The John Hewitt Bar in Belfast

Located in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, The John Hewitt first opened its doors in December 1999. The bar is unique as it is owned by The Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre. John Hewitt, the late Belfast poet and socialist officially opened the Resource Centre on Mayday 1983, hence the name of this do-good bar.

The John Hewitt is very much traditional in style with a long marble topped counter, wooden floor and panelling, open fire and high ceiling. It very much feels like a local living room where friends pop by to strike up a conversation in the afternoon and enjoy a lively Good Craic in the evening. The walls of The John Hewitt also act as an exhibition space, promoting young local artists who would not usually get their work displayed in galleries.

The John Hewitt has become known as “The Belfast Beer Temple” being the only bar in Northern Ireland that promotes and sells beers and ciders from all the major local handcrafted artisan micro brewers. The bar holds its own mini Beer Festival “The Great Northern Irish Beer and Cider Festival” which takes place during the first week of July. It has also commissioned its own beers, working closely with the oldest Brewery “Hilden” creating an ale to celebrate the bars 10th birthday called “Poetic Justice,” and a wheat beer to celebrate the 200th birthday of the Master Baker Barny Hughes which was aptly named “Barny’s Brew.”

I arrived at The John Hewitt after a whirlwind tour of Belfast, just as a light rain began to pitter patter across the city. I had barely slept on my Red Eye over the Atlantic but figured a fine feast would help recharge my batteries. I had missed breakfast that morning so decided to enjoy my first meal in Belfast backwards, a sweet start via pear and apple crumble which paired perfectly with a frothy latte. Roast fillet of hake sitting on top a spiced chorizo casserole and bowl of jumbo pork and leek sausages over buttery mash and sweet red wine and onion jus were lip smackingly good.

The Feast:

Hercules Brewing Company’s “Yardsman”

Roast Fillet of Hake

spiced chorizo casserole

Roast Jumbo Pork and Leek Sausages

buttery mash, red wine and onion jus

Pear and Apple Crumble

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