Belfast!

Seen a fair few people have been over recently, are here now or are coming in the next few months. Maybe @Icarus-Smicarus @thesewoodenideas @Rodion and anyone else I might have missed can chip in too.

Pubs

The Sunflower Cathedral Quarter

Good range of craft beers, beer garden with pizza oven, trad fiddledeedee music on Wednesdays and Sundays and a security gate from The Troubles (for decorative historic purpose only)

Duke of York cathedral Quarter


A fantastic place loved by locals and visitors alike. It has bundles of character inside, takes over the whole street outside and also has read sessions on certain nights. Seem to always get talking to random tourists here, great atmosphere and I think this has the widest range of whiskies in the city.

The Crown, City Centre, opposite Europa Hotel


Possibly the most well known bar in Belfast. Tends to be heavily populated by tourists. Can’t really comment on this one as I’m never really in that area for a drink.

Kelly’s Cellars City Centre


Great pint of Guinness, good atmosphere. Avoid the nearby McDonalds at all costs after 9pm

Bittles City Centre, Victoria Square


Another traditional bar, famously surly barman

Errigle and Northern Lights Ormeau Road. Further out of town, you’d need a taxi if staying in the city centre. These tend to be quieter but still plenty of atmosphere in the Errigle and very good beer selection in Northern Lights (owned by Galway Bay Brewery) which has over a dozen craft options on tap

Will add other bits and pieces when I can be bothered!

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These are my locals (along with the Pavilion which is decent as well). Haven’t been in the Errigle or Pavilion for a little while but quite like popping into Northern Lights with a book on a quiet weeknight occasionally.

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Big fan of Belfast. It wasn’t ideal having to fly over on Tuesday just to pick up an emergency passport (it’s a long story) but at least I got to spend a bit of time in two great record shops while waiting for my bus back to the airport:

Dragon Records on Wellington Place - possibly my favourite second hand record shop in the U.K.;

Starr Records on Berry Street - very cool shop for new stuff.

(I think these were both recommended to me by @Icarus-Smicarus prior to a previous visit, so credit where it is due).

For those who are there for a bit longer I really recommend the famous black taxi tours of Belfast historical locations (which I enjoyed so much I’ve done it twice - completely different experience depending on who your driver/guide is)

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The Lyric Theatre is putting on Translations soon which should be fantastic (fingers crossed). Always worth checking if there’s any theatre on in The Mac or Accidental theatre, sometimes you can miss great stuff because it’s not advertised properly.

I’m quite enjoying Ulster Sports Club in city centre ATM. Someone has bought over an old man bar and then marketed it towards younger folk, but the interior has been left untouched. Most weekends they’ll have a good gig or DJ set upstairs and the club downstairs is pretty great craic as well.

For books I’d recommend popping to Botanic avenue. No Alibis is the sort of small place that is worth supporting, and there are loads of small used shops there that can have some gems hidden away. My favourite shop in the city is absolutely Keats and Chapman, which is floor to ceiling books. You feel like the place will fall down around your head. Fantastic stuff

Otherwise, Banana block is worth a trip out to, there’s some food shops and a good record shop (‘Sound Advice’ - more geared towards electionic but for my money it’s the best record shop in the city).

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:smiley: I’ve never done a black taxi tour but this does not surprise me one bit

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Yeah must get a ticket for this.

Remember being very surprised when this place started popping up in gig listings, having no idea it had stopped being an old men members club and changed owners. Not somewhere I ever expected to set foot inside.

Great bar and really great venue. Really looking forward to Protomartyr in there next week.

All v good, I really like the Oxfam bookshop on Botanic as well.

Bit of a trek from my house (but easy to get the Glider from the city centre) but it’s a cool space. Don’t have a clue about a lot of the electronic stuff in Sound Advice but there’s always some great stuff in the second hand indie/alternative section, usually for a great price.

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Knew this place would be right up your street

(edited as I misread this first time)

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Gigs

Black Box https://www.blackboxbelfast.com/


Probably the most reliable venue for my tastes. From indie to jazz to metal to stand up comedy and films, if its on the artier side, it’s in here. Good size venue, the website says it holds 240 standing.

Limelight https://www.limelightbelfast.com/
image
This place has been about for ever. It used to be great for gigs back in the day but it’s a bit more of a catch all club these days first and gig venue second. Still, holding 750 or so, it tends to host bigger names.

Ulster Sports Club What's On — Ulster Sports Club


@Icarus-Smicarus or @Rodion would have to weigh in on this place as it’s relatively new. I haven’t been yet but it’s hosted some decent names already

The Empire Music Hall | The Belfast Empire Music Hall


Apparently only has a capacity of 500, it feels a lot bigger than the Limelight to me. Gigs here are fairly sporadic but if you get an act that suits the venue, it’s hard to beat.

Cathedral Quarter Arts Fest https://cqaf.com/
The main festival is April/May but they also hold a mini festival called Out To Lunch in January too. Very reliable for bringing in some of the best shows of the year. Gigs are held all over the quarter, though mainly in the festival marquee and Black Box.

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Ulster Sports Club is great for gigs. Small room with a
great sound system. Very instantly become one of my favourite venues (only downside is that it’s hard to get a decent view when it’s packed).

Feels like the Empire is getting tons of good gigs recently, I’ve been there quite a lot in the last few months. Could maybe a bit more sporadic in the past.

Similarly the whole time I was at uni I was only ever in the Black Box about twice ever, but it’s almost certainly been my most frequented venue for the last 10 years or so. Not sure if it’s my taste or the promoters that changed (bit of both I suspect - the closure of Stiff Kitten and The Speakeasy is probably a big part of it, as well as the Limelight focusing more on club nights like you said)

Food based things

breakfast\brunch\lunch French Village in South Belfast FV Locations – French Village Bakery and The Lamppost Cafe in East Belfast https://www.thelamppostcafe.com/menu

Bob and Berts all over are decent too, I believe their bakery stuff is French Village

A wee bit out of Belfast - There’s a fully costal walk I used to do from Holywood to Bangor and back Holywood to Bangor Coastal Path - Northern Ireland Greenways and would end at The Dirty Duck for food and drink http://thedirtyduckalehouse.co.uk/ though sometimes there’s only outside seating.

Back in the city centre, currently love The Common Market https://commonmarketbelfast.com/ as it has several food options and bars also allow dogs in so been great for a casual Sunday meetup even better when it’s warmer weather.

There are so many good food places I think it’s hard to go too wrong these were just the ones I return to alot lol

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On a sunny day, it’s hard to beat The Dirty Duck for a bit of pub lunch! I really liked Common Market too but have only managed to get down once.

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I was over a few weekends ago, mainly for a wedding that out was near Bangor but stayed in the city for a few days.

Had a LOVELY time. Such a charming city!

I’m not big on ye olde trad pubs tbh so a lot of the city centre left me cold but the Sunflower is a beautiful spot. My partner’s family are all from Cork so her face lit up when she saw the Beamish tap, and we caught an Appalachian folk thing on a Friday afternoon that was nice.

Had pizza from Little Wing twice it was so good, and also when we ate in some lad attempted a 24”er by himself. Left as he was halfway through, really wanted to stick around though…

(Pandemic brain meant we completely forgot restaurants get busy, so our Saturday night was a takeaway in the hotel room :smiley:)

Also had smashing vegan hotdogs at some place in the city centre.

Otherwise the Ulster Museum was cool and is next to the Botanics, which all made for a lovely afternoon walk down from our hotel.

Also went on a combined Game of Thrones / Giants Causeway bus tour, which was great mainly for the latter bit and our excellent tour guide, who spoke surprisingly personally about his experiences growing up in the city. Can dig out the name if anyone is interested.

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Been meaning to check out Common Market since it opened but constantly forget about it

Love the Ulster Museum, when I was unemployed a few years ago I used to wander over every week as it’s 10 minutes from my house. I don’t get as often now that you’re supposed to pre-book cos of covid as forward planning is not my forte but had a nice walk around the art exhibitions the other week.

The MAC in town usually has some art exhibitions upstairs too so that another shout if you like looking at things. Nice little cafe/bar downstairs too and regular events on.

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Was in the museum on Sunday, just walked straight in no bother.

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Yeah I’d imagine they’re winding down the bookings now. Did you still have to go to the desk and ‘check in’ or is it back to just wander in the door and off you go?

Just wandered in. There was a lady in the hall asking what we were there for and did we know where to go but that was it

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If you could remember where this was it would be key information

Might be best to avoid the Ramen place on Ormeau because the owner is Trumped up, and allegedly has been anti-Semitic towards staff

Because it’s you

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