Don’t worry, I’m thinking of the Bee Gees classic* rather than the Metallica cover version.

Our American readers will no doubt have been wondering when I’d make my first reference to the Royal Wedding with which our Great Nation will soon be blessed. Harry and Meghan were in Nottingham this week, drawn no doubt by rumours of our own visit and the need to organise their own nuptials for a Sunday when beer is £2 a pint at Room With A Brew.

Nottingham centre.PNG
From the tourist site

The Town Hall never disappoints, particularly the view from the big Spoons near Old Market tram stop.

2023 Capital of Culture

We set off from there for curry, but there is nothing as distracting or appealing as the view into a cheery pub as nights draw in. Even a pub with paper teapots dangling in the windows.

Top teapots

So we succumbed to The Bell Beermat had recommended it, after all, and a Beermat stamp of approval carries weight in our household.

On at least two occasions, I’ve been asked by colleagues standing in the middle of Nottingham if there are any pubs. For which read

Are there any pubs better than the Spoons I’m standing outside“.

As it’s seemingly impossible for anyone to actually find Ye Olde Trip a second time, and advising a visit to Spanky Van Dyke’s would be treated with suspicion (wrongly, they sell Doom Bar), I always say,

Opposite the big building is the Bell.  It’s got a Bell on it. Go in there“.

Resist ! Resist !

Loads of history blah blah blah of course, most notably the takeover of Hardy & Hanson by Greene King a decade ago which signalled the death knell for Notts GK pubs in the Guide.

I don’t care who brews my beer, just how good it tastes.  At least Greene King haven’t knocked the rooms through yet.  We ignored the front rooms with tourists and went to the back bar where all the other middle-aged couples were at 4.30pm. Lots of them.

Mrs RM later treated us to some Chopin

Drawn by the lure of the Oakham, I correct myself at the bar and go for the Nottingham EPA.  That’s what Beermat did, after all.


Going against received wisdom, I often comment on how chatty Wetherspoons staff are. The staff here were beyond cheery, contributing to an atmosphere both lively and cosy. They may even have given me a CAMRA discount.  Not that that would cloud my judgement.

Not much food being served, just groups of friends chatting about fine dining options in  Stapleford and enjoying a soundtrack of obscure ’70s weirdness that Shazam revealed to be the new Jack White single.

Fresh flowers on the table, good sign

Alan writes on his blog about trips to the pub with his wife.  It’s a real and heartening feature of Nottingham pubs , even outside food hours, and means you get a much broader slice of life than you do in Cambridge or Shoreditch.

Many folk would think the cask range a bit dull, but I’d happily drink the EPA (NBSS 4) all day. Mrs RM had to be carefully steered away from the Punk IPA and the piano.

But to where ? 


*It really is.

25 thoughts on “FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

  1. There seems to be a bit of a revolt going on in GK pubs round here. The managers seem to be putting their feet down. You may recall in the Templar that there was only one GK beer on out of eight, the IPA which is mandatory for the managers. All the rest were from localish brewers, well Sheffield is only 30 miles away, apart from Tetley’s but there’s always an odd ball going to try some? Woodies in Headingley is the same, 14 cask beers and only 1 GK ale, don’t go saying it’s too many beers, I called in last Monday afternoon about 3pm and there were over two dozen folk in which I’m guessing is more than you’ll see all year in some of these off the beaten track places you visit on a Monday (if they are indeed open?) . The other GK pubs seem to be following suit, which is nice to see, and more to the point, it’s working.


  2. Nottingham epa and an Oakham? That’s a choice of two decent beers, which is two more than many pubs in the gbg.

    The bell is no more than ok as a pub. Did you look down the big hole?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The last time I was in Nottingham, including a visit to the Bell, there was a Morris Dancing festival in full flow in the city centre. And they had run out of cask IPA, but offered me the keg as a substitute, at which I demurred.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “As it’s seemingly impossible for anyone to actually find Ye Olde Trip a second time,”

    And I thought it was just us!

    A few years ago on one of our infrequent canal trips to Nottingham, we tried, and failed, to re-find The Trip even though we moored opposite the Canal House! We knew it wasn’t far away and having walked three sides of a rectangle, stopping in several pubs along the way, we finally caught sight of our intended destination just after closing time! If we’d taken the other side of the rectangle, we’d have been straight there!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. They’re all cover versions of Hemingway’s dynamite original.
        Though none are as bad as the exercable Parton/Rogers mash-up of his Islands in the stream

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The Green King pubs not selling much GK is matched by their Scottish outlets, which hardly ever seem to have Belhaven in them. Although that may be a deliberate long term plan to justify shutting that brewery as well.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. In Edinburgh at least, I think Stewart may now be the default choice of local regular brewery. Even the Spoons at the airport tend to have a couple of their beers on.


  6. I have took my wife into The Bell five times over the last four weeks,we always have Nottingham EPA AJBS 25.5.
    We love the pub even if we can not get a seat.
    I am not surprised that people were talking about fine dining in Stapleford,we have Tommy Tuckers for a great proper English all day breakfast,our Daughter worked there while training to work in a nursury,plus lots of other places that do fry ups
    There are loads of Takeaways and Vivo does look a bit posh,but we have never been in.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Directions to The Trip to Jerusalem from the Market Square.
    From the Joseph Else turn left and walk towards Friar Lane,cross Maid Marrion Way and carry straight on,when you see The Crafty Crow on your right turn left and walk downhill past The Castle Inn and Fothergills,when you get to the bottom the Trip is just round the corner to the right below Nottingham Castle.
    Hope that helps anyone who does want to visit Nottingham.

    Liked by 1 person

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