Damp, dimly lit, and decorated with skulls, chandeliers, and stuffed animals, this quirky drinking establishment is part of the extensive cave system cut into the soft sandstone upon which Nottingham is built.
Accessed via a dark and uninviting alley, through a heavily disguised door with a polished brass skull as a handle, a staircase leads into a basement beneath a 200-year-old building. Along a corridor in this basement, a further series of rock-cut steps lead into the cavernous void beneath the city.
The final descent into the Lost Caves is by escort, as they have a strict maximum occupancy. Here, 26 feet below the venerable old George Hotel, which has accommodated guests as diverse as Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Taylor, is a most unlikely gin palace.
When, why, and by whom these deep grottoes were excavated is unknown, however, they do appear to have been adapted for the purpose of storing and brewing ale on rock-cut ledges. Instead of holding barrels of beer, these rock ledges now make a cosy cushion-strewn perch upon which gin and cocktail aficionados can sample the bar’s latest below-ground beverage creations.
It is also worth remembering that it’s just as difficult to find the way out of the Lost Caves as it is to find the way in, so visitors are advised to moderate their cave cocktail consumption with escape in mind!
Know Before You Go
The access to the Lost Caves is somewhere in the vicinity of the George Hotel and The Lost Property Bar. Dress warmly. Any more information would spoil the fun.