Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Best value evenings in Belfast

Welcome back to ‘Hot Ticket’ — myself Ryan McBride and my partner in crime Sarah Mayes will bring you our guide to the best value evenings in Belfast city every Friday until the end of June using your Metro bus ticket.

The Metro Friday team - Sarah Mayes and Ryan McBride
The Metro Friday team - Sarah Mayes and Ryan McBride
Gig-goers Sarah Grahame and Johnny Ferguson in the Taphouse
Gavin McCullough and Sarah McCreedy at Dante's
Catching up at Ba Mizu are sisters-in-law (from left) Roberta Brownlee, Hazel Somerville, Ruth Wright, Gladys Brownlee, Sharon Brownlee, Diane Brownlee and Rosie Brownlee
Metro Fridays' Sarah and Ryan get an inpromptu pool lesson from Tony Hanna, a Taphouse regular

With the start of May comes festival season so last Friday we enjoyed two shows as well as drinks and dinner!





We took the 16.33 Metro service into town and a short walk to Cotton Court in the vibrant Cathedral Quarter for entertainment from the sixth Festival of Fools — Ireland’s biggest street theatre festival. The buzz was electric as people stopped to enjoy the free show from the renowned Fez-wearing Splott Brothers complete with a range of musical instruments, quirky mobile piano bar and audience participation in abundance!

Next we went to the leafy University area to the Taphouse — formerly famous Belfast institution The Fly. It was full of people winding down after a week at work. We enjoyed great craic with the locals as we sipped our Metro Fridays drinks which were two £2 pints and met ‘gig-goers’ Sarah and Johnny who were relaxing with a cocktail and a beer. Before we left for our next spot Sarah even managed to get an impromptu pool lesson from regular Tony Hanna.

Then we headed straight for the sumptuous top floor restaurant, Metro Fridays partner, Ba Mizu in Victoria Square which features a large terrace overlooking the Lagan and city beyond. Tucking into a pre-show dinner were members of the Brownlee family who made me feel very welcome indeed — in total seven sisters-in-law enjoying the exclusive feel of sky high dining before catching the Dancing On Ice tour at the Odyssey Arena!

Now for food we’d made reservations in Dante’s Italian Bistro at 6.45pm, also in Victoria Square, where we enjoyed a rustic Italian menu amid families and cinemagoers — and using our Metro ticket got 10% off our total food bill!

We couldn’t stop for long as we were off for our second festival fix of the night at the Tenth Annual Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. We’d free tickets (a great value £10 otherwise) to soul |legend Candi Staton in the marquee in Custom House Square.

As we waited for the show to start we watched the ‘movers and shakers’ among Belfast’s beautiful people, all excitedly getting their wristbands and making their way inside for pre-show drinks, including BBC TV and radio presenter and |frequent festival-goer Ralph McLean.

In true ‘Hot Ticket’ style we spotted bassist, composer and producer Ernie McKone, who got us backstage entry to meet Candi Staton.

Still on a high we made our way back to Donegall Square West to catch the Metro home at 10.45pm for the special Metro Fridays £1. With more and more happening in the city on a Friday night and with Metro Fridays special offers, we were able to pack in two festival shows — comedy and the best of disco — have a great Italian meal, a private pool lesson and enjoy a relaxing drink with a fantastic view of Belfast — all for £25 each! Plus we met the great Candi Staton!

Tonight, after starting off with a late afternoon gym session at Metro Fridays partner LA Fitness, we’ll be heading, guilt-free, to more Metro Fridays venues, The Globe for a pre-dinner drink, Spaniard for a taste of the Med, and the Waterfront for comedy with Anver the Eccentric, part of the Festival of Fools. The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival is still on so who knows who we’ll bump into tonight! Until next time!

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Sagittarius:

Beware of spending beyond your means. Sticking to a budget will help you survive the festive season relatively unscathed. It will be easier than you think to let your grip on the purse strings slip especially as the big day draws near. Let Christmas be about loving, sharing and giving. Spend quality time preparing food, making decorations and playing games together. If you haven't sent all your cards or round robin emails give some thought about what you will be sharing with others this year.More