The Nottinghams/Robinhood Family
The Robinhood Resort and Nottinghams Tavern is truly a family owned and operated business.
The Robinhood Resort was purchased in 1996 by Charlie and Evelyn Brewster. Their son, Craig, helped build Nottinghams in 2003 and now manages it. Their daughter, Christie, came up in 2007 and joined the family business.
We couldn't run the restaurant without our incredibly talented Chef, Poncho Licona, or the hotel without our Manager, Peter Busch.Return to Top
About Nottinghams Tavern
Although nearly brand-new, Nottinghams has a rich history. In this location stood the Robinhood Inn in the 1960s, Friar Tuck's in the 1970s, the Rusty Anchor in the 1980s, and Mongolian Palace in the 1990s. Let us take you on a tour of our historic surroundings and unique antiques.
Residing outside our entrance, weather permitting, is the 1918 Great White Touring Bus. It was first used as public transportation in Yosemite and then relocated to the Union Hotel in Los Alamos, Ca. where it resided for the last 35 years.
As you enter, you'll pass King Richard's Room, a cozy dining area. The hostess station, originally built in 1890, was used as the entrance to a reported gangster's house in New Jersey. A revolving door set, once part of Marshall Fields in New York, has been used in parts to create a circular divide. A 1920 North Tonawanda "146" Band Organ, presumably the most original and pristine of its kind, was housed in a skating rink in Up-state New York for 50 years. It took 5 years to rebuild, was played once, broke, and in disgust, was encased in redwood and put outside for 20 years.
Continue straight-ahead to Little John's Pub, our family dining room. The back bar, from Pahrump, Nevada, was originally in a diner that was later converted to a brothel. The front bar is from Chicago. The 1930s canoe was discovered in an old building in Fawnskin in the 1980s and is thought to have been in Big Bear all its life. The Coinola CX-Plus Nickelodeon came from Hawaii, reportedly owned by Don Ho.
Ascending up a replica of a 1920s Greene and Greene designed Bolton house stairway, you enter the upstairs portion of Nottinghams. On your left, is the Tavern Banquet Area, a banquet and conference area and, on your right, is Friar Tuck's Tavern, our main lounge and entertainment area. The back bar is from a Prohibition-era cabaret on Rush Street in Chicago. The Wurlitzer 1015 Jukebox, or "Bubbler", is new but offers 1500 CD selections.
As you look around you may also notice numerous Craftsman-era doors, reproduced in various designs.
The Nottinghams staff hopes you enjoy your time with us. Nottinghams offers the best California Cuisine in the Big Bear Valley. The selection of wines, spirits, and beers, along with the carefully selected ingredients for your menu choices, will exceed everyone's expectations.Return to Top
About The Robinhood ResortReturn to Top
The Rich History of The Robinhood Resort & Nottinghams Tavern
The Robinhood Inn, established in the 1960's, was the first restaurant to sit on this site. The interior of the restaurant had an opening on the second level for entertainers. Big Bear Valley was a popular location for filming movies and the Robinhood Inn was the favorite gathering place for actors such as John Wayne, Lee Marvin, the Ponderosa Group, and many others.
Next door to the Robinhood Inn was a hotel named Sunset & Snow. A pool was located outside in the patio area. Rumor has it the owner had the pool filled in after his wife witnessed hotel guests skinny dipping one too many times.
Little John's Pub
The back bar was originally from a café in Pahrump, Nevada which later became "Smiley's Brothel". The bar was still in use when it was purchased for Nottinghams. The front bar was found in a small town outside of Chicago.
1930's Old Town Canoe
This 1930's canoe was discovered in an old building in Fawnskin in the 1960's and was then stored in a garage in Boulder Bay. It is thought to have been in Big Bear all its life and used in several movies.
1920 Great White Touring Bus
Residing outside our entrance, weather permitting, is the 1920 Great White Touring Bus. It was, most likely, used in Big Bear Valley before being sent to Yellowstone National Park to be used as public transportation. It was parked in front of the Union Hotel in Los Alamos, California for 40 years.
It is probably the most original bus left of its kind since many were destroyed in the Yellowstone Fires. Today, reproductions are being produced for use in the park.
North Tonawanda 146 Band Organ
This 1920 North Tonawanda "146" Band Organ was housed in a skating rink in Up-state New York for 50 years. It took 5 years to rebuild and then was shipped to California. It played one song and broke. In disgust, the band organ was encased in a redwood "house" and put outside for 20 years.
It is reportedly the most original and pristine of its kind, as most were converted to 125 Wurlitzer Rolls. Although the organ is still operational, only on very rare occasions will you hear it play. It is very temperamental, as humidity affects the vacuum lines and, since it was designed to be audible in a large area, is very loud.
This came from a revolving door set at Marshall Fields Department Store in Chicago, circa 1910. The interior door has been modified and divided and is located at our side door.
1900's Hostess Station
Our hostess station is made from the front door of an infamous gangster's house in New Jersey. (We are not at liberty to say who exactly but, can you guess?) It was customized by Mike Cummings, the Nottinghams' wood smith.
King Richard's Room
King Richard's Room is our cozy formal dining area. The stained glass windows were designed in the 1970's and were found in the attic of the hotel by the current owners. After some restoration by Leo, Robinhood and Maid Marian found a home surrounding the 1800’s oak fireplace mantel.
Our Craftsman, or California Bungalow, interior reflects a Greene and Greene feel with our 1920's replica Bolton house stairway, stained and beveled glass doors, and modular grid windows. The solid quarter sawn oak tables were "donated" by the original owner of Billy Reed's in Palm Springs.
Friar Tuck' Tavern
It was a coin toss on whether or not to add the second level, Friar Tuck's Tavern, but we're sure glad we did. It was so named because Friar Tuck's Tavern stood on this site in the 1970's. A reproduction 1015 Wurlitzer Jukebox has been playing every day since we opened in November 2003. We never tire of over 1500 CD tunes. The big screen and flat screen TVs are great for watching sports and events, or enjoy popcorn while watching the sunset.
1900 Brunswick Bar
A gorgeous original bar that came out of a prohibition era cabaret on Rush Street in Chicago. The back bar had been in storage for 50 years and was rediscovered during a narcotics raid. The front counter was built by the owner, Craig Brewster, to fit the space and match the back bar. Finding quarter sawn oak was quite a difficult task.
The Evolution of the Robinhood Resort
The Robinhood Inn was purchased by the owners, Evelyn and Charles Brewster in 1994. Charlie, a Northrop retiree, ran the hotel while Evelyn taught in the Big Bear School District. In 1997, the hotel became family owned and operated to include the owners' children, Christie and Craig.
Bartlett Building (Original Sherwood Forest)
This six-room office building was originally built to replace the Big Bear Chamber of Commerce building, which burned down in the 1980's. It was purchased in 1996, mostly to secure more parking spaces for the guests. Because of the pleasing lake views, the rooms were converted to hotel rooms, including private spas and handicap accommodations in 1999. One-half inch drywall was originally used but fire regulations required five-eighths, so the interior had to be completely redone.
Due to the success of the Bartlett building conversion, sixteen more units were built. The building was completed in late 2002 in just 6 months, certainly a Big Bear record. The results were due in part to the contractor, Construction Junction, and also to the framer, Hondo Construction, who put ten to twenty people on the job. The Sherwood Forest became Big Bear's luxury rooms.
The restaurant was completed in late 2003. It was a remodel of the old Mongolian Palace and, with the addition of the upstairs, required new footings, walls, joists, and well, just about everything. The high east end ceiling was upgraded for fire requirements.
It was a coin toss on whether or not to add the second level, Friar Tuck's Tavern, and we're glad we did. Much of the lumber and rock came from the original Robinhood Inn Restaurant and was reused as outside trim. Our incredible chef, Poncho, and owner and manager, Craig, among others, could be seen driving the bobcat and working the jack hammer. We're all very proud of the results.
The Wishing Well
The Wishing Well Motel and Robinhood Inn were once one motel but were split in the 1970's. The Wishing Well was purchased in 2005 to bring it all full circle.
With Craig and Christie managing the restaurant, Poncho running the kitchen, and Peter running the hotel, will Charlie and Evelyn finally be able to retire? Do they really want to retire? Or it is time for Charlie's next adventure, a new enterprise? We'll have to wait and see....Return to Top