Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Hold the front page for a story of grunge 'n' gossip

One of the last remaining family-owned bars in Belfast is a lunch treat

Where?



Front Page, 110 Donegall Street, Belfast.







What's the vibe?



Unpretentious just about sums it up. Situated in the Cathedral Quarter, just 10 minutes walk from the City Hall, this bar is opposite the Irish News and behind the Belfast Telegraph, ostensibly for the convenience of some thirsty journalists. If you fancy stopping to sup a few, or even if you're in a down and dash mood, you could do a lot worse than pop in to sit back and relax while the world rushes by. Modelled on a traditional Victorian Camden pub, it was redesigned in 1986. The bar downstairs remains very old-fashioned, with stained glass windows and wooden floors preserving its many charms. Pre-1960s, the Musicians' Union of Belfast occupied the first floor, which is now The Front Page music bar and the venue has firmly established itself as a favourite on Belfast's vibrant clubbing landscape.



What's on offer?



No wild surprises where the drink's concerned. But if your tummy's rumbling, you can also get good, basic grub, like soup and sarnies, which is known to sate the no-nonsense clientele. There are also a couple of well-placed, good-sized screens for sport and similar.







Who can you expect to bump into?



There are arguably two types of clientele. Down below, everything from brickies to businessmen frequent this joint. But it's very much a male affair - and a pretty mature one at that. You get the impression that many of the regulars have just come in from the bookies. Move onwards and upwards and you'll meet young grungy types, who you might suspect have a fine collection of Nirvana and Foo Fighters' CDs at home.







What are they wearing?



Sensible gear downstairs, while anything goes at the top of the house.







Overheard?



Music spilling out from the Union Bar/Kremlin across the street.







What to say?



This is one of only two family-owned city centre bars. (The McEllhatton family has owned this place for 30 years.)







What not to say?



Do you fancy popping over to the Kremlin for a night cap?







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