the statue of Brian Clough, continue up the hill and turn left onto Upper Parliament Street. Follow the street past the Royal Centre to the Alea Casino.

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Don't let the outside appearance fool you. After all, where better to hide a secret bar than amidst the flashing lights and fast times of a casino? Its location also allows it to remain open until 5am every day of the week, which is good news if you're up for a late one.

Just remember not to wander over the poker tables when you're feeling a little worse for wear, and if you do, remember to win!
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Why? Because hidden treasures are worth the hunt
Where: Nottingham City Centre
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