Northern Ireland’s capital city of Belfast is not only a bustling city centre; it is also a huge draw for tourists all around the world. According to statistics, it welcomes just under 9.5 million tourists each year. Tourists flock to the city for its history, architecture, attractions, and of course, that traditional Irish bar experience. But what makes the Irish pub life so intriguing to visitors? Why are some of the oldest establishments in the city acting as the biggest tourist hot spots?
Here we’ll take a look at what makes a visit to a traditional Irish pub so memorable, and what you should know about pub life in general.
Take a Step Back in Time at a Traditional Irish Bar
A big part of why tourists visit Belfast is its rich history and culture. And if you want to truly experience it, there’s no better way than to find an immersive experience – which a traditional Irish bar can do. And when it comes to traditional Irish bars in Belfast, Whites Tavern tops the list.
Whites Tavern is the oldest pub in Belfast, established back in 1630. It was actually the first pub in the city to get a license, and that history is still rich within the walls today. From the authentic and traditional décor to its local offerings and live Irish bands and singers, it’s a great way for tourists to get a real sense of Ireland and its lively pub life. Even the “pub grub” screams authenticity, further advancing your Irish experience.
Belfast features all kinds of fabulous pubs for tourists to flock to, but Whites Tavern is most definitely the most historic and well-known by city residents and visitors.
Pub Life Isn’t Just Night Life
Another tip for tourists looking to experience pub life in Belfast is that it isn’t just a nighttime activity. Because so many of these pubs are known for having fabulous menus, they can even act as the perfect place to grab a little lunch midway through the day.
Typical Pub Food – What You Should Expect
What kind of food can you expect to encounter in a traditional pub in Belfast? While each pub will have their own twist on the menu and local favourites, here’s a list of some of the dishes you’ll want to keep your eye out for:
• Irish seafood: Look for such local and fresh options as crab, oysters, mussels, and prawns.
• Irish stew: Here’s a staple on just about every authentic Irish menu. It is a stew that is filled with potatoes, carrots, onions, and Irish lamb. Overall it tends to be very thick and rich, and full of bold flavours. It also pairs beautifully with a local pint.
• Black and white pudding: This item can often be found on breakfast menus. It is a white pudding that is filled with spice, oatmeal, and pork and is shaped into a sausage slice. The black pudding version has the same ingredients but includes blood to give it that dark colour.
You’re Ready to Hit the Pubs
Now that you’re prepared for what to expect, it’s time to hit up the pubs in Belfast.