Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

View dizzying ... and so is the price of a drink: Verdict on Belfast bar's £8 pint

By Christopher Woodhouse

The view from the Observatory is unlike any from a bar anywhere on the island; but the problem is, so are the prices.

You will never get bored of gazing upon the unique panorama that sweeps from the Cave Hill across the lough and the city to the distant, dark tips of the Mournes.

Even the immediate surroundings of the Grand Central are given a fascinating new perspective.

The Ulster Hall, beyond its Italianate façade, resembles a carpet warehouse and if your eye is sharp enough you'll spot one daring city centre dweller's rooftop hot tub.

But what will you sip while spending a couple of hours trying to spot your house? Having tried it, would I recommend an £8 pint of beer? No. We all have our preferences and, scoff if you like, there are beers for which I would happily pay £8 - take a run up to Woodworkers beside Laverys if you want to try them.

But there are none in the Observatory that, in my humble opinion, can command such a price, and I hardly need to pass comment on charging £7 for a 330ml bottle of Corona.

There are some very special drinks on the menu; Jameson's Red Breast 21 is exquisite and chatting to the bar staff it's obvious the cocktails have been created to produce a great drink rather than just an expensive one.

I know the Observatory will be a success. You will be tempted to take the 44-second lift trip to the 23rd floor just for the vista, and there is no shortage of people in Belfast who have the money to drink there regularly.

But on my humble salary (the myth that reporters earn a fortune is just that), after a night in the Observatory my furniture and Viz collection would be on Gumtree the next morning.

Belfast Telegraph

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