Digital DNA’s Top 25 in Belfast

We’ve compiled our Top 5’s lists for Bars, Restaurants, Cafés, Hotels and Things to Do in Belfast so while you’re visiting for Digital DNA 2017, why not stay a bit longer and take in the sights, smells and tastes of our city!

Top 25

Top Five Bars

Bert’s Jazz Bar

“Transport yourself back to the Art Deco glamour of 1930’s New York and the Jazz Age in Belfast’s only dedicated Jazz bar and restaurant: Bert’s Bar at The Merchant Hotel. Soak up the sophisticated atmosphere and let the cool jazz melodies wash over you. A handpicked list of cocktails completes the extensive drinks selection”.

Kelly’s Cellars

“Kelly’s Cellars is Belfast’s oldest traditional Irish pub, often described as “a hidden gem that oozes old traditional values”. It’s famous for the best pint of Guinness in Belfast, served with our homemade Irish beef stew”.

Duke of York 

“Nestled along a narrow cobbled alleyway in the historic Half Bap area, the Duke offers a traditional Belfast welcome of craic, music and humour in contrast to the modern fashionable establishments currently blowing into the surrounding streets”.

Muriel’s Café Bar

“Situated just on the edge of the cathedral quarter down an entry adjacent to Bert’s Jazz Bar and the National, Muriels Café Bar on Church Lane is a quirky setting to enjoy some of the finest cocktails in Belfast. Quirky yet laid back and comfortable little gem with a love of gin.”

Filthy McNastys

“The mix match furniture of Filthy McNastys, the quirky décor consisting of mannequins doubling as tall lamps and vintage vinyls adorning the walls create a unique charm which makes all walks of life feel welcome. Food is served in the form of an authentic Italian Pizza. Music from Belfast’s local musicians can be heard daily from 10pm and those would like to show off their own talent can at our open mic night each Sunday evening.”

Top Five Restaurants

Home Restaurant

“Home started life as a pop-up restaurant in an off-the-beaten track location in Belfast City Centre in 2011. Initially for three months, the pop-up venture was an instant hit with foodies so much so that the restaurant extended its tenure for almost a year, before taking up a permanent home in its current location of Belfast’s Wellington Place”.

Villa Italia

“Villa Italia is a family run pizzeria restaurant established in 1988 in the heart of South Belfast, just a stones throw from Queen’s University. Inside you can enjoy the rustic Italian charm of our interiors; picturesque murals, terracotta tiles, hanging grapevines, the subtle smell of garlic in the air and with Italian speaking waiters amongst our staff, one cannot help but feel transported to La Bella Italia itself!”

James Street South Bar & Grill

“The Bar + Grill is a stylish and lively restaurant in Belfast serving an extensive menu for all day dining. We are renowned for our steaks which are cooked on a charcoal grill which give the meat unique taste and texture and we have an extensive menu of fresh fish daily running alongside our home comfort specials of fresh pasta, fish pie and brunch at the weekends, as well as a Roast on a Sunday”.

Made in Belfast – Cathedral Quarter

“The Company’s main priority has been and always will be the food, which had to be high quality, locally sourced where possible and ethically and environmentally sourced. We were inspired by restaurants like Hawksmoor, Medcalf and St John’s where the standards of animal husbandry are very high”.

House of Zen

“Opened since April 2012, The House of Zen blends a little bit of the orient into the traditional cobbled streets and cosy bars of the Cathedral Quarter in Belfast. One of Eddie Fung’s babies is an exciting venture which will combine dark and moody elegant décor with a Chinese menu never seen in Belfast”.

Top Five Cafés

Harlem Belfast

“Adorned with a professionally procured and increasingly extensive collection of antiques, these globally sourced pieces combined with Faye’s academic study of window-dressing and fashion design have united to forge the distinctive and inimitable interior of Harlem. Harlem is contributing to the emerging Belfast food scene by its move towards dining in relaxed, less formal and unique surroundings”.

Established Coffee

Established has literally ‘established’ itself as the place to go for coffee enthusiasts and newbies alike. If you’re up for trying something new or are already well versed in your blends, regions and aromas, then you can’t miss out on the Established experience. The friendly staff take you through the selection of coffees and methods of brewing and with a delectable selection of food ranging from the ever popular sourdough open sandwiches to traybakes and pies, you need to visit this industrial albeit comfy establishment”.

The National Grande Café Bar

“In the heart of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter lies The National Grande Café. Housed in a beautiful listed Victorian building, (formerly The National bank Buildings) this light filled space has been given a semi-industrial make-over. The beautiful old bones of the building have been exposed to create a striking backdrop for the intelligent modern design”.

Belfast Tea & Coffee Company

“Belfast Tea & Coffee Company is an Artisan Fine Food Delicatessen based in Belfast City Centre. We offer an oasis of calm in the midst of busy city life. We are passionate about our produce; all prepared by hand, in-house, using locally sourced goods. Our range of produce includes Artisan Coffee, Tea, Beverages and Hand-crafted food, with prompt service and customer care at our core”.

Clements Coffee Shop – Donegal Square West

“We specialise in sourcing only the finest coffees and we aim for full tractability to origin, farm and farmer wherever possible. Our supplier has development close working relationships with ethical suppliers who have strong focus on sustainability for local farmers and growers and all our coffee is hand roasted ensuring consistent freshness and quality”.

Top Five Hotels

Bullitt Hotel

“The latest jewel in the crown of Belfast hospitality king Bill Wolsey, the man behind the five-star Merchant Hotel and a host of right-on pubs. He’s a Steve McQueen fan, hence the name, and Bullitt has nailed the McQueen vibe of laid-back, effortless cool”. Geoff Hill, Belfast Telegraph’s Travel Expert

Europa Hotel, Belfast

“The latest jewel in the crown of Belfast hospitality king Bill Wolsey, the man behind the five-star Merchant Hotel and a host of right-on pubs. He’s a Steve McQueen fan, hence the name, and Bullitt has nailed the McQueen vibe of laid-back, effortless cool”. Geoff Hill, Belfast Telegraph’s Travel Expert

Premier Inn Belfast City Centre Alfred Street

There are two other hotels in the Premier Inn chain in Belfast — one in the slightly out of the way Titanic Quarter, and the other in Waring Street — but Alfred Street, only 10 minutes’ walk from all the main attractions, is the best choice. If you book well ahead the rooms can be an absolute bargain”. Geoff Hill, Belfast Telegraph’s Travel Expert

Malmaison Belfast

The rooms that combine the city’s amazing history with the funkiest contemporary style. Inspired by the proportions of the Titanic, Belfast’s most famous ship, the hotel’s comfy beds, freestanding bathtubs and hospitality are the biggest in Ireland.

Tara Lodge

“This small but perfectly formed hotel has four AA stars and is ranked top hotel in Belfast on TripAdvisor, and it’s easy to see why: handy location, good value, friendly and helpful staff, monster breakfasts, free Wi-Fi, off-street parking and nicer rooms and bathrooms than many hotels at twice the price”. Geoff Hill, Belfast Telegraph’s Travel Expert

Top Five Points of Interest

Titanic Belfast Museum

Explore the symbolism of Titanic Belfast’s iconic structure with our award-winning walking tour. The one-hour tour provides an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the men who built RMS Titanic, the world’s most famous ship, in Belfast’s historic shipyard.

Crumlin Road Gaol

On a 70 minute, guided tour, you will be taken through the years and experience what life was like for those imprisoned in ‘The Crum’. Follow in the footsteps of over 25,000 prisoners and make the journey through the tunnel that connects the Gaol to the Courthouse. Explore C-Wing and see for yourself what prison life was like through the ages as well as the dark secret that lies within its walls.

Belfast Elite Taxi Tours

Belfast Elite Taxi Tours have put together an excellent range of tours for visitors to the beautiful shores of Northern Ireland. These have been carefully selected to showcase many of the hidden gems that Northern Ireland has to be proud off.

Game of Thrones Tours

Belfast is home to Titanic Studios where Game of Thrones is shot, and only a stone’s throw away from other filming locations across Northern Ireland including The King’s Road, Winterfell, The Wall and Dragonstone. Take a tour around Northern Ireland and discover the dramatic scenery used in the show.

HMS Caroline

HMS Caroline, a World War I Light Battle Cruiser, is the last surviving ship from the Battle of Jutland in 1916. Having undergone extensive restoration, the new visitor experience in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter allows visitors to discover a range of historic spaces including the Captain Crookes Cabin, engine room, sick bay and galley kitchen.