Saved from demolition, now the Rotterdam is a celeb hangout
Jimmy Nesbitt brings his Harry Potter and Cranford mates in for a pint
TV and film star James Nesbitt took cast and crew members from the new Belfast drama Cherrybomb to the city’s newly reopened Rotterdam Bar to celebrate its reprieve from the bulldozer.
The Midnight Man star had just finished an evening’s filming for the new production at a nearby leisure centre and decided that a Saturday night at the iconic Sailortown bar was just what he needed to relax.
He arrived with co-stars Rupert Grint — best known for playing Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films — Kimberley Nixon from the Emmy-nominated period drama Cranford, and up-and-coming Irish actor Robert Sheehan, together with many of the crew and production staff.
They danced the night away to local rockabilly band The Sabrejets and chatted to locals at the Pilot Street bar which has been saved from demolition — at least for the time being — because the downturn in the property market has halted a planned housing redevelopment which would have seen it knocked down.
The Rotterdam’s events manager Stevie Batt said he was thrilled to see them arrive and even more delighted that they all had a great evening’s entertainment.
He said yesterday: “There is no doubt about it,The Rotterdam is back in business and we could not be happier.
“There is no place like this in the whole of Belfast. Whether you are a famous film star or have just popped in from around the corner, this bar appeals to all.
“We were absolutely packed on Saturday night and everyone was saying that it was fabulous that we are back in business.
“The music was great, the atmosphere was great and this is how it is going to be from now on.” The only drama during the evening came when Harry Potter star Rupert mislaid his jacket during the evening and had locals in stitches as he looked around trying to find it.
One wag told him: “If it has disappeared you only have to use your Hogwarts skills to magic it back again.” The young actor had the last laugh though, because the missing jacket had magically reappeared in time for him to pose for pictures with fans before he went home.
Cherrybomb is a Belfast coming-of-age drama which explores the issues of male loyalty and rivalry for the affections of a beautiful girl.
Finance for the project has come from both sides of the border with participation from the Irish Film Board, Northern Ireland Screen, BBC Northern Ireland and the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland.