Making the most of Meadow Lane
This depends where you are coming from – if you find yourself right outside Meadow Lane and fancy a few drinks and possibly a bite to eat before entering the ground, you can go into the Meadow Lane Sports Bar which is just to the right of the main ticket office (away fans are generally not allowed).
If you prefer to wander out a little but still remain within close proximity, then you have a selection of pubs and bar within a few hundred metres of the stadium. There’s the Trent Navigation Inn (aka the Navi), which is on Meadow Lane – the road – itself and serves a good selection of beers, some great food and also has a great beer garden.
Venturing further up but still remaining on this side of the river Trent you have the Embankment and the Riverbank bars, and if you don’t mind crossing over the bridge, there’s the Southbank, which is one of the city’s finest sports bars.
While there you have a selection of restaurants and takeaway, one of which is Café Pizza and is arguably one of the best in Nottingham. If you fancy a flutter there’s also a Ladbrokes on the corner, and if you like your cricket as well you could do worse then have a pint at the Trent Bridge Inn.
If you’ve taken the train and have got off at the station, just across from the front of the station down Queensbridge Road is the Vat and Fiddle situated next door to the Castle Rock microbrewery. There is also the Waterfront complex of bars (including a Wetherspoons outlet), which is across the road and just a short walk from the train station.
On London Road, you can also pop in to Hooters, a restaurant and bar chain known worldwide for its waiting staff clad in the brand’s distinctive uniform, and it also does some delicious food, serves alcohol and is very sport-orientated. That said it might be worth doing this after the game when you can let your hair down a bit more.
And of course, once inside the ground, you can still get yourself some traditional stadium food, like sausage rolls, pasties and Bovril, while enjoying a beer or two. Just remember you can’t take it into the stands (stating the obvious but best to make sure!).
Whether you want to drown your sorrows following your team’s demolition or toast to a great victory, you can retrace your steps and visit the places above, or you can catch a bus into Nottingham and make the most of the evening.
There is something for everyone in Nottingham, so I’ll list some of the most popular activities you can do while in the East Midlands’ biggest and best city:
Catch a movie – In the Cornerhouse complex, just off Upper Parliament Street (where the Victoria shopping centre is) and about five minutes’ walk from the Market Square, there is a big Cineworld that shows all of the latest and biggest films. If you’re into your indie films, then there’s a Broadway cinema in the Hockley area of town.
Watch some hockey – The National Ice Centre – also known as the Capital FM Arena – is situated in Nottingham, and is home to one of the finest ice hockey teams in the country, the Nottingham Panthers. Their games tend to be on Saturday and Sunday evenings so you might be able to catch some icy action right after the Notts game.
Eat some food – You are spoilt for choice here. The City boasts hundreds of restaurants serving virtually every genre of food under the sun. You name it, Nottingham’s got it. Aside from the usual suspects of pub grub, Italian, Chinese and Indian, you also have a selection of places that do Thai, Malaysian, Moroccan, Korean, Mexican and Caribbean. Just tap what you fancy into a search engine and off you go.
Alternatively, if you fancy a bit of everything, there are some good buffet places within the city, such as May Sum and Peachy Keens on Upper Parliament Street, just off the Maid Marian Way roundabout, and Red Hot World Buffet in the Cornerhouse complex.
If I’m allowed to slip in a personal recommendation – tucked away inside an area of Nottingham called Broadway, deep inside the Lace Market, you will find the legendary Annie’s Burger Shack, which is one of the best burger joints in the country. If you don’t come to Nottingham very often, believe me, go down, you will not regret it.
Hit the town – Again, there are so many options there that it would take forever to list every possible choice. I’ll draw on personal experience here and list some of my favourite places.
Usually I’ll start the evening one of two ways – option one is on the outskirts of town at the Waterfront, where I will pay the Canalhouse a visit. They have a massive selection of reasonably priced real ales and fancy beers and do some good food. Oh, and it also has a canal running through it, which is quite novel. Alternatively I’ll begin in Market Square where I will head to a Wetherspoons, either the Joseph Else on the square itself or the Roebuck Inn on St James’s Street, both of which offer a good selection of beers and do some nice simple food.
Then I will move on to the Lace Marker, home to a multitude of nice, upmarket bars. Here, you should check out Pitcher and Piano, a bar that shocks a lot of people because it’s located inside a deconsecrated church. All the bars there are worth a visit, but they can be a bit pricey. From there I will head down into Hockley, where just across the road from the Broadway cinema there is a bar called Wax, which does a selection of nice cocktails and some great beers too.
Then it’s a case of picking your final destination for the night. Assuming it’s a Saturday night, I will either go to Oceana, a big hulking club that you cannot miss as it’s advertised with a giant towering planet-type sculpture with “Oceana” written across it. Arguably Nottingham’s finest club, it gives you the choice of several rooms, which you can flit in and out of at will, and is always a great experience.
Alternatively, if I’m in the mood for a more casual night, I’ll head to Rock City, which is near the Cornerhouse. This place has three rooms – the main hall which plays rock and metal, the Basement, which has more niche heavy metal, and the Black Cherry Lounge, which specialises in pop, cheese, classics and hip-hop. The booze is also pretty cheap, so you can have a full-on night out on about £20 in there.
Do you need help finding 'Meadow Lane'? Check out the Pride of Nottingham guide - here (includes a map).