Bear & Lace – 28 Maid Marian Way
A fairly recent name, the owner was quoted in the Nottingham Post (8th July 2015) suggesting that it was created to recognise Nottingham being in a forest and the fame of the city’s lace industry. That may be the official version but this is a classic case of a pub name with an amusing bit of wordplay and double entendre. Read the name as “Bare and Lace” and a certain high-class sauciness enters into the equation, which can hardly be accidental.
Supposedly named after the behaviour of a shopkeeper once based at the road junction on which the pub now stands. Ever enthusiastic for trade, the story goes that the shopkeeper would see any passerby as a possible customer and would even cross the street to “catch them” and entice them into his shop.
Crafty Crow – 102 Friar Lane
A humorous name for the magpie, a bird famed for its intelligence. The pub is an outlet for the local Magpie Brewery, which is itself located next to Notts County Football Club’s Meadow Lane Stadium. The football club’s nickname is The Magpies after their black-and-white striped kit, and the bird also features on the team badge. Notts County was formed in 1862 and is the world’s oldest professional football team.
In days gone by, young English children inquisitive as to where their newborn brother or sister had come from were traditionally told that the baby was found under a gooseberry bush. Whilst avoiding the need for the parents to explain the facts of life, the phrase spawned much humour in popular culture. The pub is built on the site of Nottingham’s former maternity hospital.
Organ Grinder – 21 Alfreton Road
From the popular old joke which refers back to the days when itinerant street-side entertainers would hand-crank a musical box or organ, attracting attention and collecting money by means of a pet monkey. If you find yourself in conversation with someone whom another person present believes is not sufficiently informed about the subject of your conversation, you might be told to “speak to the organ grinder, not the monkey!” The direct connection here is that the pub is owned by the Blue Monkey Brewery based in nearby Giltbrook. It is also another of those pub names with an alternative procreative interpretation!
Although billed as a pub where knights of old would gather for a final flagon of Nottingham ale before heading to crusade for the Holy Land, it seems the Trip is a late eighteenth century name for a pub previously called the Pilgrim. Although the origin of the current name is unknown, it has been suggested that it pokes fun at some of those eighteenth century gentlemen with an overly serious fervour for their religion but who were equally happy to enter the pub and participate in more secular vices. Hypocrisy has always been lampooned by the English sense of humour and with a degree of irony such individuals in a pub might be considered by some to be on a Trip to Jerusalem.
This name relies upon colloquial English to create a sense of fun. It is given local relevance by the proximity of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) tax offices on Castle Meadow. A vat is a large liquid container similar to a barrel but VAT is also an acronym for Value Added Tax. A fiddle is not only a rustic violin but is also slang for illegal activity of a fraudulent nature. So the name works on two levels, for both the pub and for the tax office... and it might even make an accountant smile!
Many pubs also have a local nickname, sometimes of a somewhat dubious nature. I’ll leave those readers visiting West Bridgford’s excellent Stratford Haven to find out its popular moniker for themselves...
There are many other humour-based pub names in the wider Nottingham area. How many can you spot?
Feel free to let us know which other humorously named pubs you find and enjoy visiting the pubs in Nick's blog. If you need any other suggestions for going out in West Bridgford or Nottingham, as always, do get in touch.