Amidst the hustle and bustle of central Nottingham, you can find one our most cherished pubs – The Bell Inn, winner of Greene King's National Pub Of The Year Award in 2013.
The Bell Inn is more than worthy of this award. It offers everything you’d expect of a modern pub – delicious food, good drink, homely atmosphere, impeccable service and great events like live jazz music and open mic nights. But when you take a closer look you’ll discover that the Bell Inn is much older than its glossy interior suggests.
It’s, in fact, a Grade II listed public house in Nottingham, England. Dating from around 1437, it’s one of the oldest in the city but its story goes even further back to a group of Carmelite Friars who arrived in Nottingham in 1276.
These friars obtained lands and established a Friary (on what is now Friar Lane) and their lands extended to include the site of what is now the Bell Inn. It is actually said that the ghosts of these friars still haunt the cellars. They are harmless and in fact often helpful entities but many employees and guests of the Bell Inn claim to have had encounters with them.
The cellars of the Bell Inn are a combination of natural sandstone and hand carved caves dating from the 12th century. What’s more, hidden beneath a wooden hatch in the cellars is a bonded warehouse where wine was sold in the old days. This network of caves spreads out well beyond the Bell itself and under the buildings surrounding it. There is evidence that the friars also used the cave as a kitchen.
What’s even more interesting about the Bell is that there are two wells in the caves from which water was used for brewing beer. If you stand at the main bar upstairs you can actually look down 53 feet into the well through a glass top on the far right side of the bar.