Canning Circus often gets left off Nottingham’s city map but The Ropewalk, part student haunt, part posh pub, is one reason it definitely shouldn’t be.
The Ropewalk is 15 minutes walk from Market Square, and it may be slightly too far from the hubbub and bright lights to always justify a trip. However, if you're nearby, The Ropewalk’s fascinating interior is worth the visit alone.
Its sleek, block colour paintwork, and Habitat-esque trinkets are complemented by a higgledy-piggledy selection of furniture, and this makes each corner of the labyrinthine ground floor have a completely different feel.
Gothic benches sit uneasily with the monochrome chequered floor, which looks like the set of the Korova Milkbar from A Clockwork Orange (if you're in the wrong frame of mind). Then there's a multi-coloured sofa that Paul Smith would be proud of, plus leather couches and wooden chairs.
It sounds disjointed, but the look is carried off with class and lures you in to investigate further, and it makes each trip feel new again.
As The Ropewalk is located half way between the city centre and the student village otherwise known as Lenton, it's hardly surprising that most of its punters are dodging lectures.
But don’t make the mistake of writing-off this delightful outpost if your student days are behind you. It has a wide mix, with the evenings populated by folk not quite prepared to admit they're middle-aged.
The atmosphere is always relaxed and their attitude to dining is casual, serving your food to anywhere you care to sit. You're likely to stumble upon some event as there are weekly pub quizzes, film showings and open mic nights (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday respectively).
Simple, filling and bloody tasty – The Ropewalk have mastered the realm of top-notch pub grub. Their cheese-topped shepherd’s pie (available to share for two) is a delicious winter-warmer, and the summer season offers a wide range of side dishes including chicken wraps.
Chicken, bacon and red wine pie with mash costs £8.90, and a wild mushroom and Quorn stroganoff costs £6.90. There are also snacks and sharers starting from £3.50 to £11 for four plates. Dishes include honeyed chipolatas and mustard dip and hummus and flatbread.
With prices like these it seems the days of a cheap pub lunch are quickly disappearing, however, the ingredients are fresh and the portions hefty, just about justifying the expense.
The Ropewalk is a bar first and a restaurant second, and as such you'll find no shortage of drinks to help your meal down or even justify a liquid lunch.
The regularly updated wine board takes up most of the far wall but prices can sometimes be a little too close to the £15 mark. Keep an eye on the great deals available on bottles.
The Last Word
The food, the drink, the decor - this place gets a thumbs up in so many areas that if it was in the city centre, you'd probably have to queue to get in. Pub food the way it should be.