Classic Station Pubs #3: Nottingham

I suspect Forest fans are currently thinking their season might be set to improve with the news that Derby are going to lose 12 points and replace them at the foot of the Championship.

Administration means The Rams are in big trouble and it was great to hear Gary Neville of Manchester United fame let us all know about the problems facing Championship clubs on the box tonight.

Of course, Birmingham can look down from the heady heights of 11th but all Championship clubs know the threat of liquidation is just round the corner so maybe football is finally going to reap what it sowed back in 1992 from the likes of Neville’s mob et al set up a game that coined it in for a few.

However, my reader hasn’t tuned in for a sports blog, Minneapolis Dave wants to hear about missing beermats, empty daytime drinking dens and of course, pubs he can visit close to a train station.

Nottingham can be added to his list for his next jaunt Dick and the rest of the Southworth clan as they ‘bask in cask.’

Nottingham has long had a cracking boozer in close proximity with its station as 672 – The Vat & Fiddle NG2 1NB is an Art Deco classic and the Castle Rock brewery tap to boot.

So not only have you got the Art Deco look but you’ve also got the iconic blue tower of Castle Rock which you can sit and look at from just outside the station.

It was early evening when I rolled up on a Thursday and there were a smattering of punters inside and out although Mark Shirley will be pleased to note two old boys came and picked up a plain white board for some kind of pub game as they sat down with their pints.

It’s always fairly laid back in the VAT (as it’s known to its friends) and this was no exception with the barman happy to be snapped as he pulled a point of Screech Owl (Castle Rock) and a bloke with a magnificent beard was in jolly mood as the place just ticked along nicely.

(station concourse)

Of course, there is now a closer option as a converted Edwardian cabbies locker and rest room next to the main station entrance is selling amber nectar.

673 – BeerHeadz Nottingham NG2 3AS is part of the small independent chain with another couple of pubs in the Nottinghamshire region and this one apparently has capacity for 36 punters inside.

It was table service, which is their prerogative of course, but I’m not a massive fan of it.

Nonetheless, the barmaid was incredibly friendly and helpful and they weren’t stacked out so service was pretty swift.

A very good point of Karpo (Neepsend) was in line with the whole day

as a fantastic selection of cask, and all in good nick, meant Nottingham has some cracking pubs.

Two lads in the corner were having a whale of a time and working their way through the bar whilst a bloke I had just seen in the VAT and Fiddle was also perched on a seat…maybe he is blogging at this exact moment on those two pubs and putting up a surreptitious picture of me…

A young couple (yes, young people go to pubs you know) were aiming to impress and the lad was waxing lyrical about Clifton being the biggest council estate in Europe and the beer was starting to flow.

My train was looming and with Mrs BB picking me up at Willington Station I thought I should probably get on it..

Nottingham has some fantastic beer to drink and some great looking pubs but, like many other ‘post covid’ cities, the daytime drinkers appear to have disappeared in any great numbers…will they ever return?

12 thoughts on “Classic Station Pubs #3: Nottingham

  1. We made it to the VAT & Fiddle, but it was very quiet in the early evening and my pint of Screech Owl was very pleasant (I also had a pint of one of the more seasonal brews which was also good!). On a busy night I’m sure it would be a great, proper pub.

    We didn’t make it to BeerHeadz!

    Overall, I’m quite pleased that we have visited a few of the same pubs in Nottingham and that there’s some we’ll can seek out next time we’re there on the boat…in about 5 – 6 years time (based on previous experiences!)

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I can confirm that it gets well rammed on Saturday afternoons when Luton Town fans are here. In fact one time I went in there about 45 minutes before kick off at Meadow Lane and walked straight back out again, as there was no way I was going to get served. No doubt this also applies when other teams provide the opposition, but I’m just speaking from experience.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I only have a handful of cities that I haven’t visited for pub crawls: Bristol, Falmouth, Birmingham and Nottingham. Your posts, and RM’s, have convinced me I am missing out on some great pubbing in all four of them. Loved this series on Nottingham.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Vat & Fiddle has certainly found its way into a couple of my itineraries over the years prior to a train home! Agree that Nottingham’s tram system has a better network than the one in Birmingham, although I am hopeful that more Midland Metro lines will be grafted on before too long. Cheers, Paul

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m looking forward to the Dudley extension as that offers some serious Black Country boozing opportunities 🍺🍺 best beer of the day was definitely in the cross keys, which probably doesn’t feature on many ale trails so a nice bonus


  4. I can confirm that The Brewery Tap at Peterborough is another classic station pub BB…noting it is probably a 2 min walk from the station. I entered full of hope at around 12.15 on Saturday and returned full of despair at around 5.15. A bad day of the office that’s for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. (Late again)

    Great post. Nottingham has a very consistent collection of pubs like the VAT dating back 20 years or so when Castle Rock came to the fore.

    Oddly most of the top pubs are outside the inner ring road, particularly just west in Canning Circus.

    Most of the newer Beer Guide pubs are in the gritty suburbs like Arnold and Carlton, perfect areas for you to explore !

    Liked by 1 person

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