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9 Pubs With Live Irish Music In Belfast

9 Pubs With Live Irish Music In Belfast

The best live music pubs Belfast has to offer are all located in relatively close proximity to each other (as you’ll see on the map below).

While there are many great pubs in Belfast, the vast majority don’t hold live trad sessions.

And if, like me, you don’t fancy spending an evening in one of the many nightclubs in Belfast, you can feel at a bit of a loose end.

Fortunately, there are some mighty places to enjoy live music in Belfast tonight, as you’ll discover below!

Pubs with live music in Belfast

 

Take a moment to review the map above as it’ll give you a sense of where each of the pubs that I’m going to discuss are situated. 

Now, a quick note: if you’re looking for pubs with live music in Belfast tonight, your best bet is to check their Facebook pages (links under each pub below).

1. McHugh’s Bar

McHughs

Photos via McHughs on FB

With exposed brick walls and plenty of dark wooden fixtures throughout, it’s not hard to imagine what McHugh’s Bar would have looked like when the building was constructed in 1711.

This Queen’s Square favourite boasts great pub grub, comfortable seating, and a packed music schedule spread throughout the week.

The trad sessions at McHugh’s usually take place on Saturday afternoons from 3pm – 6pm and on Sundays from 4pm – 7pm, and they’re some of the city’s most popular.

Throw in the fact that the Guinness here is sublime and there’s a spacious outdoor seating area, and it’s not hard to see why this is one of the most popular traditional Irish bars in Belfast.

 

2. Fibber Magee’s

Fibber Magee's

Photos via Fibber Magee’s on FB

I’ve found Fibber Magee’s on Great Victoria St. to be one of the more consistent pubs with live music in Belfast (see videos of the latest sessions here).

The pub, which is traditional to its core with wooden panelling on the walls and a large open fire, also has a collection of Titanic memorabilia.

Head into the Saloon to see the Titanic’s Philomena Doll as well as postcards and letters that were recovered from the wreckage.

It’s one of the few places that holds traditional Irish music in Belfast 7 nights a week and, for that reason, it’s very popular (you’ll do well to nab a seat).

 

3. Madden’s Bar

Madden's Bar

Photos via Madden’s Bar on FB

The vibrant exterior of Berry Street’s Madden’s is hard to miss, thanks to the massive mural that wraps around its side.

There’s a lot to like about this place, especially if you ramble in on a cold winters day and the stove is blazing!

Pouring what is arguably the city’s best pint, Madden’s welcomes musicians from 9pm each evening (to quote the owner, “They normally start landing in around 9pm”).

If you’re looking for live music in Belfast on a Sunday, there’s a great traditional piping session that starts from 4pm.

 

4. The Garrick

The Garrick

Photos via The Garrick on FB

Arguably one of the hidden gems when it comes to trad music in Belfast, The Garrick on Chichester St. (just down from Belfast City Hall) is well worth a visit.

When you enter, your eye is immediately drawn to the large wooden bar and then up to the ornate lanterns that hang above.

The interior here is beautiful, and it feels every bit as old as the building which dates back to 1870.

There are trad sessions running on Wednesday evenings from 9:30pm, Fridays from 5pm and Sundays from 6pm.

 

5. The Sunflower

The Sunflower

Photos by Brian Morrison courtesy of Tourism Northern

Tucked away on Union St., a 5-minute spin from the Belfast Peace Wall, is a fine little pub called The Sunflower.

As you approach, you’ll see the cage above the door – this came in useful during the 1980’s, but it’s now simply a relic of the past.

Although it hosts live music 7 nights a week, if you’re after traditional Irish music in Belfast, you’ll want to visit on:

  • Wednesday: There’s a session featuring Belfast’s top uilleann pipers from 8pm
  • Sunday: The trad sessions starts at 7pm
 

6. Kelly’s Cellars

Kelly's Cellars

Photos by Brian Morrison courtesy of Tourism Northern

Opened in 1720, Kelly’s Cellars is one of the oldest traditional Irish pubs in Belfast, boasting a huge outdoor seating area and a cosy interior.

A popular spot among locals and tourists alike, Kelly’s was once the meeting place for the United Irishmen during their planning of the 1798 Rising.

While there is live music here 6 nights a week, the trad sessions take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, from between 8:30 and 9pm.

Keep in mind that, due to its history, Kelly’s is very popular, so it’s worth arriving early for the trad!

 

7. The Five Points

Although it only opened in 2016, The Five Points looks and feels like a pub that’s been calling Belfast ‘Home’ for much longer.

The interior of this pub is dimly lit, with a black celiling and dark wooden furnishing adding to the traditional feel.

One of the few places running live music in Belfast tonight, tomorrow and every night of the week, you’re guaranteed a trad session here.

My most recent visit was on a Saturday night in late April and it was very busy. Based on my visit, it seems to attract a lively crowd!

 

8. The Duke of York

The Duke of York

Photos by Brian Morrison courtesy of Tourism Northern

The Duke of York, similar to the Crown Liquor Saloon, is one of the better known pubs in Belfast with live music, and for good reason.

Step inside this quirky spot and you’ll discover a warm interior with mirrored bar with stacks of Irish whiskey bottles, old photos, and Guinness memorabilia on the walls.

Now, there’s zero info anywhere about when the trad sessions take place here – however, I was last here on a Saturday afternoon earlier this year and there was a trad session in full swing!

It’s located in the Cathedral Quarter and you’ll find benches along the alleyway outside where you can kick-back with a pint or two if there’s no room inside!

 

9. Whites Tavern

Whites Tavern

Photos via Whites Tavern on FB

Whites Tavern is situated inside the first ever building to be granted a ‘Tavern license’ in 1630.

The magic starts as soon as you step inside, giving you a real feel of what life was like in olden-day Belfast as you look around.

White’s interior features exposed wooden beams, a rustic open fireplace, and weathered walls adorned with vintage photographs and antique signs, creating a cozy, intimate atmosphere.

There is live music throughout the week, both in the courtyard and inside. Check their Facebook page for the latest schedule.

 

10. The Dirty Onion

The Dirty Onion

Photos by Brian Morrison courtesy of Tourism Northern

Situated inside a former warehouse that traded in everything from whiskey to tea, the Dirty Onion is the oldest building in Belfast and dates back to 1680.

This lively pub that’s home to a massive beer garden along with a cosy interior, complete with a roaring peat fire.

With music taking place 7 days a week, it boasts one of the most extensive calendars of live Irish music in Belfast.

If you visit on a Thursday evening, you’ll have the opportunity to learn how to play the Bodhran – a traditional Irish instrument.

 

Explore beyond the trad music in Belfast

the best things to do in Belfast Ireland

Now that you know where you can enjoy traditional Irish music in Belfast, it’s time to explore the city beyond the pubs.

There’s plenty of things to do in Belfast. Here are some suggestions:

Have any questions about where to catch live Irish music in Belfast? Let me know in the comments below!

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Huw

Tuesday 19th of December 2023

What about the rock bar in the Falls road?

Julie

Tuesday 18th of April 2023

Fountain Lane is a great pub. Live music and lovely cocktails, if you wangca change from the Guiness. Food is excellent and bar staff are really friendly.

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