Despite its small size, the capital city of Northern Ireland manages to fit in loads of bars that even the most adventurous of locals haven’t fully explored. But with so many choices, how do you decide where to go on your next night out in Belfast?
We know how daunting it can be to choose where to go for drinks when in company. We’ve all been under pressure at some point to pick a decent venue that won’t disappoint our friends.
But fear not! We’re here to round up the 10 best bars in Belfast so that you don’t have to.
10. Muriel’s Café Bar – for its selection of gins
Starting off our list is Muriel’s. Known emphatically around Belfast for its fantastic presentation of drinks and selection of spirits, this is not one to miss for cocktail lovers and gin connoisseurs.
If not making friendly chat at the bar with staff, customers can sit outside while they indulge in wonderfully crafted drinks and tasty food. Muriels is small, but it certainly delivers.
Address: 12-14 Church Lane, BT1 4QN Belfast
9. Fibber Magees – to enjoy quintessential Irish-ness
There are no modern spins or eccentric additions here; Fibber Magees is as authentically Irish as it markets itself to be. As the peat in the fireplace crackles, customers sink their pints and grow ever rowdier against the vivacity of fiddle and whistle. Its proximity to other bars also makes it an important part of anyone’s city centre pub crawl.
Address: 38-42 Great Victoria St, BT2 7BA Belfast
8. The Perch – for lavish drinks and rooftop seating
Rooftop bar, anyone? The Perch is going to charge you for its beautifully crafted beverages, but you’re paying for the entire experience. Take a vintage-style elevator up to the top floor of this converted Victorian warehouse and see the blend of colourful flora with red brick walls and open-air seating.
They also serve pizza, for when you’ve had a too few many Carolina Wren cocktails and need some carby goodness.
Address: 42 Franklin St, BT2 7GE Belfast
7. The Parlour – to feel snug
Admittedly this one is more of a student taunt, but despite its madly inexpensive drinks, the quality of its pints and spirits does not falter. The Parlour features many 1960s-style TVs that play in black and white, and its wooden walls and hidden rooms add character that you might not expect of a bar so tucked away from the city centre.
Step out the back to enjoy fairy lights, gnomes, and mini golf-themed décor in a magically inspired beer garden.
Address: 2-4 Elmwood Ave, BT9 6AY Belfast
6. The Berliner – if you fancy something different
Once known as Ether and Echo, The Berliner is one of the best bars in Belfast, offering a unique environment with a distinctly Irish feel. Enjoy your drinks in a cosy booth while peering out the window at Garfield Street’s funky street graffiti, or play a game of pool against the ambiance of The Berliner’s live music.
Address: 1-3 Lower Garfield St, BT1 1FP Belfast
5. Filthy McNasty’s – for its quirky aesthetics
The Filthy Quarter includes four different bars that offer slightly different experiences, but we rate Filthy McNasty’s the highest. Filthy’s has a quirky décor inside that ranges from unmatching furniture to tall lamps and vinyl.
During the summer, its two-tiered beer garden is perfect for an afternoon pint in the sun, and even during the blistery colds of winter, this bar has you covered with blankets, heaters, and tasty drinks to warm the soul.
Address: 45 Dublin Rd, BT2 7HD Belfast
4. Sunflower – for a kooky, comfy atmosphere
What the Sunflower bar lacks in size it makes up for in quality, making it one of the best bars in Belfast. The bar itself seems like any ordinary corner pub, but behind its doors is a kooky, comfy bar that offers friendly service and unsung drinks that you’d be pushed to find in any off-license or supermarket.
Step outside into the large beer garden and enjoy a huge dog-friendly area tucked between buildings, accompanied by the scent of wood-fired pizza that is served Tuesday through Sunday.
Address: 65 Union St, BT1 2JG Belfast
3. The National – the perfect amount of grandeur
This place may be pricey, but it’s more than deserving of every penny it asks for. The National’s recent refurbishments have made its interior super swanky, and its sumptuous food and assortment of alcohol set a precedent that most other bars aspire to.
Vegans should make a note of this one, if not for their delicious vegan fry-up, then for their creatively made White Russians.
Address: 62 High St, BT1 2BE Belfast
2. The Dirty Onion – for a spacious area to soak up tradition
The Dirty Onion introduces itself as an “authentic Irish pub with a modern twist.” Its greatest selling point is its music scene, as it offers top-notch entertainment seven nights a week with an emphasis placed upon traditional Irish instrumentals.
Expect rehashes of popular contemporary music played by talented performers with fiddles and accordions. The atmosphere is always stellar.
Of course, it’s also first and foremost a bar—and one of the best bars in Belfast at that. During the colder seasons, you can slurp on a mouth-watering Hot Apple Brandy, while over 40 types of whiskey are available year-round.
Address: 3 Hill St, BT1 2LA Belfast
1. Lavery’s Belfast – for outstanding entertainment
And finally, at number one sits one of Belfast’s most renowned and cherished pubs. The city’s oldest family-owned bar, Lavery’s has celebrated enormous success since opening in 1918, and for good reason.
Lavery’s is enormous, and it continues to expand as its popularity grows. Divide your time between one of its six (yes, six) spacious areas that offer lush decor, first-rate cocktails, the biggest pool room in Northern Ireland, and world-class entertainment.
Enjoy comedy nights in Tom’s every first and third Wednesday of the month, or listen to live music over a craft ale in the Back Bar or Woodworkers.
If you’re still not convinced, the Ballroom opens up on a Saturday for Beat Connection, one of Belfast’s biggest nights out. And if hearty pub grub is your thing, then pay attention to Lavery’s huge lunch and dinner menus that are particularly suitable for group dinners and work-dos.
Address: 12-18 Bradbury Pl, BT7 1RS Belfast