"Meet you in the smoking area in Ride, yeah?"
Some of us were reared on the Jaeger-infused evenings of Ride Bar, and it’s with a heavy heart and a pickled liver that we say goodbye to the bogger. The banger-playing, joke-catching bar monkeys officially made the announcement on social media:
We at Ride Bar are sad to officially announce the end of an era, unfortunately this weekend will be our last open. We have @hameish__ djing on Saturday night, so come down for one last mad piss up and help us mourn. We'd like to say thank you so much to all the staff, regulars, customers and pigeons who have made Ride what it is today and made all of the years amazing! We'll miss you as much as you'll miss us I'm sure x
Nottingham heads are currently moping about the city, but that wake on Saturday will be a proper celebration of all the years of debauchery, table football, and falling down the spiral staircase. Since opening in 2004, Ride has acted as a crutch for the lost, the lonely, the party people, and will be sorely, sorely missed.
As we raise our liquor-filled glasses to the absolute Nottingham institution that was, we ask big boss man Martin Hill to take a little look back on the past thirteen years of shenanigans:
What was it like in the early days compared to now?
Well, when it opened you could still smoke inside, Trinity Square was a sixties carpark, busses stopped outside Moulin Rouge and people still wore shirts and shoes to the Lace Market. Oh, and the Works, which is now Red Hot Buffet, was a thing. Not a good thing. It was a pretty slow start for the first few years, Trinity Square was a building site, then the economy crashed.
The new units remained empty. The credit crunch lead to the decline of Hockley and the Lace Market (well, that and the stabbings) and people started to head up to our end of town as the Cornerhouse began to take off. It’s been great to see the resurgence in Hockley over the last few years. It’s sad what happened there ten years ago, but losing its red-rope-and-guestlist image was certainly a good thing. Fair play to all the independents who have worked hard to revamp the place!
What’s your favourite memory of Ride Bar?
Memory? That’s long gone! There’s been so many over the years. It’s been amazing to see the love for the place and the messages I’ve been getting on Facebook. Oh and a fair few awkward reminders too…
One thing that really sticks in my head is the day we re-opened after having to shut for a couple of weeks because I forgot to renew the booze license. The sign I put on the door mate it to Reddit and it turned out to be the greatest marketing stunt ever. Except it wasn’t a stunt, that genuinely happened. The other one was when quite a few of us woke up with the logo tattooed on our ankles!
You’ve seen loads of staff over the years; what were you looking for in the hiring process and who made the biggest mark on the bar?
Pretty simple really; we didn’t have a lot of space and had a lot of booze. So you had to be able to reach the top shelf. Oh, and be able to down a shot of Wray & Nephew
What about regulars?
We’ve had so many regulars. But there’s one in particular who’s been there since day one. I’m not going to mention any names, but cheers for everything Ken!
What was the most popular drink ordered in Ride?
Sadly, the Jaegerbomb. Christ, I’d have loved to have owned shares in the stuff when it hit peak Jaeger. We were selling over 100 bottles a week at one point. Snakebite has always been a staple too. What was more fun were the drinks that were ordered en masse that weren’t popular. Well, not for the people drinking them. The Village Idiot became a thing, so did the Death Bomb. Big shout out to the Bodycraft guys for that.
What was it about the bar that drew so many heads in?
I came back to Nottingham after spending quite a few years in the South West. Bowling into a bar in hoodies, flip-flops and boardshorts was a normal thing for me. Coming back home to Notts and getting turned away for not wearing a shit shirt or shoes seemed weird.
What I’d always wanted was for Ride is to be a local, smack-bang in the city centre; somewhere for people to come whether on a night out, or if they’ve got a few hours to kill in the daytime on their own. You’d always know someone in there. We didn’t judge people*. Our dress code was the opposite of everyone else’s. Everyone was welcome unless they were a dick. It was a nice position to be in not to have to pander to people just because they had money. Oh, and we probably didn’t charge enough for booze.
You lot were into snowboarding too…
I’m terrible at snowboarding, but it’s a big part of my life. The winter sports community is amazing. They also love booze a lot. Apres ski is famous worldwide. Perfect market to tap in to! Massive thanks to the Peoples Republic of Meribel Village too. There’s a lot of past customers and staff out there.
What’s the thing you’re most going to miss about the place?
The community we created! People have met their husbands and wives in Ride. I got asked a few years ago to make a genuine Village Idiot that went in a flask as part of a best man’s speech. People knew that if they’d come in after work, and we’d look after their stuff for them if they decided to stay out. It was a dysfunctional and fucked up family that kind of worked. And the staff; past and present. I’ve met some amazing people. Thank you.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to the mourning punters?
Well, the rumour mill has been turning. One thing I’d like to make clear is that I have not sold Ride. But, the last thirteen years have been emotional! Thank you to everyone who’s drank there, and everyone who’s become a part of the journey that this silly little bar has been on. Cheers.
*we still judged people
Ride Bar says goodbye and celebrates thirteen years of shenanigans on Saturday 8 July 2017