Cathedral Quarter Bar Crawl
To experience a quintessential night out in Belfast, head straight to the bars of the Cathedral Quarter. At the centre of the neighbourhood's nightlife is colourful Hill St; come evening time, the chatter of local office workers gives way to the clacking of high heels over cobblestones, and the singing of musicians drifts out from nearby bars.
- Start Established Coffee
- End Sunflower
- Length 1km; three hours
Get things going with a late-afternoon coffee at Established. Its position on the corner of Hill St is perfect for people watching; take a seat at the window for the best view of local life as you sip your flat white or cortado. Around you the chatter will turn to evening plans; listen in to pick up tips.
Duke of York
Now it's time to hit the bars proper, starting with the Duke of York, an unmissable stop for someone sampling Belfast's nightlife. Inside, the traditional pub feels like a museum. If it's sunny, take your pint outside onto Commercial Ct and join the crowd on the cobbled alleyway, drinking beneath the hanging lights and wall-mounted bikes complete with dummy cyclists.
It's hard to avoid being pulled into conversation with the regulars at the tiny Spaniard, as you cram into the downstairs and 1st-floor rooms of this charming pub. Order a rum (the bar has more than 30 varieties). If you need something to soak up the alcohol, nearby burger joint Pablos delivers here.
Next head to the John Hewitt, a traditional pub that's popular with locals; if you're lucky, you'll catch a trad session. It's a good place to try a local gin, such as Jawbox. The bar is owned by the Belfast Unemployed Research centre and named after a Belfast poet and socialist.
Finish the night at the Sunflower, the favourite haunt of many Belfast residents. This friendly, no-frills pub oozes authenticity and has live music every night, including jazz and blues, trad sessions, Americana and folk. Choose from the excellent selection of local craft beers and refuel with a pizza cooked in the wood-fired oven in the Sunflower's atmospheric beer garden.
- Live music
Hill St is a 10-minute walk from Donegall Sq in the city centre.
Bus G2 and G1 buses stop at Custom House Sq.