Ain’t New But Sure Is Pretty...

Two things are easy to find in Belfast, busy and beautiful bars. Now almost 150 years old, the Garrick, sitting on the corner of Chichester Street and Montgomery Street, has to be one of the city's most beautiful.

The wood, brass and crackling fire interior is one of the most homely settings I have ever had the pleasure of spending a cold Sunday afternoon in. Not even the sports being shown on the not excessively big TV caused any distraction, the volume being kept at perfectly sociable level.

The Garrick expertly straddles a few worlds; a homely drinking den, a sports bar and a vibrant and busy club. Thankfully, no one group has managed to commandeer the entire bar for its own purpose. Even with sports showing it is entirely possible to have a relaxed drink and maintain a conversation. It does of course get very busy of a weekend, but really, what bar doesn't, and if it is these weekend crowds that guarantee I always have a place to go for a cozy afternoon drink, then I salute them.

And what a choice you're offered for that afternoon drink. An extensive and impressive selection of beers and spirits are displayed, behind, on top of and above the bar. The vast array could be intimidating to the uncertain drinker, but thankfully, the bar staff were always happy to make recommendations. Going so far as to ask if we might be considering food as that could affect the choice. There is a lot to praise in bar staff who know what they are selling. Hey, they might even just be repeating what they read on the label as they describe each beer but I will take that over, "I don't know" every time.

While I didn't eat on any of the days I stopped in while considering this review, the food, and more specifically the portions, are renowned. The portions I got to nosy at while enjoying both the warmth and my drink certainly wouldn't disappoint. And I would recommend the stew and a pint for a fiver every day of the week.

Finding a nice bar in the city is an increasingly easy task but the Garrick is a well established bar that can more than compete with any of the new destinations drinkers can now choose from.

The Garrick maintains the finest traditions of the Irish pub, dark, warm and inviting, but with a beer selection vast enough to keep the most adventurous drinkers happy. A diamond in a city full of gems.

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