Written by Lauren Pinkney

Nottingham students are spoiled for choice when it comes to a good night out. From your classic student clubs to instagrammable hidden bars, it can be hard to know where to start. Luckily, Unifresher have compiled a handy little list of the best bars and clubs in Nottingham for students.

Don’t just play it safe with Spoons (although that’s always a good shout!).

Get cracking with this boozey bucket list instead!

1. Hockley Arts club

[Photo property of HockleyArtsClub.com]

The Hockley Arts Club showcases Nottingham’s secret bar culture at its best. Hidden down an unsuspecting alleyway in Lace Market, Hockley Arts Club offers three levels of gorgeous design and weird and wonderful cocktails – perfect for the gram!

Starting from the ground level ‘Stockholm’ room, Hockley Arts Club looks like a standard bar, but explore up to the ‘Blue Room’ and you’ll discover intimate booths, chic decor and table service.

The top floor, however, is where the real magic is. The suitably named ‘Electric Garden’ immerses you into a cosy hideaway experience, encapsulated by bubble gum pink cherry blossom trees and strewn in fairy lights.

With cocktails priced from £7.95 and sharers ranging in price from £20 to £35, with the ‘Punch Royale’, this might be a more expensive night out, but the creative drinks and unique interior makes this is a must for any Nottingham student.

2. Rock City

[photo property of Rock-city.co.uk]

Are you even a Notts student if you haven’t experienced a night at Rock City?

Look, we get it, the music is mostly cheesy, overplayed, mainstream student anthems… and that’s why it’s so great! This is the place to go for all the latest in pop and to hear some old timeless jams as well!

Crisis is the place to be for Uni of students on Wednesdays with tickets often being sold out. Tuned Thursdays offers 2-4-1 drinks so it’s ideal for students balancing grocery shopping and getting tipsy. Plus, ‘Get Lucky’ nights on Friday not only offer free entry before 11 but £2.50 cocktails all night.

To top it off, Rock City also hosts the best live acts in town, recently CHVRCHES blessed the club with their synth pop tunes and the Kaiser Chiefs also paid a visit on their UK tour – it really is the place to be to see your favourite acts play!

Rock City is never going to be a hotspot for fans of less mainstream music or for those looking for a slightly classier night out, but it’s the place to be on Wednesdays and Thursdays and offers a cheap and cheerful student night out – can’t go wrong with that!

3. Penny Lane

[photo property of Nottingham Post]

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside!

Penny Lane is the latest creation from the team behind Hockley Arts Club and Das Kino. It brings all the joy of childhood summer hols and retro amusement arcades to Nottingham (plus booze!) and that’s why it’s made it onto our list for the best bars and clubs in Nottingham.

Offering quirky cocktails from £7.45, Penny Lane sets itself apart by offering cocktails on tap, with one being ‘Central Perk’, an interesting mixture of vodka, coffee liqueur & cold brew coffee topped with whipped cream and caramel.

Or if you feel like dragging your friends into trying out some of these barmy bevs, sharing cocktails are priced from £24.50. ‘Hook a Duck’ will be a sure favourite with your drinking buddies. Let’s just say it does what it says on the tin…

Penny Lane gives you the opportunity to try your luck on 2p coin pusher machines and grabbers as well as an Arabian derby where you and your mates roll balls to race camels.

Penny Lane is the place to go for a bit of fun and games, cocktails with a twist and cool retro vibes.

4. Ocean

[photo property of Student-Cribs.com]

Good old-fashioned cheesy pop in all its embarrassing galore.

That’s why Notts students both love and hate Ocean.

If you base your ideal night out on how many tracks from the High School Musical and Grease albums are played, then taking a dip will be right up your street!

Previously, Ocean suffered from being cash only, but now, with all its bars decked out in contactless card machines, there really is no downside in a night here – apart from getting struck down with a case of ‘early-naughties-nostalgia-itis’.

Freshers will be introduced to the joys of Ocean early on with ‘Baywatch’ themed nights and, throughout the year, Ocean commits itself to hosting the best fancy dress and themed nights for students in all their debauchery.

In a nutshell, it’s a bit of a laugh and you get to listen to the music that you secretly listen to anyway even if you don’t admit it!

Don’t be too proud, just get that ugly Hawaiian shirt on and see what all the fuss is about!

5. Boiler Maker

[photo property of CultureCalling.com]

The Boiler Maker bar in Hockley is hidden in plain sight – as a boiler shop! This little gem is easy to pass on the street and not give it a second thought, but step in and you’ll be directed into a toilet with a secret door – leading straight to a sophisticated cocktail bar! It’s easy to see how this place made it onto our list of top bars and clubs in Nottingham.

Secret doors might sound a bit Scooby Doo but the drinks in this place are anything but scary. For example, ‘Old Lady Marmalade’ is an interesting combo of Early Grey gin, marmalade, lemonade and ruby port. The Boiler Maker charm comes in part due to their out-of-the-box presentation style. ‘Old Lady Marmalade’ is served in crockery, the ‘Bloody jalMary’ is served in a pot with a tiny poppadom and ‘Snoop Dogg’s Herbal Gin ’n’ Juice’ is presented in a juice carton.

With most of the drinks priced at £8, this may be a slightly more expensive choice for students, but for the ambience, the secret entrance and the creative cocktail menu, it’s definitely a price to pay for a special occasion.

6. Ink

[photo property of clubink.co.uk]

If cocktail bars are too chill for you, and mainstream music is too mainstream, Ink might be the perfect night out for you.

Ink boasts 6 different ‘rooms’, styled as individual clubs in themselves. The main floor aka ‘The Trash Mansion’ is plastered in graffiti and serves up an audio and visual spectacle every night to give party-goers the ultimate urban rave experience.

If you fancy a break from the mayhem, then the ‘Red Room’ offers a more intimate party experience with stylish wall to ceiling red mirrors. In contrast, ‘Platinum’ acts as an East End themed penthouse with neon lighting displays and swanky seating.

Chances are you’ll find somewhere in this mega-club where you can happily dance the night away!

Fridays and Saturdays are often sold out as the club hosts ‘Ink Sessions’ and ‘Wavy Saturdays’ for Trent and Uni of students alike. Tickets range from £5 – £6 and drinks can be as cheap as £2 on special nights.