OK, so I thought it might be handy for SQLBits 2013 attendees to have some guidance to the better pubs in Nottingham and Beeston.

My idea of a better pub is a good wide range of well kept beer, plenty of room, friendly knowledgable staff, food available and somewhere I wouldn’t mind spending a night sitting chatting even if I wasn’t drinking their beer

If you’re staying at the East Midlands Conference Center, then you are on the Beeston side of town. There’s some very good pubs that side, but they are about a 30 minute walk from the conference centre or a 10 minute taxi ride (probably about £6 each way). If you do want to venture out, then the best 2 are:

The Victoria Hotel

Right behind Beeston train station. Great pub with a wide range of ales, ciders and whiskeys. Also has very good food. Can get quite busy, though has a large covered outside area with heating.

The Crown

Twice winner of the East Midlands CAMRA pub of the year, and pretty deservedly so.

If you’re staying in Nottingham City centre then there’s no end of choice. My personal favourites are:

Kean’s Head

Smallish pub in the Lace Market area, by St Mary’s church. Can get very busy at office closing time, but thins out once they’ve had a pint. Good range of ales on, and a lot of bottles as well. Plenty of European lagers. Good food as well.

Lincolnshire Poacher

Little bit out of town up Mansfield Road, but worth the trip (the Golden Fleece on the way up can be worth stopping for one if you need a breather). Another former CAMRA pub of the year winner (we seem to have quite a few in Nottingham). Always well kept beers, and a huge whisky selection. Another pub with a very good food menu. And it is holding a mini beer festival the weekend of SQLBits so there’ll be even more choice than usual.

The Round House

Built into what remain of the old Nottingham City Centre hospital. Unusual in that I’ve never been in a completely circular pub anywhere else. Good range of beers,  good tasting platters (3x 1/3 pints plus bar snacks). Food OK, but standard pub options done well rather than anything exciting

Hand and Heart

A little wander up Derby Road past the cathedral, but worth it for a pub built back into the caves of Nottingham. Always well kept beers with a good range of guests. Restaurant style eating available.

Nottingham CAMRA keeps a good list of other pubs as well. And while SQLBits is on, they’ll be hosting their annual Mild in May event, where a larger number of pubs will be making sure to carry some of the finer examples of this beer type

If you want any other recommendation, or something close to a particular hotel, just drop me a line and I’m sure I can come up with something for you.