3 Skipper Street,
(028) 9023 2448
The ViewBelfast Review
It doesn’t get much better than The Spaniard: a little bit of friendly, effortless, atmospheric cool in the centre of the city.
The Spaniard has a homely, cosy feel but with modern touches, and is a tiny den of sheer coolness slap bang in the middle of the much-hyped Cathedral Quarter.
With its gold and black wallpaper, Venetian masks on the walls, candles in vodka bottles and living room-style sofas, the term shabby chic fits like a glove. There’s a small room as you come in and the bar is on your left. Opposite are three tables.
Like many cool bars, music plays an important part: Marlena Shaw is on the jukebox and in the snug bar at the back, which somehow manages to make space for a dartboard, the cream, wooden walls are covered with album sleeves from George Benson to Jimi Hendrix - plus black and white pictures of The Beatles.
There’s an upstairs bar which features posters, old 45s and strings of lights on the walls. Legendary Belfast music man and socialiser Terri Hooley (The Undertones’ former producer, record collector, artist manager and record shop owner) spins tunes from his amazing collection here every Thursday.
The age range from 25-plus and it’s more of an alternative music and arty crowd that comes here, although they get plenty of passing trade and people pop in from the nearby offices and shops. It’s standing room only on a Friday and Saturday night when the craic is mighty.
The Food and Drink
On draught you’ve got Carlsberg, Carling, Guinness and Warsteiner and in bottles there’s Leffe, Sol, Erdinger, Newcastle Brown, Crown and Magner’s.
On the wine list there's three bottles of white and three reds, ranging from £13 to £17.50 - an Australian Richmond Grove Chardonnay is £15.50. But the thing to drink at The Spaniard is Miller’s Dry Gin with fresh cucumber and tonic. Not to would be cheating.
The food is certainly not your run-of-the-mill pub grub. An evening tapas menu includes dishes such as chargrilled squid with lemon and chilli dressing for £5.95 and a pancetta and red pepper frittata for £4.95.
The rest of the time you can get main meals such as chicken with lemon, garlic and parsley butter and new potatoes for £7.95. And portions are generous. For the sweet-toothed, try the sticky toffee pudding and cream (£3.95).
The Last Word
Ask around and The Spaniard is lots of people’s favourite bar. Just as well they don’t all come down here all at once.
Spaniard has been reviewed by 3 users