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Good Friday: When are the pubs open and where can you get an elusive pint when they're closed?

Belfast bar apologises for 'ancient' trading laws

By Jonny Bell

Published 25/03/2016

Pubs can't serve alcohol before 5pm on Good Friday - but there are places to legally get a pint.
Pubs can't serve alcohol before 5pm on Good Friday - but there are places to legally get a pint.
Belfast International Airport
All aboard: Hitch the Enterprise south - licencing laws don't restrict service in the bar carriage on the Belfast to Dublin service. Although you can't drink on normal Northern Ireland Railways services. The Republic has similar licencing laws to our own, if you considered staying in the Fair City.
Hop on the Ferry - out on the high seas the law doesn't apply, although you'd need good sea legs as opposed to hollow ones.
Visit a Belfast hotel and you WON'T get served before 5pm on Good Friday. If you are a resident, however, present your room key and the optics and taps are yours through the day.
Nobody is saying a luke warm can of beer equates to a pint poured, left to settle and placed in front of you in the cosy surrounding of a welcoming pub. But the Easter drinking laws don't apply at the off-licence and most should be open as normal. It's worth bearing in mind that they close all day on Easter Sunday.

Good Friday and its licencing laws are a divisive issue for some - but there are ways to wet your whistle during the hours the pubs are closed.

In Northern Ireland alcohol can only be served between 5pm and 11pm on Good Friday. Bars have to stop serving at midnight on Thursday and Easter Saturday. And on Easter Sunday bars and restaurants have to stop serving alcohol at 10pm.

Off-licences too, are closed all day on Easter Sunday.

Click through the above pictures to see where and when you can get a drink - legally - before the pubs open.

Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, said the industry, which employs 45,000 people in food and drink alone, could no longer work under "draconian legislation".

Read more: 'Draconian' licensing laws to cost trade £16m over Easter

Easter opening hours


11.30am to midnight


5pm to 11pm

Pubs and restaurants can open earlier than 5pm to serve food, but not alcohol.


11.30am to midnight (If they have a late licence)


12.30pm to 10pm


Back to normal.

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