Things to Do in Belfast at Night

Belfasts pubs are famously brilliant, but there is more to the citys nightlife
Belfast's pubs are famously brilliant, but there is more to the city's nightlife | © / Christopher Hill Photographic / Alamy Stock Photo
Kim Gregory

Northern Ireland’s capital of Belfast comes to life at night with live music, an electric pub culture, fabulous shows and even spooky ghost walks.

Sometimes a city only truly comes to life at night, and that’s certainly true of Belfast. As the street lamps start to glow, live music wafts from every pub doorway and the historic buildings light up. A wander around the twinkling streets is a magical experience in itself, but there are lots of other wonderful ways to spend an evening in Belfast. Whether you want to experience the local nightlife and pub culture, sip fancy cocktails in a glamorous setting, enjoy a night at the theatre or do something a bit unusual, we’ve got you covered with this list of the best things to do at night in Northern Ireland’s capital.

1. Take a food and drink tour

Architectural Landmark

United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Belfast, the Titanic Whiskey launched in 2011
© Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo

The Irish famously love their drink, especially whiskey. Do as the locals do and spend an evening touring the city’s best whiskey joints, enjoying a tipple or two… or three. Award-winning Taste & Tour offer a Belfast Whiskey Walk, which boasts “more whiskey than walking”. See the buzzing Cathedral Quarter as an Irish whiskey ambassador teaches you the art of drinking. It takes three hours, starting at 7pm at the Jaffe Memorial Fountain. The £60 ticket includes seven tipples and some nibbles. Private tours are available for groups.

2. Sample the Nightlife

Bar, Pub Grub

To get merry at your own pace, Belfast’s trendy nightlife offers a wide range of venues. Head to the Cathedral Quarter’s the Duke of York, a local favourite for Guinness drinking. For something more historic and swanky, we recommend Crown Liquor Saloon on Great Victoria Street, its stained glass windows and ornate bar dates back to 1880. Once the lights go down, you won’t have to look far to find live music, modern or traditional. We like the Dirty Onion for Irish folk any night of the week.

4. Watch a Show

Building, Opera House, Theatre

The classically beautiful Grand Opera House, which opened in 1895 on Great Victoria Street is home to some of Belfast’s best shows. The building’s Eastern-style architecture is unique and inside, you’ll find a tiered auditorium with exquisite designs. Book one of their music, comedy or theatre shows for a special night out, once it reopens in November 2020 following restoration. If you’re visiting before then, check out Waterfront Hall with local and international acts including music, comedy, opera, ballet, theatre and more.

5. The Best Night View

Architectural Landmark

United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Belfast, the Victoria Square commercial center glass dome measuring 35m in diameter gives a
© Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo

For the best view of the city at night, head to the Dome in Victoria Square. The 360-degree panorama shows off the twinkling lights of Belfast and you can pick out the landmarks you visited that day. Entry is free and the dome closes later, 9pm rather than 6pm, on Thursday and Friday. Time it right and you can watch the sun set over the city, marvelling as the streets light up.

6. Bert’s Jazz Bar and Restaurant

Bar, Pub Grub

If swanky lounges and smooth music are your thing, head to the five-star Merchant Hotel on Skipper Street, where you’ll find Bert’s Jazz Bar & Restaurant. Not only is the French bistro menu and extensive cocktail list a feast to behold, the restaurant’s interior is the most glamorous in town. It’s themed around 1930s New York and the Jazz Age, with cool musicians playing Thursday to Sunday from 9pm.
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