Belfast Telegraph

Beer garden planned for Wetherspoon's city bar

By John Mulgrew

Pub giant JD Wetherspoon is planning to build a major beer garden at its flagship Belfast city centre pub.

Plans have now been submitted for a large beer garden at the back of The Bridge House bar on Bedford Street.

The 2,000 sq ft beer garden will be accessed from the bar itself, alongside a driveway to the right of the front of the pub.

The UK bar chain, which is run by Northern Ireland man Tim Martin, is also expanding its reach in Northern Ireland.

It is planning to create around 100 jobs with two new pubs for Belfast.

That includes a new spot at the former JJB Sports store on Royal Avenue.

Earlier this year Mr Martin welcomed the addition of 1,200 new student beds in Belfast close to his upcoming city centre pub.

But the pub chain chairman, who was raised in Northern Ireland, said the introduction of a new National Living Wage risks making business here "uncompetitive".

Wetherspoon is investing between and £3m and £4m in the Royal Avenue and University Road outlets, after buying a former Methodist church close to Queen's University.

Wetherspoon paid around £1.2m for the lavish and historic former Methodist church in south Belfast, which is due to become its second new bar in the city.

JD Wetherspoon currently operates nine bars across Northern Ireland.

The chain is also expanding into the Republic, where it opened its first pub, The Three Tun Tavern, in 2014.

It already operates more than 900 pubs across the UK.

Belfast Telegraph