Bradley Wiggins

10 Nottingham Watering Holes Where You Can Get Your Game On

27 February 18 words: Natalie Mills

We checked out the ancient, the retro and the downright filthy. Get right competitive with your mates, just try not to punch each other... 

Das Kino 
Ping Pong
At Das Kino, it’s fine to yell “BALLS” when you lose. With a trio of bookable ping pong tables, this laid back bar is our fave place to get a sweat on. Turn up with bags of energy and Matrix-like moves to avoid the pongers flying into someone’s pint – unless you’re playing beer pong, where that’s the idea. There’s pizza to scoff, a quirky cinema theme and a decent range of beers and cocktails. If you win ping-pong by lunging around wildly and ricocheting balls off the ceiling... I must’ve been the bleddy champion.

The Walrus 
Beer/Cocktail Pong
As the Bee Gees once said, you should be dancing or playing beer pong. Head underground for a night at The Walrus – the neon-lit disco basement of your dreams. Beer or cocktail pong is £18 a pop, so bring your mates along for some boozy fun. The aim is to sink your ping pong ball in the opposing team’s cups, which they then have to chug. Expect everyone to get rather rowdy. I know I’ll be going back for the generous happy hour and irresistible soundtrack of pop, funk and soul.

BrewDog 
Sega Mega Drive and Xbox 360
Transport yoursen back to your teenage self’s bedroom, with your beloved nineties video games. Claim a space at one of the two retro consoles and fight over the best working controller. Just remember not to say “Thanks Mom” when they bring your pizza over. I slaughtered my mates in Mortal Kombat, rode dragons in Golden Axe, and made the ugliest wrestler possible in SmackDown vs. Raw. Try not to fall off your lab stool as you chug down BrewDog’s legendary range of craft beers.

The King Billy 
Darts and Pool
Don’t go wandering the streets of Sneinton on a Saturday night – just butt your way inside The King Billy. This friendly traditional pub draws the crowds with its cosy rooms, eccentric decor and well-kept real ales. We stuck 50p in the bright yellow pool table upstairs, and I proceeded to lose oh-so badly. The function room was in full-on party mode, complete with bunting and disco lights. However, this didn’t put us off playing darts while boogieing to a few dancefloor fillers - don’t try it at home, kids.

The Newshouse 
Bar Billiards
From the gleaming wood to the whirr of machinery, mushroom pool has a touch of steampunk about it. The Newshouse has a beauty of a table - the only one in Nottingham - where we spent 20 minutes of blissful confusion. We were handed a glass of alien objects and were patiently helped along with the rules. Despite my opponent losing one of his balls inside a radiator, I lost 320 points to 70. If you do have a knack for it, try your luck at this charming pub’s weekly competition.

The Trip to Jerusalem 
Ringing the Bull
If you've never been to Ye Olde Trip, are you really from Nottingham? Played in a genuine cave, Ringing the Bull can take up to 20 years to master and between one and 1000 tries to get right. Stand on the special spot (ask Rich behind the bar), pull the rope taut and let your ring gently swing towards the animal horn. With a bit of careful manoeuvring, I managed to ring the bull after about 50 goes. Robin Hood played it, your ancestors played it and even The Trip's resident ghosts like to have a swing.

The Dragon 
The Racing Room
Get ready for some serious gaming in The Dragon's Racing Room. My partner's fave, this is a dream come true for Scalextric lovers. After a few test laps, we got stuck into a fiercely fought tournament. Race after race, our cars weaved through an intricately constructed miniature model of Nottingham. Everyone is really into it and you learn a lot about the tech side too. Despite my car knocking over a small wall - to the horror of tiny figurines including Spiderman - I managed to bag a bronze medal.

Annie's Burger Shack 
Board Games
Annie's is known for its mighty burgers, but it's also home to the board games that time forgot. First, we tried The Da Vinci Code – a Cluedo-esque game with codebreaking tasks and a "mirror shard" made of a piece of shiny cardboard. Wish You Were Here? made us wish we were playing any other game. We settled on Trivial Pursuit, the 1982 edition. Despite the questions being hilariously dated, we surprised ourselves with our 80s general knowledge. Next time we'll go straight to Jenga.

400 Rabbits 
Foosball Table 
This colourful tequila bar is an unexpected gaming haven, complete with a monthly foosball tournament. Nestled away upstairs, you'll find a big suitcase of board games, a Sega Mega Drive and a much-loved foosball table. And, if you ask nicely enough, they might even hand you the Cards Against Humanity set behind the bar.  After a few games of Guess Who?, the foosball was free and things quickly got very primal. We swore and blew at the ball, scored plenty of own goals, and luckily I managed to keep my friend, despite thrashing her 3-0.

The Plough
Traditional Pub Games
The Plough is a bit off radar, but well worth making a detour for. Nottingham Brewery sits just next-door, so this peaceful boozer literally offers the freshest pint around. Alongside a fruit machine, we found a quiet alcove filled with traditional wooden board games. Our “quick game of chess” turned into a three-hour epic as we sampled all the real ales. Whoever nicked the white knight deserves a slap. We also spotted old-time games like Bagatelle and Shove Ha’penny – ask your grandparents.

Any more for any more? Gob off in the comments below...

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