Belfast has a vibrant and bustling nightlife even though it is a relatively small city. Pubs around the city centre are generally open until 1AM several days a week, though some may close around 11:30PM. Clubs generally run from around 9PM through until 2AM, though a small number do stay open much later.
Belfast Pub CrawlFilthy McNasty'sPhone: +44 7445521950Hours: 7.30-closePrice: 8Belfasts only dedicated pub crawl service brings you to some of the best and most famous bars in the city, including Filthy McNasty's, Laverys, The Taphouse, The Elms, The Parlour and The Bot. The Belfast pub crawl also includes 4 free drinks and free entry to a night club, worth 5 alone!
The Northern Whig2-10 Bridge StPhone: +44 28 9050 9880The Northern Whig is Belfast's most unique bar oozing sultry European style! What is most striking about The Northern Whig is the set of huge granite statues depicting Communist workers, which were acquired by the owners after the fall of Communism in Prague. Whether it's brunch, lunch, dinner, or simply drinks, The Northern Whig has it all. At night this smart & cosmopolitan venue comes to life with a varied mix of people & live music by some of Belfast's finest DJs. The Northern Whig has an extensive choice of original & house cocktails which are a must to try!!
Night club bars
The Botanic Inn23-27 Malone RdPhone: +44 28 9050 9740Affectionately known as 'The Bot', this bar is very popular, especially with students during the university term. It has a reputation for great atmosphere and craic, though can get very crowded at weekends. Downstairs is a large, attractive bar that regularly shows live sport, while upstairs has a highly regarded club. Good food is offered and drinks are reasonably priced. Scratch NightclubPhone: +44 28 9050 97505-6 Lower Cresent. Centrally located just off Botanic Avenue, Scratch has been recently refurbished and regularly hosts popular club nights. The bar/club stretches over three floors and has a great reputation as the place to dance the night away! Open six nights a week, Scratch caters for all tastes. Friday and Saturday nights are the most popular; with famous local DJ Paul Kennedy spinning dance classics every Saturday. The Globe36 University RdPhone: +44 28 9050 9840Another popular university area bar, the Globe is open 7 days a week, serving fantastic food at a reasonable price. Like most of the university area bars, The Globe hosts regular club nights, but is also popular for big screen sports. The Stiff Kitten1 Bankmore Sq. The Stiff kitten is another of Belfast's best clubs which regularly attracts big name DJs at weekends, and has excellent house DJs during the week. The bar is sleek and modern, while the crowd tends to be young, friendly and has plenty of students. For those on a budget, Tuesday and Thursday nights are excellent student nights with cheap drinks and good music. The bar is open 7 days a week, while the club runs on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Brickies Bar (aka The Speakeasy) Brickies is in Queen's University Student Union and is usually a good starting point for a night out. Don't hesitate to ask the students about the best place to go on any particular night!
ThompsonsSeems to be the place to be. This club plays music too loud and too late, with good DJs and a foggy somewhat underground atmosphere. Next to the City Hall, look for the narrow entry across the street from the Titanic Memorial Garden.
The Kitchen BarPhone: +44 28 9032 490136-40 Victoria Sq. One of the most historic bars in Belfast, the original Kitchen Bar dates back to 1859 and was one of the favourite watering holes of the star performers of Belfast's famous Empire Music Hall. Relocated just round the corner from its original site to an old converted warehouse, it retains all the charm and charisma that visitors experienced at the original venue. Real Ale.Real Food.Real Craic.is the keywords for The Kitchen Bar and it certainly delivers on all three points, a must for any visitor to Belfast. Traditional fresh food is served daily including the renowned soda bread based 'Paddy Pizza'! McHugh's Bar & RestaurantPhone: +44 28 9050 999929-31 Queens Sq. Situated in Belfast's oldest building, dating back to 1711. McHugh's has a 100 seater restaurant, a basement bar offering live entertainment and the main gallery, providing enough space and atmosphere for a great night out. The Basement & main bar hosts live traditional music sessions at various times of the week and weekend so make sure you go along and catch one of these free sessions! The restaurant provides impeccable service and great food with sacrificing value. With entertainment, art & culture, McHugh's is a traditional bar with a difference. Madison's Hotel59-63 Botanic AvePhone: +44 28 9050 9800Set amidst the bustling Botanic Avenue this rather sexy boutique hotel is just a stones throw away from Belfast City Centre, Queens University & Botanic Gardens. The hotel has an excellent restaurant serving early morning breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. The main bar in Madison's is popular with locals & tourists alike with live music being played in the bar most nights. Offering all modern features a guest expects today, Madison's has an established reputation for great food, fine wines, amazing cocktails and fabulous entertainment all under the one roof. Ryan's Bar & Restaurant116-118 Lisburn RdPhone: +44 28 9050 9850The emphasis in Ryan's is on providing good food, good value and great service. The ground floor provides an informal & comfortable venue for craic & conversation where you can partake of great all day bar food. One thing you have to be sure to try are Ryan's World Famous Chicken Wings - the recipe is a secret but it's no secret just how good they are! Best washed down with a pint of Guinness. Ryan's 75 seater restaurant offers a comfortable setting to enjoy traditional meals cooked to perfection. A rather intriguing & tasty choice are the 'Boxty' selections - a kind of Irish potato pancake! The Parador116-118 Ormeau RdPhone: +44 28 9050 9850The Ormeau Road's Parador Hotel has been given a new lease of life with a complete facelift and a packed schedule of nightly entertainment. There is a mix of live traditional music on a Tuesday, Pub Quiz on a Wednesday and live Jazz every Thursday. The Jazz Session has been described as one of the best in the city which draws jazz lovers from far and wide. The Parador Hotel offers the best budget accommodation in the city starting at only 25 per night for a single room and 38 for a twin or double. There's no need to venture out looking for somewhere to eat either as the hotel provides a great selection of homemade food.
Alternative and Indie bars
Auntie Annies Porterhouse44 Dublin RdA nice bar downstairs where punters get together and chat over a pint. Upstairs has regular gig nights, where some brilliant local bands can be heard.
Limelight/Katy Dalys/Spring and Airbrake17 Ormeau AveA great trio of adjacent venues that open up into each other for live music and alternative club nights. Tuesday nights are the most popular and can be very crowded; be sure to come before 10PM to make sure you get in. Famous bands can regularly be found gigging here, and there are always a at least a couple of live gigs a week. Pats Bar19-22 Princes Dock StPhone: +44 28 9074 4524Right next door to the Rotterdam, this bar has also great character. What a lot of people do is go between the two pubs. The Menagerie Bar130 University StPhone: +44 28 9023 5678This hidden away place near the Holiday Inn Express is a fun, atmospheric place. Dilapidated, but nice. Note: its popularity has declined a lot recently, not as funky as it used to be.
The following bars are beside each other in the Cathedral quarter. These all get a friendly alternative crowd:
Whites Tavern, 2-4 Wincellar Entry. Founded in 1630, one of the many bars to claim to be Belfasts oldest. Cosy downstairs bar with live music on Friday nights, upstairs has a jumping alternative disco on Friday and Saturday nights that is usually crammed to the roof.
Cafe Vaudeville25-39 Arthur StA huge over-the-top, 1920's Paris themed restaurant and bar. The upstairs section features Northern Ireland's first "Bollinger bar".
Europa Piano Bar, Europa Hotel, Great Victoria St, 028 9027 1066. For the more mature drinker, this place is relaxed and offers great views of the Golden Mile below.
Empire Bar40 Botanic AvePhone: +44 28 9024 9276This place, a former church, is a cosy bar downstairs, featuring traditional Irish music some nights. The upstairs section features live music and comedy. Errigle Inn320 Ormeau RdPhone: +44 28 9064 1410Unchanged since the 1930's, this bar is a popular authentic Belfast boozer. A great local bar, but a bit out of the way if you are only in Belfast for a short space of time. Odyssey ComplexDepending on your point of view its either a souless hole of a place populated with underage kiddies, or Belfast's entertainment mecca. It features about 3 bars, 6 restaurants, cinema, IMAX and a bowling alley. Not the safest place to go clubbing although there is always a heavy police presence. The Cloth Ear and The Bar35-39 Waring StPhone: +44 28 9023 4888The Cloth Ear is The Merchant Hotels comfortable public bar. The warm and welcoming interior provides the ideal environment to relax and enjoy oneself in style. Combining both modern and traditional elements with a healthy dose of the eccentric. For example, the many unique items of vintage and antique clothing, the wooden moose and deer heads and the classic 1930s 1950s sheet music that adorn the walls. Alternatively, go next door to the Merchant Hotel's own classic cocktail bar, simply named The Bar. The Victorian Grandeur of the building is abundantly evident, with its ornate ceilings, silk damask walls, antique Baccarat chandeliers and a cocktail list to which all the superlatives apply. Also home to possibly the world's most expensive coctail at 750 a go!
Robinsons Bar, Great Victoria St, right next to the Crown Bar, and opposite the Europa Hotel. Has traditional music every day in the back bar (Fibber Magees).
The Hatfield House130 Ormeau RdAbout as far from a tourist trap as one could possibly get. Located on the Ormeau Road, within walking distance from Botanic Avenue. Go to the Hatfield for an undiluted local experience - this is a real Irish pub, but be forewarned, it is very likely you will be the only tourist in the place. Very popular with a young crowd on weeknights and always busy on match days when Gaelic sports are shown on the big screen. Live music most nights.
Kellys Cellars30-32 Bank StJust off castle street. Has traditional music at weekends. Another place with a claim to the title of "Belfast's Oldest Bar".
Maddens Bar situated beside Castlecourt Shopping Centre in the Old Smithfield Square. Has traditional music at the weekends, gets an intellectual political crowd. You may have to press the buzzer for entry although it is quite safe.
Note:Maddens and Kellys can be tricky to find so don't be scared to ask for directions.
Kremlin Belfast's best gay owned dance club for men and women. Voted best Gay Venue in Ireland on numerous occasions. The Kremlin is located at Donegall Street. Tel: (028)90319061. To visit their very slow website: www.kremlin-belfast.com
Union Street Bar Belfast's trendy award winning gay bar. Union Street, has an excellent late club night on Saturday - Event Horizon. Check it out today. Web Link:
Dubarrys Belfast's newest gay bar. Set over three floors, Dubarrys offers a great alternative to the banging house tunes and teenybopping antics of some other gay establishments.Frequented mainly by older gay men. A welcome addition to Belfast's booming gay scene. Gresham St T: 9032 3590 W:
Forbidden Fruit is the only place to be on a Monday nite. Taking place at the Rain Nightclub in Tomb Street, it's the best gay venue on a Monday nite, followed by Bang which is almost as good, taking place in the Shoe Factory beside the Union Street Bar.
The Nest Gay owned pub that attracts an older mixed crowd. The bar is located at Skipper Street. Serves food. Used to be called 'The Custom House'. Tel: (028)90245558.
MYNT (formerly The Parliament, Belfast's first gay bar) Belfast's best gay dance club and bar for men and women. MYNT is located in Dunbar Street, Cathedral Quarter. Food is served at lunchtime all week. t: 028 90 234520. Web Link:
Mono is Belfast's latest city centre bar has rebranded Monday nights and brought in respected Irish DJ Micky Modelle - who recently went UK Top Ten with club hit Dancing in the Dark. His 'funky ass shakin' music' will get the gay crowd & chums grooving into early Tuesday... and a Happy Hour will run from 10PM to midnight. Admission free before 10PM, £3 after. Club closes at 03:00.
Kitty Killers A place for women to come, relax and have a boogie in any of our three nights of every month in both Belfast and Derry. Men are welcome as guests. Always check the website for updates on acts etc. 1st FRIDAY of month - BELFAST - The venue changes check the website- Alternative, pop, chart and dance - 9:30PM, £5. 3rd FRIDAY of month
Sirens @Ten Square A friendly and welcoming women-only crowd gets together on an ad hoc basis at the super-chic Ten Square Hotel. Email Sirens (firstname.lastname@example.org) or contact the hotel for nights and times (T: 9024 1001) . The perfect laid-back intro to the local lesbian scene. Open third Friday in every month. 21:30-01:00.
Queens Bar Gay friendly city centre pub located at Queens Arcade. Tel: (028)90321347.
The John Hewitt Gay friendly Cathedral Quarter pub located at Donegall Street Tel: (028) 90233768.
The Apartment Gay friendly bar located at Donegall Sq West. Tel: (028) 90509777.
The Spaniard Lesbian friendly Cathedral Quarter bar and "Tapas Bar" at Skipper Street. The "Belfast/Basque" style bar is worth a visit for its tapas and cocktails. Great fun.
Also try Muriels and the Roost two lovely gay friendly bars just off the top of High St in Church Lane, very popular with lesbians.
If you're gay and looking for fun in Belfast you'll not leave disappointed that's for sure.
Clements Coffee4 Donegall Square W, Castle St, 37-39 Rosemary St, 66 Botanic Ave, 139 Stranmillis Rd, 342 Lisburn RdAnother reason why Starbucks Coffee have yet to make much progress in Belfast, largely due to the popularity of this Belfast coffee chain, which only sells fair-trade coffee. Bagels, sandwiches, cakes, soups and snacks are all reasonably priced.
Common Grounds12-24 University AvePhone: +44 28 9032 6589Fresh soups, chunky sandwiches, divine cakes and frequent live music or poetry reading events. This bright yet cosy caf underneath a church hall has great food, tea and coffee, and a large room to the rear for events. A portion of each month's profits go to help a community project or charity in the third world.