Canning Circus was once the industrial playground of Nottingham. Workers from Players and Raleigh would come in their thousands on payday. Today, many of those pubs have gone – but plenty still survive, supported by a vibrant neighbourhood of working professionals, students and migrants from across the world.
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You could start almost anywhere on this trail, as the walking distances are so short, but the Organ Grinder (1) sets the mood. Blue Monkey ales dominate the bar, along with craft beers. In the summer head out onto the roof terrace, in the winter you’ll feel the heat from the ample log burner.
Turn right onto Alfreton Road and as you cross Canning Circus you’ll see The Falcon (2). Again, there’s a real fire roaring away in the corner and an impressive selection of real ales. The cramped space has the feel of a micro pub, but that’s for later.
Walk across the car park to the “Godfather” of Canning Circus pubs. The Sir John Borlase Warren (3) stands proudly in the middle of what used to be a 7 way traffic junction. Inside you’ll find at least four Lincoln Green ales, and around four guests, often with one featured “tap takeover”. The impressive beer garden and roof terrace is well sheltered so can be enjoyed at any time of the year.
As you leave, look straight ahead or risk seeing the steaming student turd that is The Ropewalk across the way. Instead, admire the classic architecture of the buildings on Derby Road before stopping off at the Room With A Brew (4), the smallest and youngest pub on this trail. If it’s daytime or midweek, it may be worth checking opening times in advance.
Head back up Derby Road and cross to the Hand and Heart (5), arguably the highlight on this trail. Once you’ve decided which of the eight or so ales on tap, walk towards the back and step into the caves. Even if you’re not eating (and the food hee is excellent), make sure you look at the restaurant area.
Continuing up the hill, avert your gaze and ears from the cocophany emitting from the Raglan Road Irish bar and cross Canning Circus again. You’ll generally only be able to experience The Running Horse (6) on weekend evenings. This live music bar was once legendary – today it stil entertains with Americana and blues music.
Trent Barton runs frequent bus services from the City Centre and onwards to Beeston, Ilkeston, Derby and Heanor. Nottingham City Transport also runs many services via Canning Circus – look for Turquoise, Orange or Pink routes leaving the city.