Velma Attitude at Auntie Annies
Oh Yeah Centre
A mecca for culture vultures - Belfast, Northern Ireland
Belfast is an innovative leader in the arts and a mecca for culture fans. The Council has put money into venues, museums, art galleries, and schemes to help the city become a vibrant cultural centre. Look down any of the winding streets and you will find a hidden gem, whether it is a coffee shop, a great restaurant or an eclectic music venue showcasing some of the newest talent on the scene. The city has the most amazing buzz to it and feels alive, whether you are walking beside the Lagan river at sunrise or hanging out in one of the many wonderful pubs (and believe me, the Guinness really is in a whole other league!) the energy of the place seeps under your skin, and I am not exaggerating when I say, a Belfast friend is a friend for life. The friendship may have been forged in Guinness and whisky, but it is one that will remain long after the hangovers.
A must is The Crown Bar and there’s a very good reason for its fame - it was once the greatest Gin Palace of industrial Britain and has been cherished ever since. In 1978 The National Trust bought it, and in 1981 restored it to its former glory.
The building is an architectural masterpiece and a joy to drink in. Pick one of the snugs, which still have the antique bell system, alerting staff to your drinking needs and you are set up for the night.
On your way home, take a diversion to Bishop’s on Bradbury Place, and grab yourself some of the best chips with mayonnaise around. Another architectural treat is McHugh's bar and restaurant, on Queens Square. The building dates back to 1711, and is the oldest surviving building in Belfast. Definitely worth a pint of Guinness if you happen to pass its doors!
One of the highlights of my last trip was the Oh Yeah centre in the heart of Belfast. Their vision to “open doors to music potential” was created in 2005 between the Northern Irish band Snow Patrol and music industry people. They provide affordable rehearsal space and a venue that is welcoming to under eighteens.They have a permanent music exhibition, a café space, a privately run recording studio, a song writing room, various small office units for start-up businesses and areas where workshops, meetings and seminars are held. Oh Yeah is a testament to the passion and entrepreneurial spirit of the city - a definite stop on a tour of Belfast.
Auntie Annie’s is another institution for all music lovers, opened in 1999 and going from strength to strength. With some of the most talented up and coming bands playing there, you are guaranteed a great night out.
If Belfast is not on your map of places to visit, I urge you to take a little diversion and give the city at least two days to woo you. It really does have something for every culture lover and I have been more than happy to be embraced by one of the greatest cities in the world.
- Auntie Annies
- If you want a brilliant musical guide to Belfast, this guide from Bearded Magazine should give you everything you need
Lisa Jenkins (with image of the Oh Yeah courtesy of Tachie; The Crown courtesy of Charlie Dave and Velma Attitude at Auntie Annies courtesy of Speed Demons Photos)