A 20 minute train journey from Belfast Botanic or Central station to Helens Bay station. When you leave the train at Helens Bay walk straight down the road for five minutes to the beach. Then turn left and walk for 90 minutes along the coastal path to Hollywood. It's a very pleasant walk if the weather is fine and you can finish up in the Dirty Duck pub (beside the sea) where they have better than average food and four real ales on tap (its unusual to have any in Northern Irish bars). The train station is a five minute walk from the pub.
Damn the naysayers, The Crown is a classic. Wood and brass everywhere, huge snugs less conducive to intimacy than getting to know some gregarious locals, the sound of conversation and smoke in the air – everything a pub should be (even though the smoke will soon be a thing of the past). As for the toilets, well, you’ll hardly be lingering when there’s so much going on outside. Some reputations are well earned.
This area of Belfast, around the district of St Anne's cathedral, features the best of bars that Belfast has to offer. The Spaniard is a small and friendly new bar which plays great music. The John Hewitt usually has live music and is run by the Unemployed Resource centre. The Duke of York is also a veritable Belfast institution. Just stay clear of the Northern Whig on a Friday or Saturday night, last time I was there it was full of drunken stags and hens!
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com