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 décor, 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.
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.
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.
Just up the road from The Crown Liquor Saloon, this is a combination of things in one building. We went to the Victorian Saloon at the front, which was less atmospheric than The Crown, but had seats. It wasn’t bad, but was a bit unexceptional: no real ale. Some nice Titanic memorabilia though.
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.
This is very much a backstreet drinkers pub: it’s very close to the town centre but you’re unlikely to find it unless you know it’s there. By the looks of the place it’s an old building, and is rumoured to be haunted.
The drinkers had been hard at it when we visited, but were friendly enough: rowdy, but friendly. Music was loud (but, to be fair, not shit) beer was acceptable, but no better (no ale, Stella was that 4% rubbish). Allegedly the place was refurbed in 2006, though I’d say “what with” to that. It reminded me of the Duke of Rutland or Shoulder of Mutton in several ways: old, traditional boozers with a local crowd, loud but OK music, and limited drinks range. Very much rough and ready…
Right in the town centre, I was a bit concerned this might be a bit ‘spoons-esque, but it turned out to be another Black Country Taverns house, and not bad at all. Big, open plan, and quite like the Black Country Arms in character. Decent beer, the TVs were on with Olympic coverage, but not too loud.
The stuff of legends. Why have I not been here before? Well, mainly because it’s way over in Netherton. It’s worth the trip though: a traditional, multi-room pub with great features, a famed brewery onsite, good food, and tons of atmosphere. One of my favourite pubs. We were blessed by good weather to enjoy the pleasant beer garden, but the inside is wonderful too.
You can catch sight of this legendary West Brom pub from the M5, if, for example you’re stuck in traffic. It’s tucked in a mixed industrial/residential area down a backstreet, and looks like a traditional boozer. In many ways it is: good beer, lots of little rooms. The surprise is out the back: what would have been a yard is enclosed now and has a indoor Tandoori barbeque. We didn’t eat, retiring instead to the front of the pub for a quiet drink- which is one of this pubs strengths: the back is family friendly (but not over-run with kids) and food-biased, the front traditional. There’s great real ale, and Cobra lager. Judging by the number of people dining (many of them Asian), the food must be good too.
Big, imposing Victorian pub on the A461. I loved this place, even though it was evidently a tiny bit run down and there was no real ale. The staff were friendly, the lager was bearable, and the building fantastic: it was clearly once very grand, (and a hotel at one time), and some features remain, notably the impressive tiling.