Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 10 July 2014

Northern Ireland's Christmas party season in full flow

The Alison Campbell Modelling Agency Christmas Party at Cafe Vaudeville. Sarah Moore, Ruth Gorman and Charlene McLean

Christmas party pictures from Cafe Vaudeville, Ryan's, Ollies, the Tatler bash, Betty Black's, The Taphouse and lots more.

There may be talk of a recession this Christmas but nobody has told young people across Northern Ireland who are enjoying the party season.

With festive celebrations in full swing across the province, venues and bars have been taken over by glamour and glitz and have been reporting a massive increase in business.

And in Belfast people are forgetting their woes and celebrating |in style.

Naoise Wolsey from The Merchant Hotel said: “We have definitely been very busy all December, the recession does not seem to be affecting us and people are really getting into the Christmas spirit.

“Bookings would always go up in December but we have more rooms than last year and we’re fully booked every weekend and we have a very high occupancy rate during the week,” she said.

Owen Swandel, manager of the Washington Bar in Belfast, said business had been picking up since the last two weeks in November.

“It would seem to me that when people are out they are spending — the weekends have been very |busy — we are definitely getting |a good turn for about the past three weeks.

“Last week and this week we have even got parties booked in during the week,” he said.

In Belfast’s trendy Cathedral Quarter, revellers have been |making the most of their festive nights out.

Boutique bar 21 Social has had to turn Christmas parties away.

Manager Eoin Quinn said: “We have been fully booked at the weekends for Christmas parties for the past three weeks. There is a lot of interest for extra tables at the weekend and we just don’t have the room to take them.

“When people come out they are definitely spending money, they are coming out a bit later but when they come out the are |definitely spending,” he said.

Some of the hotspots this |weekend included Belfast pubs the Taphouse and Ryan’s Bar and Grill along with Betty Blacks |in Bangor where the Belfast |Telegraph was on hand to capture all the style.

Staff at Ryan’s on Lisburn Road have been surprised by how busy they have been.

“Everyone was saying how quiet it was going to be but it has definitely surpassed my expectations,” said assistant manager Joanne McBride. She said the bar has been jammed with parties for the past few weeks and is expecting bumper trade this weekend.

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