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12th April was a big day in England. Non-essential retail opened, the gym was back and so was outdoor pubs and restaurants. So, after an entire term of being stuck inside the house and the weekly trip to the supermarket, I had to take full advantage of the slight freedom that was finally allowed. Upon returning to Nottingham, I booked the Magic Garden for two separate nights for a date night and a night out with my housemates (simply by accident), although I was not disappointed to be going twice in the space of a week!

The Magic Garden is situated within the Lace Market area of Nottingham and is nestled in a building that retains much of its old features with even the layout remaining the same as the former house that it would have been centuries ago. Of course, under current restrictions, we are only allowed to sit outside and luckily the Magic Garden catered for this greatly. The outside area spanned two sections, filled with many tables, two large coverings and hundreds of fun and cute outdoor decorations that gave it a relaxed, welcoming, and wholesome vibe. What was so nice to see was so many people, both young and older out with groups of friends, adhering to the restrictions and enjoying themselves. Although they do have heaters, on both occasions I was there, they were not working – so be prepared to wrap up warm, particularly if you plan on going later into the evening.

Like many places in Nottingham the cocktails were aesthetically pleasing in the way they were presented and tasted so good that you definitely got your money’s worth of alcohol in them! I opted for a ‘Magical Garden’ cocktail which contained gin and elderflower amongst other things. It came in a cute glass and garnished with a large slice of cucumber – I felt very sophisticated! 

My first trip to Magic Garden was just for drinks and went on past our allotted two-hour booking time (I think if you book from 8 you can pretty much guarantee you will be allowed to stay until close). After the cocktails, we opted for pints of Camden Hells that they offered in a four-pint pitcher which was great for sharing so all in all I felt that this trip was good value for money with regard to other Nottingham bar prices and a really nice social event for everyone to enjoy. 

I had an equally good time on my second trip of the week but this time I also had food. Again, cocktails and beer were consumed along with some stone-baked pizzas, chips, and calamari. Whilst the food was nice (for bar food standards), I was disappointed by the fact that it came out slowly and not all at the same time. For example, one pizza came and by the time the next pizza came, we had finished the first pizza and when the calamari eventually came, everything else had been finished! This being said though, it is important to understand and respect that places have just re-opened and are adjusting to new restrictions as well as catering for a larger volume of people as more people head outside to enjoy drinks and the sunshine. 

So, whilst I am slightly ‘Magic Garden-ed’ out, I would definitely recommend going for drinks. The atmosphere is great, the staff are super friendly and despite the lack of warmth, I felt very COVID safe. 

You can book the Magic Garden and view both their food and drinks menu on their website: The Magic Garden Nottingham (themagicgardennotts.com)

Hattie Gomme

Nottingham '21

20, UoN
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