The best pubs in Northern Ireland

Portstewart, photo by horslips5 on Flickr

Northern Ireland (also often called Ulster) is somewhat the poor cousin when it comes to the countries that make up the UK, because it has dealt not only with economic hardships in the past, but also with considerable political turmoil that put off many tourists from visiting it. But now that the situation has gotten much better, there’s no reason why the astounding natural wonders of this country, as well as its historical sites and lively towns and villages shouldn’t get their fair share of tourism. And while natural marvels like the Giant’s Causeway will satisfy anyone’s taste for the spectacular, one place that no traveler to Northern Ireland should miss is the pub, that institution of social and cultural life that can soothe your tired body and mind. Here are the best pubs in Northern Ireland.

Saltwater Brig, Belfast

Saltwater Brig is just oustide Belfast, not in the city proper, but it is more than worth the trouble of traveling there if you are on the lookout for a truly traditional place. The Brig was established in the 18th century, on the shore of Strangford Lough, and two centuries later it is still going strong. The food is excellent and the craic even more so.

Anchor Bar Complex, Portstewart

If you are bent on enjoying picturesque Portstewart for a few days, then you can have great accommodation and a pub at your fingertips if you stay at the Anchor Bar Complex. The pub part of the complex is over a century old and it is one of the most well respected establishments in Northern Ireland, with great Guinness and a variety of other drinks.

Peadar O’Donnells Bar, Derry

Derry is not overrun by tourists at the best of times, so you might find that in this city the locals are just as interested in you as you in them. This makes for lots of friendly chats in pubs, especially in famous local haunts like Peadar O’Donnells Bar. The pub has a great atmosphere thanks to the live music sessions and the cozy decor.

Molly’s Bar, Ballymoney

Molly’s started out as a restaurant, garnering great feedback, and recently the owners opened up a bar space as well where you don’t have to order food in order to buy some alcohol too. As far as pubs go, this one is rather quiet, but it is just the type of pub to go to when you just want to sit down in a nice place and quietly sip some quality draught.

Blakes of the Hollow, Enniskillen

The Blakes of the Hollow is famous fr two things: the Guinness and its Irish coffee. This pub is so good that it is considered be among the best pubs in Northern Ireland and beyond, and it’s a great place for a quiet afternoon pint, as well as an evening of traditional song and pure, pub-style entertainment.

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