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Pub chief Michael Stewart takes top role at Belfast City Chamber

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Michael Stewart

Michael Stewart

@Press Eye/Darren Kidd

Michael Stewart

Renowned Belfast publican Michael Stewart will be the next president of Belfast Chamber.

The hospitality chief will follow in the footsteps of Rajesh Rana who has stepped down from the post after two years.

On his departure, Mr Rana, director of Andras House, said: "It has been an amazing two years and quite a journey.

"I feel very grateful for the opportunity and I have certainly enjoyed it immensely, particularly meeting new people every day, from prime ministers to sole traders."

Mr Rana said Brexit, the Primark fire and Covid-19 presented many hurdles, adding: "It has been a difficult period for our members, but in times of stress an organisation like Belfast Chamber proves its mettle. We have taken up the challenge and have been incredibly busy lobbying for our members and the business community in Belfast in general."

Michael Stewart's career in hospitality here spans more than three decades and includes leading roles in some of the city's most successful bars and clubs.

Back in the 1980s, he worked at Lisburn Road venue Bob Cratchit's. He then joined the Botanic Inns Group, which included Madison's and The Botanic Inn.

Mr Stewart then worked at the former Ultimate Leisure's Bamboo Beach Club and later, Irene and Nan's, Bar Bacca and La Lea, the Potthouse and The Advocate.

Today he runs House Belfast hotel, bar and restaurant, with business partner Alan Clancy on Botanic Avenue - which occupies the former site of Madison's.

He also has his own firm Bar Czar, a consultancy and training business for the trade offering services such as security training.

Belfast Telegraph