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Spirits Are High

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It's time to take full advantage of the sudden burst of good weather. You can never take the sun for granted here, so it's important to capitalise on its availability and one of the best way to do that is of course at your favourite beer garden or rooftop bar.
Below is some of our favourites and recommendations, should any of them not be familiar to you...

The Perch

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42 Franklin Street, Belfast
Given the scarcity of actual rooftop bars in Belfast, we would be foolish to start anywhere other than at Perch. A little rooftop oasis right in the middle of the city, Perch can very quickly make you forget you're still in Belfast and not just because of its impressive cocktail list.

Lavery's Beer Garden

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12-18 Bradbury Place, Belfast
What was once a small yard just outside the back bar, which would extend out into the grimy alleyway on weekends, Lavery's has been transformed into a beautifully decorated and inviting beer garden.
The raised beer garden, just outside the back of the main bar, can be a little spartan in daylight hours, but as day becomes night, the garden comes into its own.
Always busy, but equally always friendly and inviting.

The National Grand Cafe

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63 High Street, Belfast
When the National Grand Cafe (NGC) first opened it was praised for its more European approach to the bar concept – which essentially allows it to function as a cafe by day and bar by night, all within the same building. Now, granted you can get tea and coffee in all bars, but how many cafes will also serve you a cocktail...
Based in the beautiful old Nation Bank Building, the NCG has also extended its reach beyond the confines of its physical building and now has one of the largest beer gardens in the city. Not only does it offer all the usual drinks, but a year round BBQ!
NGC is also one of the few places on the list that can cover both criteria as it also has a neat little rooftop bar. It is essentially a sun room with a retractable roof, but if you're lucky enough to secure a seat, you'll be begging everyone around to go to the bar for you.

Duke of York

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Commercial Court, Belfast
We're not entirely sure what actually defines a beer "garden" but the alley fronting the Duke of York in the Cathedral Quarter is still one of the finest spots in the city.

Lined with numerous benches and beautiful hanging baskets the wide alleyway is inviting and perfectly contained. Even if you're there long enough for the sun to pass on by, the alley becomes a cosy haven for a great night out with friends.
Of course, should the rain come, everyone can cram inside one of the smallest, but most beautiful bars in the whole city.

The Sunflower

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Union Street, Belfast.
The Sunflower Bar is quite simply the most punk rock bar in the city. It's position at number five on this list bears no relation to how much we love it. The bar itself is small but having taken over an empty yard outside it has greatly expanded it's capacity. It is a simple, perhaps rustic affair, but the Sunflowers charm and friendliness happily spills over.
Add to this the Boxing Hare – the bar's in-house wood fire pizza oven knocking out made to order pizza's in mere minutes – and it is hard to find a better bolt hole in the whole city.

The Dirty Onion

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Hill Street, Belfast
Based in one of Belfast's oldest buildings, allegedly dated to 1608, the Dirty Onion aims to bring a beautiful traditional Irish pub feel into the centre of the city. On a cold and windy night, there are few places better to be than next to the peat burning open fire.
But when the sun is out, the Dirty Onion also offers a wonderful outdoor bar. With generous seating in its spacious yard, even on it's busiest afternoon it is still comfortable and inviting.

The Dirty Duck

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Holywood Esplanade, Holywood

With views across Belfast Lough to Whiteabbey and Carrickfergus, sitting next to a small boat yard, it doesn't get much more nautical than the Dirty Duck.

The Duck boasts an upper floor restaurant and beautifully cosy indoor bar, but with the sun sparkling across the Lough it is all about the outdoor beer garden. Stay long enough and you'll be treated to beautiful views of the sunset across the bay.

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