The Alternative Guide to Nottingham – Where to Eat, Shop and Play

There’s a very good reason why we chose Nottingham as the first launch location for Snizl. This city is a treasure trove of local bars, restaurants, shops and cafes – all with something to say.

As we delved deeper in Nottingham’s independent scene, discovering the hidden gems of the city, we aren’t ashamed to say we fell in love with a load of them. If you’re not already familiar with these names – sign up to Snizl and check out what they’ve got to offer.

1. Cobden Chambers is tucked away off one of the main thoroughfares in the city centre, which means that if you weren’t looking for it, you wouldn’t even know it is there. As you venture through the understated entranceway you emerge into a large courtyard that acts as the perfect suntrap on a hot day. Here you’ll find a community of independent, creative businesses that make and sell everything from boutique fashion items, to home accessories. Arrive on the right day and you may find pop-up food vendors, a market or unique street art taking place in the courtyard.

2. Another brilliant place to spend your hard earned cash is Focus Gallery. With a heritage of selling arts and crafts from around the UK since 1971, this will quickly become your go-to place for gifts. Regular exhibitions throughout the year provide the perfect excuse to visit, or you could sign up to one of the workshops or the jewellery school to learn a new DIY skill.

3. After a bit of shopping there is nothing like stopping for a tasty treat, and The Pudding Pantry is the perfect place to indulge yourself. You’ll find a varied menu that includes breakfast, lunch and a wide selection of teas and coffee, but as the name suggests the puddings are the star of the show here. Best of all they don’t judge when you skip straight to dessert!

4. Independent record shop Rough Trade chose Nottingham as the location for their fourth opening – so they too saw the alternative side of the city. The music store, which could previously only be found in London and New York, not only sell a variety of the most exciting underground music around, they also regularly have some of the best live acts playing there in the onsite bar.

5. If film is more your thing, Broadway lies just across the road from Rough Trade. Another independently run celebration of creativity, Broadway is a cinema and café bar rolled into one. Showing the best indie films alongside major releases, you can always find something everyone will want to watch. Play your cards right, and you could be seated in Screen 4, which has been designed by Sir Paul Smith, who is (apparently) a regular visitor.


6. Attention gamers! The National Videogame Arcade is three floors of exhibitions about videogames from years gone by, but the best part is they are all playable. Learn about the history of the hobby, see how games work, find out how they’re made or just battle with your friends on the classic arcade machines.

7. If you liked the sound of that, [ALT] Gaming Lounge should also be right up your street. They have a huge selection of retro consoles, the latest systems, and board games too. Got a competitive streak? Regular competitions mean you can battle against friends or strangers alike.

8. If all this reading has made you hungry then it’s probably time to visit The Cheese Shop. For nearly twenty years this family-run delicatessen has been providing the people of Nottingham with a selection of over 200 British cheeses. As well as a bite to eat you can also find some unusual and quirky food-based gift items and ingredients from around the world.

9. Fancy some wine to go with your cheese? Weavers Independent Wine and Spirit Merchants is a fantastic treasure trove of some of the most exquisite and exclusive wines and spirits. However what many people don’t know is that they also hold some of the best tasting events around. Hosted by the family that have owned Weavers for four generations, each event covers a different theme or type of drink and will leave you bursting with knowledge.

10. To finish off, Pepper Rocks is a bar and creperie tucked away in what first appears to be a loading bay for a large department store. Those brave enough to venture down and find the entrance are rewarded with an intimate setting to sample some of the best cocktails in Nottingham. The perfect place to finish off such a busy day exploring the best local gems Nottingham can offer.

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