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Where to find the best pub grub in Northern Ireland

By Claire McKeever

In the last few years pub grub has really upped its game, with pub-goers being treated to menus that are tasty, seasonal and well executed.

Take for instance the humble burger, which has been replaced by an 8oz aged-beef stacked burger and a side order of triple-cooked chips. Or the traditional Sunday lunch, which has been given some TLC with locally-sourced meats and flavoursome seasonal veg. 

For those in search of good pub grub, below is a list of some of Northern Ireland’s best pubs to eat in this 2018.

The Poacher’s Pocket, Lisbane, Co Down

Poacher's Pocket, Lisbane

The Poacher’s Pocket has not let things slide since its Best Gastro Pub award at the Irish Restaurant Awards in 2015.

In fact, the Co Down restaurant only seems to be getting better with its pub food classics - with a twist. From chargrilled chicken and chorizo bruschetta to dry-age beef and chilli meatballs, there is nothing that won’t get the taste buds going here.   

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The Taphouse, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh

A previous winner of the Hospitality Ulster’s Pub of the Year Awards, The TapHouse in Enniskillen is a good shout when visiting this part of Northern Ireland.

The pub is a perfect reward after a day of scaling nearby Culcaigh Mountains or exploring the Marble Arch Caves.

The pub’s menu is simple yet adventurous. Whether it is the locally sourced 10oz ribeye steak, Moroccan lamb or superfood salad you go for, you will not be disappointed by your food choice.

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Billy Andy’s, Co Antrim

Located close to the beautiful village of Glenoe, Billy Andy’s is famous for its delicious Sunday lunch and Friday Night Steak Night.

The pub prides itself on its locally-sourced, seasonable and sustainable food produce and its setting within a traditional 19th-century pub.

If the pub’s Sunday lunch offering of six different meats isn’t enough to get you salivating, then the delicious stuffing and ridiculously good sides ought to do it.

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Parson’s Nose, Hillsborough, Co Down

The Parson’s Nose, Hillsborough

The Parson’s Nose is situated in an old 18th century townhouse in Hillsborough.

The pub has a menu filled with delicious dishes full of excellent flavours and the best of local produce.

This includes the pub’s mouth-watering chargrilled chicken curry or fish finger sandwich, either of which go down well with one of the pub’s great ales.

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Pier 36, Donaghadee, Co Down

Based along the Ards Penninsula in Donaghadee, Pier 26 is in an ideal spot for some delicious pub grub after a stroll along nearby beaches.

The pub is situated along Donaghadee’s pier (hence its name) and has won various awards over the years for its food, including “Northern Ireland Seafood Pub of the Year”.

It would be a shame not to try some of the pub’s freshly caught seafood or fish on a visit there. Enjoy pub’s Strangford Mussels or Fish of the Day with a pint Guinness and feel like you are a world away from anything else.

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Balloo House, Killinchy, Co Down

Balloo House

Run under the same company as The Poacher’s Pocket and Parson’s Nose, Balloo House has its own take on a classic pub menu with a choice of Balloo House fish goujons, chicken and chorizo meatball, and a smoked haddock and bacon chowder, to name just a few dishes.

The local fisherman and farmers provide a lot of the ingredients and this is very much evidenced in the flavoursome and exciting dishes that come out of the kitchen.

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The Pheasant, Hillsborough, Co Down

The Pheasant

The Pheasant really takes pub eating to another level. Stop in at the picturesque pub for one of its “Game Nights”, when Larchfield Pheasant and roast woodland pigeon are just some of the adventurous ingredients used in dishes.

For something simpler, the pub’s “Bar & Snug” provides a perfect setting for a lazy afternoon in this part of the world.

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The Moody Boar, Armagh, Co Armagh

The Moody Boar

In Ireland’s Orchard County, it will be no surprise to find several great pubs serving a refreshing pint of cider.

The Moody Boar not only spoils you with an array of cider options, but also tasty food that is dreamed up with some of the best local ingredients. Keenan Seafood, Conway Farms, Rockvale Poultry and Farmlay Eggs are just some of the local producers behind the pub’s exciting menu.

Try the pub and restaurant’s choice of fresh fish, or meat and lamb dishes that will melt in your mouth. 

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Bull & Ram, Ballynahinch, Co Down

The Bull & Ram

Although it is not a pub per se, the Michelin Guide has rightly added Bull & Ram to its list of pub grub experiences for this year.

Set in Grade I listed Edwardian butchers and with a gastropub feel to the restaurant, Bull & Ram is somewhere you could easily while a few hours, as you would in any pub.

The menu is filled with pimped up pub classics, including a version of bubble and squeak; a tasty Hannon’s burger, and a Belfast Blonde haddock and chips. I shall say no more. 

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Has all this pub talk got you hungry for more pub grub this 2018? Check out Expedia’s pub guide for Ireland to experience tasty dishes and a pint in pubs across Ireland.

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