Whilst you might know Nottingham for its vibrant nightlife and affiliations with Robin Hood, the city also is home to a bustling music scene. If you’re on the hunt for a good time and are desperate to dust off your dancing shoes, have a look at the best venues for gigs in Nottingham below!
A Nottingham classic, Rock City is easily one of the best spots for gigs in Nottingham. Going strong since 1980, generations of Nottingham students have flocked to the venue in hopes of finding a good time. Aside from club nights with live DJs, just a few artists that have headlined here are Guns N Roses, Nirvana, Arctic Monkeys and David Bowie. But if you need more convincing? The venue managed to win the much sought after ‘Best Major Club’ award at the Live Music Business Awards back in 2019! If you want to see what upcoming artists are taking to the stage, be sure to check out their comprehensive gig guide here!
They say good things come in small packages, and The Bodega is no exception! Opening in 1999, don’t let the small capacity of just 200 people fool you! The Bodega is one of the best spots for gigs in Nottingham. Found on Pelham Street, The Bodega is a powerhouse of a venue, hosting many a budding superstar before they skyrocketed to fame, as well as running lively club nights and a fairy light-flooded twinkling beer garden. If you’d like to see their gig guide and have a look at some of their upcoming events, click here.
Located in the quirky Hockley area, Rough Trade may be the new kid on the block in comparison to the other venues on this list, but don’t let that fool you. Since its opening in 2014, Rough Trade has become a much-loved hotspot for gig-goers. The indie record shop attracts a host of established and upcoming performers to play live events. Just some of the upcoming artists playing the venue are Jack Flanagan, The Underclass and Life.
If you’re a student from Nottingham, you might be surprised at this entry. Whilst the Nottingham Contemporary might be known as an art gallery by day, by night it transforms into a gig hosting venue. What’s even cooler? Sometimes the venue’s lineup is specifically curated to support an ongoing art exhibition, so you can get your culture shot as well as literal shots, all in one place. Petition to start calling the gallery the Nottingham Convenient?
Dubbing itself as ‘Nottingham’s funkiest European-style café bar’, Jamcafé hosts a variety of events from gigs to open mic nights, DJ sets, comedy nights and more. You’ll struggle to find a venue that takes its beer as seriously as this one! The venue offers ‘10 rotating keg lines and 60+ bottles and cans from some of the most innovative breweries in the UK and the rest of the world.’ So if you’re after a boozy boogie with the option for (vegan-friendly!) nibbles, Jamcafé is definitely for you!
Rising from the ashes of RKO Sports and Media Bar, Rescue Rooms is a staple for any Nottingham gig-goer. With a capacity of just 450, the venues are intimate and welcoming. There’s even a bar and patio area to relax and meet new people after a gig if that’s your thing. Not to name drop, but there have been some pretty huge acts playing here… including The Killers, Calvin Harris, Stormzy, The Libertines and London Grammar.
Last on our list of best venues for gigs in Nottingham is the Motorpoint Arena. Holding an impressive 10,000 seats, the arena is one of the UK’s top entertainment venues. The Motorpoint Arena is not just great for gigs too! It also hosts some of the best names in comedy and sport. It’s understandable why people flock from across the city to visit this top tier venue!
If none of the acts playing at these amazing venues take your fancy, don’t fret! Take a look at our article ’20 things to do in Nottingham as a student’ for more inspiration!