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You can still find lots of old-fashioned boozers in Belfast if that’s what you crave. Among them are the National Trust-owned granddaddy of Belfast’s pub scene, the Crown Liquor Saloon (46 Great Victoria Street), and Kelly’s Cellars (30-32 Bank Street) where traditional music and perfectly poured pints of Guinness are the order of the day.
If you prefer modern dance music to traditional tunes, and are closer to college-going age than retirement, you may prefer to go to one of Belfast’s clubs instead.
Club-goers on nights out in Belfast can throw shapes at any number of spots, including the two-storey 2,000-capacity Box (2 Queen's Quay) and Thompson’s Garage (3 Patterson’s Place), a noisy late-night venue that has been pulling in punters for more than two decades.
Chinawhite (43 Franklin Street), famous for its celeb-packed London sister venue, is favoured by those who want to experience Belfast’s nightlife VIP-style. But for more alternative entertainment in Belfast, catch an indie performance at Limelight (17 Ormeau Ave) or head for Voodoo (9-11 Fountain Street), an intimate little rock bar with regular live music.
Craft beer is having something a moment in Belfast. Drinkers are increasingly opting to forgo cheap lagers and old favourites such as Guinness in favour of new, small-name brews.
Some of the best places to sample obscure foreign and domestic beers include Bootleggers (46 Church Lane), which serves up a good selection of Irish and American brews. Alternatively, try bric-a-brac laden Hudson Bar (10-14 Gresham Street) or The Dirty Onion (3 Hill Street), which provides music, rotisserie chicken, beer and craic in an atmospheric converted warehouse.