Belfast is known for its lively nightlife, and makes a great destination for locals and visitors alike to go out and enjoy a few scoops at the weekends.

The number of cosy pubs, cocktail bars and gastrobars has multiplied further in recent years, with a jaunt across the city centre on a Saturday night likely to come across bustling crowds, loads of local music acts and much much more.

Whether you are in town for the weekend with your friends or romantic other, or you need a few ideas of where to hit the town this evening or afternoon, here’s a few of our favourite bars/pubs in and around Belfast city centre:


Best for…Pub Grub

Formerly known as McCracken’s, this city centre bar rebranded recently and has a fantastic pub grub menu. We loved the sharing platter with chicken wings, scampi, chicken strips and salad and there’s always a bit of atmosphere about the place.

The Empire Music Hall

Best for…Live Music

A Belfast music institution, The Empire on Botanic Avenue has a great schedule of live music every week as well as other events and live sport on TV. Its a pretty iconic looking bar as well – look out for their famous comedy night on Tuesdays as well.

Kelly’s Cellars

Best for…Pints

Picture the perfectly creamy pint of Guinness as you sit on a wooden stool by the fire – Kelly’s Cellars won’t be far away from that picture of perfection. With a healthy dose of local folk tunes on as well, it’s the perfect stop for a few cosy pints. They’ve recently opened up a new terrace area and the area surrounding it has been done up as well.

The Dirty Onion

Best for…Craic

Always jam-packed at the weekend and even during the week, there’s always a lively musical group on entertaining the punters and there will be plenty of craic to be had in the open air bar.


Best for…Cocktails

A proper tight squeeze to get in here sometimes, even with the upstairs part. However it’s worth the squeeze for one of their delicious cocktails. Try the New York Sour – you eon’t be disappointed. They also have a great little food menu on with cheese boards and other fancy items to help you soak up the booze.


Best for…Views

We love a wee rooftop bar – and Babel is perhaps the best of the lot when it comes to the Belfast bar scene. Grab yourself a beer or glass of wine on a nice day overlooking the city – sure you couldn’t beat it!

The National Grand Cafe

Also with a good food selection (including their own grilled chicken burger stop Le Coq), the National is a great spot for weekend revellers. It has a big outside area with a couple of different bars, as well as an indoor warehouse vine in the main bar area, and a few other different bars as you head up the stairs on various floors.

The Perch Rooftop Bar

Another rooftop bar, The Perch is a funky sister of Sweet Afton and Rita’s, and makes a great date spot or just a place to chill with mates over a few drinks.

Sweet Afton

A good all round bar for a bit of music or even to watch a bit of sport on the big screens.

Hellcat Maggies

Formerly known as the Apartment beside City Hall, Hellcat Maggies is another of those dressed down traditional style bars which are popping up all over the city. It has good pub grub options as well and you can’t beat the location.

Duke of York

One of the top spots on the Cathedral Quarter pub crawl of your dreams, the Duke of York has been the subject of many Instagram shots with its cobbled alleyway outside often a great meeting point for friends starting off a night out in the city.


A Belfast institution, Lavery’s has something for everyone. Pool, live music, club nights, great pints and plenty of craic. Also serves good pub grub as well – Lavery’s has been around for decades and will continue to be for many more one would imagine.