A pub with a nationalist history - and the oldest pub in Belfast - this is probably the best place in Belfast to come for some atmospheric traditional music.
A bit of a bastion for republican sentiment, Kelly's Cellar dates all the way back to 1720, and Henry Joy McCracken and the United Irishmen used to meet here when they were planning the 1798 rebellion.
Indeed when entering this small, cave-like pub with its bare dark stone floor and walls you can easily imagine McCracken hiding behind the bar when British soldiers came looking for him. There are copper pans and jugs hanging from the beamed ceiling and the wooden bar in the middle has stained glass panelling at the bottom.
There are engraved cream wooden walls with an accordion attached to it, Victorian style lamps and a big mirror at the end. Kelly's Cellar is now one of the best places to come and hear traditional live music in the city and folk and blues bands play on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s great craic and the music creates a lively atmosphere. Its sloping floor makes you feel drunk even if you’re not.
Kelly’s Cellar attracts a music loving crowd, including musicians and friends from outside the city. In the summer young bucks sit outside and play guitars. You can get into some interesting conversations here as it’s also well frequented by members of Belfast’s art community.
The Food and Drink
Kelly’s Cellar is one of the pubs claiming to serve the best Guinness in town with, it must be said, a lot more justification than some. As well as the black stuff, there’s Harp, Strongbow, Carlsberg, Budweiser and Smithwick’s all on draught and you’ve got Budweiser, Corona, Harp, Guinness and Miller in bottles. The usual whiskeys are represented with Jameson’s Bushmills and Power’s and quarter bottles of wine sell at £3.10 each. They serve Irish stew for £3.50 a bowl until it runs out.
The Last Word
Lose yourself in the music and sing-along if you know the words at one of Belfast’s most historically significant and musically vibrant pubs.