Thursday night in Belfast. One GBG tick down, one to go.

It’s a decade or more since I was in Belfast, when the town already looked shinier than at end of the ’90s.

As William Bragg noted in ’96, it’s just a Northern Industrial Town,

full of grand Victoria architecture,


and dangerous hotels.

It could be Nottingham, or Leicester, though those two don’t have anything as grand as the Crown Liquor Saloon , where I would have stopped for a pint but I don’t do standing up in pubs.

Instead I did the next best thing, the Spoons.

The Bridge House, one of the few NI Spoons to survive the Tim Martin cull, was struggling under the strain of the Ed Sheeran gig-goers.

I nearly walked out, but in the interest of research, and to get shot of a 50p CAMRA voucher, I had another Maggie’s Leap. Not as good as Ards, it tickled NBSS 3, and NBSS 3 rejected its advances.

An old chap borrowed a cloth and cleaned his own high table, and I did the same. Well, needs must.

And then I set off for Ormeau Road, the student capital.

Yes, it really was 5.2 miles. Lesser Pub Men would have taken a taxi. But how else do you walk off the beer ?


  1. Ah, the legendary Europa – the most bombed hotel in Europe. And the destination that is the Crown. You should have booked your own booth!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You should read ‘Watching The Doors’ by Kevin Myers for a truly terrifying account of the days when the Europa was the most bombed hotel.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “It could be Nottingham, or Leicester, though those two don’t have anything as grand as the Crown Liquor Saloon”. The closest in Leicester would be Café Bruxelles or the Turkey Cafe, although neither is likely to get into the GBG.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I heard an IRA bomb in April 1997, not the usual cause for delay on the M6.
        Then in September 1990 cycling to work I passed a road closed because of their shooting of former Gibraltar governor Peter Terry.

        Liked by 1 person

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