This trail is more of a hardcore bar crawl, especially if you opt for all six venues. Like the buildings in this part of town, you’ll see the new and the old, tasting both real ale and craft beers.
Starting at Carlton Street at the top of Hockley is the Six Barrel Drafthouse (1). At busy times, this place can be rammed, but be patient and look upwards while you’re queueing to select your ale. The crowds here seem to disappear as fast as they gather – and waiting ten minutes can secure you a table.
Out of the door, turn right and head down Carlton Street and right again onto Stoney Street for a legendary Nottingham bar The Angel Microbrewery (2). Since its complete refurbishment in 2016, this place is far more tolerable than they days when you’d literally stick to the floor. As the name suggests, craft beer is brewed on site – often unpasteurised, so don’t be put off by a cloudy pint.
As you walk out you may be tempted by the hearty smells form the Lace Market Fish Bar – but you’re less than halfway through this trail. Head up Warser Gate and left along St Mary’s Gate, glancing skywards to see the sharp contrast of old and new buildings before arriving at the Kean’s Head (3). If you’ve been craving real ale, you’ll find a large selection of Castle Rock beers here and rotating guest ales. In the winter, wrap up to avoid the icy blast from the door.
Turn right and right again onto High Pavement, and you’ll soon see the old church across the road which is now home to the Pitcher and Piano (4). The sheer size of the interior is impressive, but scale is sometimes unfortunately matched by slow service.
If it’s too busy, continue along High Pavement, carefully crossing Fletcher Gate. Just to the left you’ll see The Cross Keys (5), a far more traditional watering hole. Navigation Beers dominate the bar – of varying colours and strengths, and all brewed less than a mile away. Be sure to look for the painting of Byron Clough (and that’s not a spelling error).
Walk up Fletcher Gate, and look carefully for the alleyway just before the Ibis Hotel for your final stop at The Herbert Kilpin (6). Like the Angel, this place is geared up more for craft beers than real ale – though is far less hipster than it’s trendy brother next door, The Junkyard. If you’ve made it this far and managed a pint in every venue, well done!
Virtually all of Nottingham City Transport’s City Loop services stop on Fletcher Gate, just steps away from The Herbet Kilpin and the Six Barrel Drafthouse (continue to George Street stop)
Nottingham Express Transit runs frequent tram services from the Lace Market stop to Hucknall, Clifton, Beeston and Chilwell. If you’re travelling by train you can also connect with this service at Nottingham station.