| 7.8°C Belfast

Pubs countdown: 30 great beer gardens for that first pint on Friday


Kelly's Cellars in Bank Street, Belfast

Kelly's Cellars in Bank Street, Belfast

The Sunflower in Belfast's Union Street

The Sunflower in Belfast's Union Street


Kelly's Cellars in Bank Street, Belfast

With beer gardens across Northern Ireland set to reopen on Friday, cold pints in the sunshine will make for a refreshing return to normality after months of lockdown.

In Belfast, The Sunflower on Union Street has wasted not time in telling customers on Facebook that it’s “TIME FOR PINTS!”

Reopening at 12pm sharp on Friday, the venue is operating a first-come, first-serve system advising customers to tell their mates and bring their dogs.

With one of the best known beer gardens in Belfast, The Dirty Onion is well-equipped for outside reopening, telling customers on social media: “Whether rain, sun or snow we’ll have those doors open and the pints flowing folks.”

After steadily expanding their outside beer gardens for years, Lavery’s in Belfast hasn’t sat still during lockdown. Opening at 1pm on a strictly first-come, first-served basis, the venue is ready to welcome customers to the new and improved shipyard beer garden.

Kelly’s Cellars on Bank Street is one of the oldest licensed premises in Belfast and is taking online bookings for outside drinks. In Union Street, meanwhile, the Sunflower is getting its pipes ready.

In Stranmillis, Cutter’s Wharf enjoys a relaxing front row seat for customers to enjoy a Guinness while rowers fly past on the River Lagan.

Looking to Co Antrim, the Quay’s Bar in Portrush is reopening for dining and drinking while promising a refurbished interior for the expected return of indoor service on May 24.

Excited to open their doors again, the management have assured customers that all safety measures are in place to ensure a happy return.

Enjoying breathtaking views over Belfast Lough, the Bureau Bar in Whiteabbey boasts a beer garden and extensive balcony area perfect for a pint by the sea.

Another Co Antrim gem to return this Friday is The Whitecliff Inn.

Situated close to Whitehead Train Station, the traditional venue first opened its doors in 1894.

With the relaxing of Covid restrictions allowing visitors to once again hop on the ferry to Rathlin Island, McCuaig’s Bar will be a worthwhile stop this Friday.

Overlooking the tranquil harbour, the popular pub opens at 2pm, with the venue advising customers: “We’ll all be outdoors so please bring clothing that will suit the weather....coats, wetsuits, duvets, swimwear etc.”

In Co Down, The Dirty Duck Alehouse in Holywood has promised “some good quack” this Friday, boasting a newly refurbished beer garden for visitors.

In Bangor, the Jamaica Inn offers a chance to watch the world, and plenty of boats, go by with a refreshing drink outside.

Located at Newcastle Harbour and at the foot of the Mournes, the family-run Harbour House Inn offers a picturesque outside setting for a pint and a gourmet fish finger sandwich.

In Hillsborough, The “charming, rustic” Hillside first opened its doors to patrons in 1752.

With inside fireplaces closed for now, the outside cobbled stoned beer garden reopens this week to offer top class alfresco dining.

Heading south to Co Armagh, the newly refurbished Bridge Bar in Newry is both one of the oldest traditional pubs in the city as well as a popular venue for cocktails.

Hoping for a sunny three weeks until indoor service returns, the venue said it can guarantee “a good atmosphere, a great pint of Guinness and friendly customer service.”

Described as “a hidden treasure in the Orchard County,” Basil Shiels Bar in Tassagh was established in the early 1880s. The rustic stone look of the beer garden makes it more than tempting for a quiet weekend drink.

In Portadown, Sally McNally’s is opening its beer garden after growing from a simple two-roomed pub to a sprawling restaurant “with lots of inviting nooks and crannies with bagfuls of charm and character.” In the village of Derrymacash, The Cornerhouse Bar near Lurgan is described as “a traditional yet luxurious venue with beautiful interiors”.

In Co Londonderry, popular venues opening their doors again include the Dungloe in the heart of Derry City Centre as well as The Thirsty Goat on Shipquay Street.

Elsewhere, Bertha’s Bar in Castlerock and The Happy Landing in Eglinton have both promised customers a warm welcome.

There's also plenty of choice in Co Fermanagh, with Enniskillen in particular spoiled for choice with options including Pat's Bar, The Lough Inn, The Devenish and The Taphouse.

For Co Tyrone, patrons will be flocking back to locals like Tomney’s bar in Moy, Jailbird Garden Bar in Cookstown, Annie’s Bar in Omagh and McAleer’s Bar in Dungannon.