Belfast Telegraph

Belfast bar Shiro replaced as rooftop bar hits heights with new pub in Linen Quarter

By John Mulgrew

Belfast bar and nightspot Shiro is being shut and replaced with a new pub, just a year after it opened its doors.

It's part of the owners' plans to reach new heights as it unveils two new city centre bars, creating 50 jobs.

The Perch is set to open its doors this week, and according to those behind the new spot, is the highest rooftop bar in the city.

And a second bar - The Sweet Afton - is set to follow in August, and is also located within a Victorian building at the junction of Brunswick Street, Franklin Street and James Street South.

It's replacing Asian-inspired bar Shiro, after little more than a year open.

The latest nightspots are the work of bar and club operator Paul Langsford - who already runs Rita's and Chinawhite in the same building.

The Sweet Afton has been part-funded by drinks giant Diageo. It will take the spot of the former Shiro.

It's the latest phase of the businessman's bar complex in the Linen Quarter area of Belfast city centre

Mr Langsford is also director of a host of other city bars, including the Albany, El Divino and Filthy McNasty's.

The latest addition will be its fourth night-spot on the same site - and Mr Langsford said he hoped the location would become a "destination venue".

"We have two very successful venues there, Rita's and Chinawhite. We feel the roof-top bar will offer a bit more, and something for everyone.

"Obviously the Cathedral Quarter has been the place to go, but we have seen the Linen Quarter expanding. I think the Linen Quarter can be the place to go."

But Mr Langsford maintained the former Shiro bar had been a success, despite remaining open for only a year.

"It was successful for us, but this new opportunity came along following discussion with a Diageo rep, looking for a venue to showcase their beers. We thought this site was perfect for this.

"We definitely feel this complements our other venues better."

Interior architecture firm O'Donnell O'Neill Design Associates is the team designing the new bars.

And Jorge Lopes, country director of Diageo Northern Ireland said the company was "looking forward to showcasing" its range of beers in The Sweet Afton.

"This is a really exciting time for the hospitality sector in Belfast and across Northern Ireland and The Sweet Afton and The Perch are great examples of the investment that is supporting the re-emergence and growth within the industry."

Belfast Telegraph