City hotel reopens after £2m rebrand
Madison's to reopen as House Belfast
The former Madison's Hotel on Botanic Avenue will reopen its doors on Monday under the name House Belfast after its new directors invested £2m in an overhaul creating 50 jobs.
The venue was taken over by Belfast bar operator Michael Stewart and Dublin businessman Alan Clancy in 2016.
They closed Madison's four months ago to begin the refurbishment.
The result is a bigger venue that includes a main bar with an imposing cherry blossom tree acting as a focal point, a mezzanine-style bar area, a function room, cafe space and a whiskey room with wooden-clad walling, as well as 31 refitted hotel rooms.
A basement floor nightclub is currently under construction and due to open in the next six to 12 months, said Mr Clancy, who operates 12 licensed venues around Ireland.
House Belfast is the third in his House brand portfolio. Other locations are in Dublin and Limerick.
He said the move north was a "natural fit" for his company NolaClan.
"We have bars in every major city in the island of Ireland except Galway, and it made sense to come to the city at this time. House Belfast will have the same attributes as the other House bars," he said.
Significant investment has also been made in the hotel, amounting to around £15,000 per room, he added.
Room capacity was reduced from 35 to 31 to make way for a space on the first floor that can be hired out for private functions.
"It's about making much more social space so that this is an all-day venue," said Mr Clancy, who said food and cocktails will also be a focus.
"We will be open morning, noon and night so that we can cater to morning business meetings with breakfast, to private parties."
Eight of Madison's former staff have been re-employed while a further 40 jobs have been created.
Another 10 full and part-time roles will be added when the nightclub opens.
Fellow director Mr Stewart has been a prominent figure in the local hospitality trade for more than 30 years, during which time he has managed bars such as Bob Cratchit's, some of the former Botanic Inn's venues, Bamboo Beach Club and more recently the Hudson.
He went into partnership with Mr Clancy to transform Madison's, which has operated for more than 20 years.
He said: "Situated on the vibrant, well-connected hub of Botanic Avenue, and a only a short distance away from areas of culture and heritage interest, we hope that House Belfast will help to attract visitors from home and abroad to this unique part of the city."