Belfast Telegraph

Cocktail club brings 20 new jobs to Belfast bar complex

By Clare Weir

The latest addition to a new hospitality complex located in a historic Belfast building is to open next month.

Rita's is a new beer and cocktail club which will create another 20 new jobs at 44 Franklin Street, which also houses Asian-inspired venue Shiro and nightclub Chinawhite, in a combined £1m investment.

Planning has also recently been granted for the final phase of the overall project which will start in early 2015, a £350,000 investment in a fifth-floor rooftop garden which will accommodate 250 customers.

The entire development, located at what is now being called the Linen Quarter, will create a total of 180 jobs for Abacus Inns.

Paul Langsford, director of the group, said the project is one of the most significant investments in the night-time entertainment business in Belfast for some time.

"Belfast has not seen a targeted regeneration of the night-time economy to this level for many years," he said.

"Belfast's Linen Quarter, based on the south side of the city centre, has always had enormous potential and we believe that our development delivers a new hub for the night-life economy within Belfast city centre, with two bars and an internationally renowned nightclub.

"We have had a hugely positive response from people across Northern Ireland and beyond to the openings of Shiro and Chinawhite and we believe that Rita's will add another new and exciting dimension to the vibrant dynamic that the other two new venues have created."

Dublin and Belfast-based bar designers O'Donnell and O'Neill have overseen the development.

Graham O'Donnell added that the new venue is "on a par with its equivalents in New York, London and Paris".

Last week, the Beannchor hospitality group announced that its latest venue would also be opening in early December.

Around 60 jobs will be created in a £400,000 investment at Sixty6, a cocktail bar, nightclub and roof terrace above the company's National Grande Café on High Street in Belfast.

The second phase of the Cathedral Quarter complex marks total investment of £1.1m in the entire Grade B listed venue, formerly the National Bank.

Beannchor is among many pub groups to face an increase in rates after last week's revaluation.

Belfast Telegraph