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We love nothing more than to give away some hints and tips about improving your PR or social media, but every now and again we like to mix it up a little.
This week, we're talking about Belfast's best coffee shops. There's no better person to talk about coffee than Amy, who knows more about the subject than anyone in our team knows about anything.
And, afterall, you need a coffee break while you're taking 10 mins from implementing all those great social media trend tips we gave you last week, amirite? Over to you, Amy!
I’ve been bouncing between the best coffee shops in Belfast since my uni days many moons ago. If you need to know where to go for the silkiest first-thing-flat white or an after hours caffeine hit, I’m your girl.
There are far more brew bar offerings in the city now than there were even a few years ago. It used to be tricky to find a decent cup of coffee in the city centre, but now the only challenge remaining is sourcing a filter coffee post four in the afternoon. Belfast’s coffee game has come a long way.
As the resident coffee snob of the Clearbox team, I’ve put together a list of my favourite coffee shops across the city, highlighting some of Belfast’s most popular spots alongside lesser known gems.
Get the kettle on and enjoy!
Not only does Established serve up some of the best brews in Belfast, it also roasts its own beans and offers a subscription service for those who want to have brew bar quality coffee at home. Our new office is kitted out with a lovely Sage coffee machine, so we’ve signed ourselves up to the Established subscription service so we never run out of beans.
A favourite for locals and visitors alike, Established is hard to beat. It’s cool, contemporary and bustling with people making their way through Cathedral Quarter. I’d recommend pairing a filter coffee with a slice of banana bread.
The pocket will always hold a special place in my heart. On the day the first shop opened across the road from Queen’s, I skipped a lecture on literature in the city that I’d been finding exceedingly dull for the previous few weeks and a new love affair began.
I’d spend many’s an afternoon here between lectures drinking flat whites and eating green eggs on toast. Sadly, the pocket’s OG location shut down during the pandemic, but the team opened a new shop in the Flat Iron building on Upper Church Lane in the city centre with the same brilliant brunch menu and friendly faces behind the counter.
The pocket brews 3fe coffee and I recommend ordering a flat white with a slice of toasted banana bread (I see a theme developing…).
A hidden gem at the bottom of the Stranmillis Road, 5A boasts what is, in my opinion, the silkiest flat white Belfast. If it wasn’t already good enough, the shop has recently expanded to accommodate more seating and some retail shelves with goods and wares from local brands, providing all the more reason to make it your next stop for a coffee date.
5A brews General Merchants beans alongside changing guest roasters. I say you should pair your coffee with a peanut butter ball (or two).
Oh! Donuts is yet another coffee shop in Belfast that roasts its own beans - a huge success for an independent retailer that started off small.
You can guess from the name that Oh! also specialises in donuts, so it’s great shout for an afternoon treat. Oh! Donuts also has a drive through location at Sprucefield which is handy for coffee on the go.
I recommend a filter coffee with a cinnamon swirl donut here (or a Boston Creme if you fancy a classic).
One of the coolest, most relaxing spots for a coffee in Belfast is the Lyric Theatre’s café bar. Bring a book or your laptop and you’ll be uninterrupted for hours as you sip on your coffee and enjoy a view of the Lagan through the building’s beautiful wall-to-wall windows.
Fun fact: my husband and I love the Lyric Theatre’s café bar area so much we hosted our wedding reception there.
You’ll want to order an Americano here.
The big sister of 5A, General Merchants does top quality brunches and brews. You might have to queue for a while to get food, but at a couple of the cafe’s locations there’s a takeaway hatch for those in a hurry, including the city centre hatch-only offering on Donegall Place.
General Merchants used to serve an evening menu on the Ormeau Road, too, and I’m keeping and eye for the day it makes a grand return.
Get the Californian sandwich with your coffee - you won’t be disappointed.
Just a stone’s throw from Clearbox’s new office in Ormeau Baths is Napoleon, a busy, cosy coffee shop catering for the many office workers in the area. The team brews with beans from roasters from all over the world including Curve, Dak and Nomad, so might end up trying a coffee from a brand you’ve never heard of before.
I yet again recommend a peanut butter ball, paired with a coffee of your choice.
Neighbourhood Cafe is possibly the coolest coffee shop Belfast has to offer. There’s a usually a hefty wait for a table on a Saturday, but it’s without a doubt worth the wait. Serving up stunning brunches for sweet and savoury lovers alike, Neighbourhood Cafe has something for everyone.
The cafe has recently reopened in Commercial Court in Cathedral Quarter following a fire in its previous building. The new spot has super relaxed vibes and is the perfect location to chill out in for a while over a brew.
I recommend the Turkish Eggs with a filter coffee to follow.
A little further out, on the Lisburn Road, is Output Espresso. Hosting regular events in the run up to seasonal milestones like Halloween and Christmas, Output Espresso is where you want to head if you fancy something a little bit stronger than your daytime caffeine fix.
If it’s still on the menu, order the banana bread with vanilla mascarpone: I has a spiritual experience with dish. Wash it down with an Americano.
Stuck for where to go post-5pm and don’t fancy a drink? Bullitt is the place: the vibes are exceptional. It can be quite loud in the evening, but I regularly read a book in amongst the holidayers and post-work gatherings having a great with absolutely no issue. You never feel like you have to move on from here quickly, which I appreciate too.
Bullitt brews Bailies beans and I recommend ordering an Americano. If you do fancy something stronger, however, Bullitt also does an excellent espresso martini.
Have any other favourite spots? Let us know!