My 15 year old son has acquired a taste for death metal. Nothing wrong with that; I was into The Fall and Joy Division at his age.
On Tuesday we took Matt and his mate to Nottingham to see Architects, a metalcore (?)band actually younger than me. Pleasingly, also an opportunity to tick off the last new central Nottingham pub in the GBG. Actually, along with the Kean’s Head, it’s arguably the only central Nottingham pub (within the ring road) in the Beer Guide, which is something.
He should probably have been studying for something, but there’s no education like exposure to a big city on a school night. Matt went to Camden the other week, but Nottingham feels like a really big city to a 15 year-old, even on a cold Tuesday in November. Bruce Dickinson was born here you know.
Central Nottingham is a real place, with guitar shops, pavement vomit and bubble tea. The boys were amazed (and relieved) that our GBG tick was a burger place though.
It says a lot about the way real ale has crept into the dining mainstream that the sole new GBG entry is Annie’s Burger Shack, in the gorgeous Lace Market. As Matt noted, it’s not much of a shack.
More like a posh Pizza Hut, except with burgers. And ten interesting real ales. Choosing one of those ten when you’ve been directed from the entrance to a table is even harder than when you’re standing at the bar, so it’s lucky I could see Charnwood’s Vixen through the clutter.
The burgers and chilli were named after Notts legends. The TinderStickInsect Burger and Ed Dough Balls were great, almost BrewDog standard, while the Vixen was Beer Guide standard too. I’m not sure how it was that good, as although it was packed with students, it wasn’t selling much real ale. There’s a theme emerging here.
The staff were wearing Punk IPA t-shirts, and if there’s a craft beer revolution it’s being led by one beer. The 21st century millennial wowsers were all on the Coke though. A soundtrack from the La’s and Jackson 5 was suitably unchallenging.
The GBG tells me non-diners can enjoy a drink at the bar. Good luck with that Simon. I’d love to know what Alan Winfield makes of it.
Nottingham looked great, and full of an energy you just don’t get in Cambridge or Oxford. The famed Rock City had a different sort of energy too, with a much younger crowd than the denim-jacketed bunch we saw at Camden for modern vikings Amon Amarth.
It’s a rite of passage to go your first gig on your own, but (almost uniquely) I would have been a standout oldie at the Architects gig*. So I went for a walk and admired the tiling.
Ten minutes later, I had a text message. “Can’t get a drink. Only beer“. It took some explaining that a 15 year old was allowed to ask for a bottle of water. They really ought to teach this stuff in school.
Amazingly, their hearing seemed unimpaired by the whole experience, though their revulsion at the state of the Rock City toilets showed they have some life left to live.
*My first gig was Cliff Richard, by the way. Did me no permanent harm.