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Down by the canal ...
Via Fossa (Nottingham)
Member Name: Slim Lee
Via Fossa (Nottingham)
Date: 09/02/01, updated on 31/07/01 (1123 review reads)
Advantages: Great to have a beer outdoors in the summer, Stylish and eyecatching place for a bit of liquid refreshment
Disadvantages: Prices can be a bit steep (but it is a city centre bar), Music can be deafening on weekend nights
The area between the Broad Marsh shopping centre and the Nottingham Castle stretch of Canal Street has now undergone a dramatic facelift over the last five years. Lots of new office buildings, bars and fitness centres. Part of this modernization has been the Via Fossa bar/pub/restaurant.
It's set out on two levels with a deceiving amount of space inside (pub equivalent of the Tardis). It looks quite a small place from outside at the front of the building (the main entrance from Canal Street), but it's deep and stretches back down towards the canalside. The ground floor is decked out with wooden flooring, benches and tables and has a total of three bars, one at the front, one at the left hand side (rarely used), and one at the rear.
The main feature of the ground floor is the outside beer garden / terrace area at the rear. It's a large area with some (sparse) seating and it backs onto the canal (hence the name of the street it’s on!). Directly opposite (over the other side of the canal via a bridge ... please don't swim across the canal), is the relatively new Magistrates Court building, an impressive structure using glass to the extreme. Nice view from the outside, not planning to have a look inside.
The rear of the Via Fossa is everyone’s favourite spot, as it is a relaxing place to sit and chat with friends. Great to sit outside in summer, but be warned it will get crowded. Consequently it's hard to park your bum down so be prepared to stand up. Even in the winter nights it's still busy as they have heaters dotted about.
Right. Back inside! Up on the first floor you will find another two bars and the restaurant area. The style of this floor is slightly different to that of the first, the wooden
tables and seats are still there but they tend to use more mirrors and metallic art in the décor. There is a seating section towards the front of this floor that is a little bizarre and has to be seen. It has a small section where the seats have some special “bovine style” covers over them (and it’s always occupied!). There is also a terrace area, which overhangs to the rear. Get there early to get a seat (or standing room!) out there.
Another point of note about the Via Fossa is the architecture inside. Hold on, I know this sounds a little dull but you will find yourself staring at a few things, the ornate pillars, the stairs, the view from the first floor looking down onto the ground floor entrance. The initial view when you first walk in through the Canal Street entrance is particularly striking because of the height in the room (no first floor section here). When you get to the front entrance bar, stretch your neck upwards and you will see what I mean.
The quality of the restaurant food is reasonable (but on the expensive side considering the paltry portions i've had there), covering a wide range of snacks and main courses. The selection of drinks is good, but it isn’t the sort of place to go for real ale as Lager tends to dominate the pumps.
This is predominantly a Friday/Saturday night out-on-the-town type of bar, with lots of lagers and bottles to prove it. Prices can be a bit steep but this is the norm now in most city centre bars in Nottingham. Don’t be too shocked at having to pay around £2-£2.50 for a pint or a bottle, and don’t be surprised to queue for a while on a weekend night either as it gets very busy. Either that or the staff there really don't like me in particular and enjoy watching me dance about waving a £20 note a lot.
This is now a vibrant area of Nottingham city centre, with many new bars opening up all the time. Many new office buildings have been constructed r
ecently (e.g. the new offices for the Nottingham Evening Post, the local paper, are just around the corner from the Via Fossa). Other places within a couple of minutes walk from here are a Fitness First gym, Jongleurs comedy club (excellent night out!), Broad Marsh bus station (about two minutes walk) and the Nottingham city train station (about three minutes walk). This makes it an ideal location for anyone coming to Nottingham for a night out. It’s also within crawling distance of most of the city centre nightclubs too.
Via Fossa is only three of four minutes walk outside of the main centre of Nottingham too (Market Square) and has many other bars surrounding it. The big attraction with it though is in the summer. The rear terrace area is always packed out, even when the temperature drops a bit (those heaters out there never seem to work properly when I stand next to them).
Overall, Via Fossa is one of my favourite bars in Nottingham when I’m out of an evening. You can go here in the week for a relatively quiet drink and a chat, or go at the weekend and join the heaving masses in homage to the lager god!