The Boot Room: The popular Nottingham Forest-themed bar that's owned by a Manchester United fan

The owner is full of surprises, his illustrious background includes boss of Hooters for 21 years
Mark James is owner of The Boot Room, a few seconds' away from Nottingham Forest FC grounds | Image Ria GheiMark James is owner of The Boot Room, a few seconds' away from Nottingham Forest FC grounds | Image Ria Ghei
Mark James is owner of The Boot Room, a few seconds' away from Nottingham Forest FC grounds | Image Ria Ghei

At first glance, the pub next door to the grounds of Nottingham Forest Football Club appears to be a regular watering hole.

The sort of place where Forest fans can hunker down, either for a pre-match pint or silent prayer for Nuno’s men.

But not all is as it seems at The Boot Room in West Bridgford, Nottingham

The pub that is filled with Nottingham Forest memorabilia has a jovial owner whose football affiliations are somewhat of a head-turner.

Mark James is the owner of The Boot Room, a sports bar and restaurant that showcases Nottingham Forest souvenirs and sporting paraphernalia. 

READ MORE: Nottingham Forest

He is also a diehard Manchester United supporter.

The 47-year-old, originally from Hull, has been living in Nottingham for around three decades. 

The Boot Room is packed with football memorabilia, paintings, hanging boots and more | Image Ria GheiThe Boot Room is packed with football memorabilia, paintings, hanging boots and more | Image Ria Ghei
The Boot Room is packed with football memorabilia, paintings, hanging boots and more | Image Ria Ghei

He has extensive hospitality experience over 21 years which saw him head up Hooters and open multiple bars and restaurants in Canada and the Caribbean. 

Speaking about the motivation behind owning The Boot Room, Mark said: “There was an opportunity in the market for a sports bar in the area.

“I realised pubs near football stadiums were very dated and had a poor reputation of an ‘old working men’s pub’ which only succeeded on a match day alone.”

The self-confessed Manchester United supporter is a lifelong fan of The Red Devils. 

Mark opened The Boot Room in 2021 to create 'something a little bit different' - the upmarket sports bar has been delighting Nottingham locals since | Image Ria GheiMark opened The Boot Room in 2021 to create 'something a little bit different' - the upmarket sports bar has been delighting Nottingham locals since | Image Ria Ghei
Mark opened The Boot Room in 2021 to create 'something a little bit different' - the upmarket sports bar has been delighting Nottingham locals since | Image Ria Ghei

He said: “90% of the fans will have no problem at all, but everyone knows I’m a Man United fan.”

Keen to keep things from veering ‘offside’, Mark was quick to add: “The key thing is, The Boot Room is a sports bar. So we show all live sports ranging from Cheltenham Festival to the World Cup Final.”

Mark has always been a Manchester United fan - ever since he was a kid.

Tastefully decorated throughout, framed photos of legendary Forest players can be found throughout the building | Image Ria GheiTastefully decorated throughout, framed photos of legendary Forest players can be found throughout the building | Image Ria Ghei
Tastefully decorated throughout, framed photos of legendary Forest players can be found throughout the building | Image Ria Ghei

He said: “As a youngster, it is very easy to support a successful club.

“That wasn’t the case with myself, as Manchester United only started having great success in the mid to late 90s. And you only become more of a football fan as you get older.”

Reflecting on loyalty and who he would support if Forest were to go up against his favourite club, Mark was stoic.

He said: “W the FA Cup draw, if Forest beat Bristol City (the fourth round replay is on Wednesday, February 7, 2024), their next tie is at home, here, with Manchester United.

"With my businessman's cap on I'd support Forest's home leg rather than Manchester United playing next door."

This is a sports bar the likes of which are not seen often - it is classy, comfortable and a cool place to hang out, regardless of who you support | Image Ria GheiThis is a sports bar the likes of which are not seen often - it is classy, comfortable and a cool place to hang out, regardless of who you support | Image Ria Ghei
This is a sports bar the likes of which are not seen often - it is classy, comfortable and a cool place to hang out, regardless of who you support | Image Ria Ghei

The Boot Room has been keeping punters happy since November 2021, and the crowd that gathers both on and off match days, are a ‘well-behaved bunch.’

Mark said: “I am very grateful for Nottingham Forest's support with The Boot Room.

“The Nottingham Forest fans have a great reputation and that certainly shows when they come into the bar, both pre-and post-game.

“They did have to be schooled a little bit to start with. This wasn’t the greatest location many, many years’ ago but gradually they [fans] certainly took on board changes, as I think many venues did, after the pandemic.

“And people realised how much of an impact watching live sports and going to a venue showing live sport really had.”

The Boot Room has nine screens showing over 80 sports, and is a family-friendly sports bar.

For more information about The Boot Room visit their website by clicking here

Address: The Boot Room, 6 Pavilion Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham NG2 5FG