Gay Belfast, Ireland Travel Guide: What a beautiful city Belfast is! A city that we found very welcoming as gay travellers, it was reassuring to see many other LGBTQ+ couples exploring the city hand in hand.
Full of incredible restaurants, traditional pubs, bars, and thrilling history, we could easily have spent longer exploring Northern Irelands capital city.
In terms of gay Belfast, it has a lot to offer including some of Irelands most popular gay bars and clubs (read on to find out about all the best gay bars and clubs),
But in a whirlwind 48 hours with Tourism Ireland – here are a few of the exciting things we got up to and would highly recommend.
Is there a gay area in Belfast?
Yes! There is a gay area in Belfast. This is where you will find the gay bars in Belfast as well as some gay clubs (and in general is the main Belfast gay scene).
You can find the gay area in Belfast around Union Street sandwiched between Little Donegall St and Donegall St. This is also sometimes known as the gay quarter of Belfast
When did homosexuality become legal in Northern Ireland?
We are happy to say that Northern Ireland has caught up with the rest of the UK in terms of LGBTQ rights.
Whilst same-sex activity has been legal since 1982 and civil partnerships available for same-sex couples since 2005, it was only in 2020 that same-sex marriage was legalised.
Same-sex couples have had full adoption rights since 2013.
Things to do in Belfast for Gay Travellers
Black Taxi Tour
A black taxi tour will take you across pretty much the entire city, starting in the centre taking in the stunning Queens University building, some incredible street art, aswell as a thorough overview of Belfasts troubled and very recent history.
If you want to see and learn about as much of Belfast as possible in just a few hours this is a great option. Our driver was extremely knowledgeable, they really brought the city to life!
See more here.
If you are looking for something truly iconic in Belfast, this is great option for a half day activity.
Constructed at the cost of £97million and opened in 2012, Titanic Belfast relates the story of the famous ocean liner. The iconic building (shaped like the bows of a ship) comprises of 9 galleries over 4 floors. Titanic Belfast transports the visitor through time: travelling from Edwardian ‘Boomtown Belfast’ (learning about the lives of the workers who built the ship and the lives of the passengers and crew who made the fateful voyage) to the present day with live streaming from where the wreck lies at rest on the ocean floor.
Once you have finished your tour head across the road to the Titanic Hotel for lunch.
Find our more on their website.
Sensorium at The Spirit Circle, Taste and Tour
We have been on many a cocktail making class but this was completely different and unique.
Sensorium is an interactive sensory cocktail experience – a relatively new offering involving various taste and smell experiments all designed to help you create your perfect cocktail! It was so much fun!
Over the course of the afternoon you will be asked to let your senses guide you to your ideal serves as you enjoy 4 different cocktails across 3 floors including their roof garden (in summer).
Game of Thrones Studio Tour: Banbridge
If you are a fan of Game of Thrones this is a must do experience. If not, we expect you will still be wowed by the sheer scale of such a show and everything that went into creating it.
Located at the authentic filming location of Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, the Game of Thrones Studio Tour invites you to step behind the scenes of The Seven Kingdoms and beyond.
Experience iconic sets, props and weapons, costumes, special effects, interactive stations and out of this world prosthetics – it is seriously impressive and you can easily spend half a day here.
Through the looking glass – Glass of Thrones
If you want to stick to the city centre and want to experience some of Belfasts GOT offerings, take yourself on a self guided walking tour following the stained glass installations on The Glass of Thrones trail.
Each glass window has been hand designed and illustrated to depict key Houses and moments from Game of Thrones.
Find the trail map here.
Whether you have visited Belfast or not, we are sure you will have heard of and seen images of the stunning Giants Causeway.
Flanked by the wild North Atlantic Ocean and a landscape of dramatic cliffs, the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland’s first UNESCO Heritage Site is a geological wonder and home to a wealth of history and legend. The 40,000 basalt stone columns left by volcanic eruptions 60 million years ago, has captured the imagination of all who see it.
It is best to pre-book Visitor Experience tickets online before you visit or organise a tour as the drive is approximately 1.5 hours from Belfast city centre
Explore the Cathedral Quarter
One of seven quarters (yes the math is wrong!) the Cathedral Quarter is one of the best for a self guided walk around the city centre.
The streets have plenty of vibrant and interesting street art to admire, take a look yourself or if you want a more in-depth exploration consider booking an art tour with Seedhead Arts.
You can also head to Belfast Cathedral, the Metropolitan Arts Centre and the Oh Yeah Music Centre (all free admission).
Gay Bars in Belfast
There are a few great gay bars in Belfast to choose from including some voted as the best gay bars in Ireland! Below is a selection but we also have a full list of gay bars in Belfast here.
Starting with the Kremlin, this has been voted as the best gay bar/club in Ireland. As you might guess by the name, it has a soviet theme and you will find three different areas inside to party.
Kremlin is open 6 nights a week excluding Wednesday and you can expect entertainment ranging from drag acts to cabaret nights and DJ club nights.
If you are looking for a gay club night in Belfast any night of the week (except Wednesday), this is the place for you!
Address: 96 Donegall Street, Belfast, United Kingdom, BT1 2GW
In the centre of the gay area of Belfast, you will find The Maverick gay bar and lounge! The Maverick invites you to ‘Take a walk on the wild side’ and is open 7 days a week with free entertainment including drag acts, karaoke and party nights with some very reasonably priced drink offers!
Union Street Bar
Union Street Bar is one of Belfast’s largest gay bars serving food and drink and then continuing into the evening with entertainment including Cabargay nights and Dragged Out Saturdays.
The bar offers two areas, The Green Room to lounge and catch up with friends and the Shoe Factory where they host lively events.
Want to go to a gay club in Belfast and possibly hang out with winners of RuPauls Drag Race? Boombox is the gay dance club for you!
They run different theme nights and are of course most busy at the weekends. Past acts have included the likes of Blu Hydrangea and well known DJs.
Boombox is open every Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday night from 10pm – late.
Muriel’s Café Bar
A short walk from the gay bars mentioned above, Muriel’s Cafe Bar is a unique little gin bar for LGBTQ locals and tourists with some interesting décor, bras hanging from the ceiling? They are also well known for their G&Ts and other cocktails.
Gay Friendly Hotels Belfast
Rest assured you will be welcome in Belfast, we have chosen the following as gay friendly hotels in Belfast based on our interaction with them and recommendations given:
The Flint Hotel
This is where we stayed during our time in Belfast and we could have easily lived in our studio suite.
All suites have a king sized bed, a sofa or armchair, a bathroom with rain shower, a 43 inch 4K TV, a hair dryer, a security safe, independent climate control and a table with chairs. Some also have full kitchen facilities – enough to live there!
In terms of location, The Flint Hotel could not be more central meaning you can easily walk to all city centre attractions.
For breakfast, there are lots of places nearby (as the hotel does not have an on site option).
Address: 48 Howard Street, Belfast, BT1 6PG
The Grand Central
Grand by name and by design.
The Grand Central is a 4* hotel perfectly located in the city centre in the heart of Belfast within the Linen Quarter, and with easy access to all other attractions.
Make sure to check out their sky-high cocktail bar The Observatory on the 23rd floor with spectacular, unique views of Belfast and beyond.
The Merchant Hotel
The Merchant Hotel is a luxury hotel in the popular Cathedral Quarter offering five-star service. The hotel is a grade A listed building with a lot of character and offers rooms in two distinctive styles – Victorian Splendour and Art Deco Decadence. They also offer uniquely designed suites named after local writers and poets.
If you are looking for a luxury gay friendly hotel in Belfast take a look at The Merchant Hotel.
Where to eat in Belfast?
Deanes at Queens
Michael Deane is very well known in the eating out scene in Belfast having held a Michelin Star for 13 years.
This is one of his restaurants which itself holds a Michelin Bib Gourmand. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal here and tried out the lamb with red wine jus and salmon on a coconut, chickpea and lentil curry base – both delicious!
Bert’s Jazz Bar at The Merchant
This is very unique and many people we met recommended we eat here.
With live jazz playing and waiters in 3 piece suits, we felt like we had been transported back in time. We devoured a camembert to share for starters with some delicious cocktails and then took the brunch option. Great place to spend a Sunday afternoon!
Taylor and Clay Restaurant
This is the place for steak (in our opinion).
Great atmosphere and one of the best steaks we have had. We tried the lamb croquette for starter which was incredible followed by a fillet steak, ribeye and decadent chocolate tart for dessert.
Sitting opposite the Titanic Experience, this is a great option for lunch in a beautiful setting.
We enjoyed a generous portion of fish and chips and a very tasty chicken wrap.
Home also has the honour of a Michelin Bib Gourmand, this is where we ate on our first night and highly recommend.
We took our waitresses recommendations, potato and leek soup for starter followed by beef bourguignon and seabass with crab arancini – very good choices!
We had such a fun 48 hours in Belfast and highly recommend visiting, we will hopefully return and see more of the emerald isle in the future!