Sometimes we’ve all been guilty of ignoring a little gem from right under our noses and this was the case with me and The Malt Cross in Nottingham until the past year or two. I always knew of it’s existence just off the Old market Square in the city centre on the pedestrianised St. James Street, adjacent The Bell Inn, but never visited. I wasted some time because the converted music hall dating back to 1877 is a beautiful and interesting place to find oneself for a quiet pint and tasty snack early evening after work or to listen to the good quality live music that the venue sports.
Built on two floors, the upper area is an oval balcony that looks down on the throng below and also the small stage which is curiously situated at a height between the two floors at one end of the building. Presumably this would have been where the original music hall acts of the Victorian era would perform and heavily harks back to that age.
As well as an impressive and historic structure, The Old Malt Cross has pleasant, friendly and efficient staff which means those dreary and frustrating queues for drinks or usually absent, even at the peak of a busy Friday night in Nottingham’s city centre.
One of my two or three favourite pubs in the city, the others being The Trip To Jerusalem which I sadly rarely get to these days and The Lincolnshire Poacher, a perennial visit. The Bell Inn is another of Nottingham’s ancient public houses, indeed argued as the oldest by some depending on the definition of ‘inn’ or ‘public house’. It is thought that its origins were as the guest house of a Carmelite monastery situated nearby on Beast Market Hill. Timber in the building has been dated back to 1420AD whilst it is thought that the building first became a public house around the mid-1500s’.
‘The Bell’ was renowned as being under the ownership of a certain William Clarke. Clarke who married the owner of the Trent Bridge Inn, a small business then which crucially had a large meadow to the rear of the property. Clarke developed that same meadow into what is now known as Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, an international Test cricket arena of great history and repute. Unsurprisingly the Bell Inn is now classified as a building of special architectural and historic interest.