Belfast Telegraph

They're crying in their beer as popular Belfast bar calls time

By Chris McCullough

Regulars of an underground pub located in Belfast city centre say they are devastated that the venue will close today.

Yesterday lunchtime patrons at the Basement Bar, opposite the City Hall, spoke of their sorrow at its demise.

It is understood the building will be turned into a hotel.

Last orders at the hostelry will be called this evening for the final time.

For three regulars, the decision to shut the pub has come as a shock.

Friends James Privilege from Donaghadee, Anthony Burke from Lurgan and Billy McGookin from Belfast previously worked together in the Housing Executive.

They used to visit the Basement during their lunch breaks every Friday.

Yesterday they were enjoying a final drink to reminisce over old times.

"I have been coming here for over 20 years," said Anthony.

"The bar is very friendly and welcoming, and does the best food around.

"We used to meet every Friday, but this time it's to say goodbye to the bar as an old friend.

"It really is the end of an era."

Another patron, Belfast man Stephen Ritchie, said he was saddened by the pub's loss.

"I'm a civil servant and this is a great little bar to come to at lunchtime to get away from it all," he said.

"I have been coming here for the past five years and really am gutted it is closing. I don't think a new place would have the same atmosphere."

Belfast Telegraph