I’ve visited the TOP pubs in Belfast, and this is the BEST one

Belfast is full of some cracking pubs, but this one, in my opinion, is the best.

I’ve visited the TOP pubs in Belfast, and this is the BEST one.

Local beer on draft, sound bartenders, live music and events throughout the week – the Sunflower Pub in Belfast has it all, and that’s why we think it’s the best pub in the city.

The Sunflower is an iconic pub in Belfast, renowned for not serving standard beers, the security cage relic at the front door that remains from the Troubles, the last of its kind in any city centre pub in Belfast, and the all-around craic to be had there.

Just this month, February 2024, the pub said goodbye to its owner of more than ten years, Pedro Donald.

Time will tell if the Sunflower Pub can maintain its status as one of the city’s best bars under new ownership. So, let’s take a look.

The Sunflower Pub – why I love it

Drinkers in the beer garden at the Sunflower, one of the top pubs in Belfast.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Tourism Northern Ireland

The Sunflower is my go-to pub in Belfast city centre. The reason I love it is because it’s a proper pub that serves a decent pint with a consistently nice crowd and a good atmosphere.

It’s small, but it’s mighty. The pub has the small, local charm of a good Irish pub, but it also has a modern feel, which is why it appeals to all age groups.

That’s another reason why it’s so great. The crowd isn’t overly young or overly old; you could have a group of students in one corner, two older locals in the other, and everyone in between dotted around the bar.

The Sunflower regularly hosts live music nights and different events, like drink and draw, free language lessons, comedy nights, film clubs, and so much more.

The beer garden in the Sunflower is one of the highlights of the pub, especially in the summer. You’ll find people eating pizza, enjoying a pint, and, thanks to it being dog-friendly, a fluffy friend or two dotted around, as well.

When it comes to the top pubs in Belfast, the Sunflower has a simple charm like no other.

History of the pub – the site of a pub for more than 100 years

The exterior of the Tavern, the former bar on the site of the Sunflower.
Credit: Facebook/ Sunflower Public House & Live Music

The Sunflower Pub first opened its doors on the corner of Kent Street and Union Street in December 2012. However, the site has been running as a functioning public house for more than 100 years.

It’s truly a no-frills pub in the city. It’s instantly recognisable thanks to the security cage that remains on the door from the 80s.

The cage is no longer necessary for security reasons, but it has been kept and preserved as a marking of Belfast’s history.

The management of the pub has been the same since the Sunflower opened in 2012, which is always a good sign and sign of a pub with longevity.

The Sunflower prides itself in serving top-notch local beers, like Yardsman, which is brewed in Belfast. They also have the Kinnegar range from Donegal, and the Real Ale comes from Hilden Brewery.

If you’re a die-hard Guinness fan, you’ll surely be disappointed, but you’ve had your warning!

Other top pubs in Belfast – if you’re up for a bar crawl

The exterior of Kelly's Cellars, with people sitting at tables.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Tourism Northern Ireland

While the Sunflower gets the nod from me as the best bar in Belfast, there are several other drinking joints around town and outside the city centre that equally deserve a mention.

The Ulster Sports Club is currently Belfast’s best venue for a night out where you can dance to good music and live DJs.

Kelly’s Cellars is another firm favourite. If you’re out for cocktails, consider Bootleggers or Orisha. Want a club atmosphere? Then Boombox is the best way to end the night.

If you fancy venturing out of the city to Ormeau Road, you’ll find the Errigle Inn, more commonly known simply as the Errigle to locals. The Errigle is a fantastic local pub that has several different rooms for drinking, dining, watching sports, and more.

In the summer, the Errigle is the place to be on the Ormeau Road, as the beer garden out the front offers fantastic sun coverage and a great atmosphere.

So, there you have it, one gal’s opinion on the best bar in Belfast. Do you agree?

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