The Morning Star

Belfast:


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Lovely Victorian pub in a pedestrianised alley.

Corner detail on the Morning Star: Winged Lion of St Mark

This had no ale, but did have proper Stella. It’s a bit food-dominated, with heavy Guiness and oysters promotion, and a large hot buffet area, which sadly makes the whole pub smell of food (and makes it hot and humid). We were goinf to have lunch here, but that, combined with the total lack of a sandwich on the menu put us off. Staff were great though: friendly, helpful, and chatty but not annoying.

Irene and Nan’s

Belfast:


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I should have hated this. One look at the website will tell you why.

Welcome to Irene and Nan’s, one of Belfast’s leading bar / restaurants. With it’s uber cool d├ęcor, sophisticated drinks menu and carefuly prepared dishes we cater for all events.

but actually, it was OK. Yes, the decor was retro (60s-70s with old clocks and radios), and the most desireable draught beer was Girl’s Stella (the ropey 4% ABV rubbish), but the trendily-dressed barman was friendly, and the clientele weren’t all below 25. The live music was pretty good too: acoustic guitar and singer that could actually sing, so it made for a pleasant drink.

Just don’t wear Timberland boots

McHughs

Belfast:


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Reputedly the oldest surviving building in Belfast, this dates from 1711. Inside, it’s a pleasant bar with traditional decor. It’s a music venue at night, and serves food pretty much all day. We visited twice, the second time being marred only by the people with the screaming child. Staff were great, food good, and beer OK (one real ale). Surprisingly, it’s part of a small chain, Botanic Inns, but that doesn’t spoil it.

The Bridge House

Belfast:


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A Wetherspoons.

This is good on this occaision: we wanted breakfast for less than our hotel, and that’s what we got. An excellent Ulster Fry at a bargain price, with, I hasten to add, soft drinks. We also revisted later in the week when I was sick of crappy lagerfizz and wanted actual beer.

Staff friendly, beer top-notch, food good value. On the down side, the tables were typically sticky by the evening, and it was a bit lacking in atmosphere.

The Crown Liquor Saloon

Belfast:


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Probably the most famous pub in Belfast, this is a proper, ornate Victorian Gin Palace. It’s owned by the National Trust, and magnificent is the only way to describe it: stained glass, booths, ornate tiling- probably actually better than the sublime Bartons Arms, which is saying something. It’s also one of the few places to find real ale in Belfast.

Staff were finne, great atmosphere too. The only problem? It’s far, far too popular, so gatting a seat is near impossible.