Boilermaker - The Nottingham 'speakeasy' bar that looked like a boiler shop from outside

The Rum QMC cocktail from Boilermaker (photo from 2014)The Rum QMC cocktail from Boilermaker (photo from 2014)
The Rum QMC cocktail from Boilermaker (photo from 2014)
This is our love letter to Nottingham's hidden cocktail bar Boilermaker - we miss you, come back!

A night out in Nottingham is truly an experience to remember.

With hundreds of cool pubs, bars, and clubs, it comes as no surprise that is often regarded as one of the best places for a night out in the UK.

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But since the summer of 2022, there has been a notable void in our nightlife scene.

Our hearts broke in July that year, when Boilermaker, one of the city's first 'secret bars' decided to close for good.

READ MORE: Nostalgia

At face value Boilermaker looked like a relatively boring white goods store filled with combi boilers but behind the broom cupboard stood a bustling bar beloved by many in the city.

The speakeasy-style bar found in Hockley was at the forefront of the cocktail revolution. It served epic drinks in plastic wheelbarrows, cocktails with syringes, and was adorned with twinkly lights.

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At the time owners cited the pandemic as part of the reason for closing, along with some confusion caused when the Carlton Street storefront became a coffee shop called Braze in 2020.

The move to make the storefront a coffee shop aimed to cut some of the losses caused by COVID-19 but the contrasting businesses didn't work and it ultimately led to the bar closing forever.

Nigel Garrick told local press at the time that he was "blown away by how quickly [the bar] took off" but said the "post lockdown market is a very different place".

Boilermaker had a large fanbase and was often regarded as one of the city's finest 'hidden gems'.

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Looking back at TripAdvisor reviews now is quite heartbreaking because you can see the moment attitudes changed towards drinking and dining.

During that time the bar continued to rake in five-star reviews from satisfied yet shocked customers, many of whom remarked on how quiet the quirky drinking spot had become.

In 2021, Rob T wrote: "Very lovely place to have a cocktail, was surprised at how quiet it was…. If you are visiting Nottingham it’s well worth a visit. Staff were great and the setting is different."

In May 2022, Hollie said: "Hidden behind a coffee shop, staff were friendly. We came Friday evening around 6pm and hardly anyone in there. Table service drinks. Drinks were good."

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And so with the change in habits thanks to a post-lockdown economy, Nottingham saw the loss of one of its most beloved bars.

Of course, the city is packed with wonderful places to dine and drink, that more than make up for it but today, we're reminiscing.

Mostly because I'd give anything for a Strong Gindependent Woman cocktail right now.

If you have any old photos or memories of the Nottingham pubs, bars and clubs we have loved and lost, send them our way. We love to hear and see them. Email [email protected].