The Pavilion

The Pavilion is one of those rarities in Belfast, a local, neighbourhood bar that manages to be welcoming for newcomers as well. Not to say that the 'Big House' as it's affectionately known doesn't have its own fair share of regulars, quite the rarity in these tight financial times.

From the nine-to-fivers who swing by on their way home, to the artier end of the Ormeau Road later on at night, through to the pensioners who swarm in for the Sunday Roast, the Pavilion manages a fair cross section of the community.

Loyalty is rewarded, literally, as anyone buying a pint of draught lager during all major (and many minor) sporting events gets beer tokens that can then be cashed in for further beer.

The beer itself is a pretty standard selection – and with the bar never empty and pumps regularly flowing – the draught is of a consistently high quality, with bonus points for featuring more cider than the depressingly prevalent Magners.

The real ale heads are well catered for, with a rolling rota of imported and craft beer, seasonal specials, continental and local offerings. On top of the Beer Tokens offer, there's bottled beer of the month, (generally 500mls for a cool £3) and spirits of the month, ranging from new gins to the near mythical time when 7 Ano Havana was going for £5 for a double.

Food is where the Pavilion excels, with pub grub that rivals anywhere in town, and very keenly priced. The keystone is the bar's range of Stack burgers, available in beef, chicken or veggie and coming in at about the size of your head. The rest covers all the staples of beer-soaking cuisine, alongside a popular pizza range and the last bastion of sizzling steak on a platter. A wide range of specials fill the gaps around the tried and tested favourites.

Upstairs includes the pool hall, where daytimes offer a frankly ludicrous £5 pint, burger & chips and pool offer and the Boutique Bar, which hosts the bigger sports events and at night is open to both budding and established promoters. The bar's policy of zero room hire ensures an eclectic mix of entertainment, from local music, movie nights, old skool clubbing and Belfast's only regular stand-up comedy Open Mic Night.

Shane Horan

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