Review: The Sunflower Public House

In Northern Ireland we have what is known as the 'surrender system', where there have been no new licences granted for bars in many, many moons. That's why publicans need to show a bit of savvy when it comes to their premises, such as here in the Sunflower Bar.

Formerly a bit of a rough aul dive, complete with that famous security gate, the Sunflower has had a new lease of life courtesy of Pedro, the man behind the John Hewitt and La Boca.

Perched on the corner of the so-called Pink Triangle, and within spitting distance of the Art College, the Sunflower attracts a lively, eclectic clientele, who don't really keep normal hours. The upside to this is that it's always got a buzz about it, which is rare these days, especially during the week. On top of this, they see fit to have live entertainment on every night, so you're bound to find a warm welcome whenever you darken its door. 

As you'd expect with a pedigree like this there's plenty of top-shelf booze on offer, and while it's primarily a beer bar, there's local spirit offerings and a wine list that veers away from the usual quarter bottles of stuff that still has sugar at the bottom of it. There's draft that isn't just the same-old, same-old, but the bottles excel. There's Farmageddon, which has rapidly become our brew of choice, in all it's various incarnations. It's all you need to get interestingly tipsy, because we certainly wouldn't encourage overindulgence.

Outside there's the garden area, which, and this is becoming par the course, is bigger than the bar, and features street art and a whole, full-size honest to goodness pizza oven. This has saved more than a few from alcoholic oblivion, being available for a very reasonable price on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights until ten, and, in an unusual move, are very, very edible. Expect queues at peak times, however.

Staff are friendly and well informed, able to talk you around the beer without the old cop-out of shoving a sample under your nose, without any commentary. Another little treasure off the beaten track, and one well worth investigating.

The Sunflower Public House can be found on Union St, Belfast, right behind Belfast Central Library. Open 12:00 to 01:00 everyday. Find them online at Facebook and Twitter.

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