Shake Off The Dust: Aether & Echo

Once the home of the Deers Head, Lower Garfield Street's Aether & Echo is the second undertaking of the folks behind Belfast's Love & Death.

While you could argue over what might be being lost in the current trend of new ventures subsuming the city's old pubs, it is hard to argue against the life that is also being brought back to these once dusty old corners; particularly in the knowledge that the majority of Aether & Echo’s fixtures and fittings have been salvaged from stuff found abandoned on the upper floors of the pub itself.

Following a six-week turnaround, the new bar and music venue revealed itself to the public during last years Culture Night and things have been steady ever since.

There was much to love in the old Deers Head, and to their absolute credit the people behind A&E have kept it all. The beautiful Victorian wooden bar, the big sturdy bar stools and most importantly, the booths. Who doesn’t love a bar with booths eh.

Snug, comfortable and that touch of privacy that a booth offers instantly improves any visit. And what's more, I have been reliably informed that said booths are only going to get better – perhaps with little canopies and perhaps even with little bells to ring for attention from the barman. Come on, tell me you don’t want to be in a little booth, with the curtains drawn and the ability to push a button and have someone bring you drinks?! Of course you do.

Amid the expected accusations of hipsterism (and how tired has that narrative become...) Aether & Echo is working with the bar it now calls home. They aren’t out to destroy anything, they are as sensitive to their surroundings as they are ambitious and I think that Aether & Echo is a fine replacement for what was once a fine pub. Things change, if they don’t they die.

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