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  • “Fantastic friendly staff, great food, live music, art exhibitions, no tv's or gaming machines!” in 9 reviews

    Music: Live

  • “Great wee pub for a pint in the Cathedral Quarter and named after the Belfast poet.” in 7 reviews

  • “Bartenders are so friendly and every time I asked for a glass of Guinness they gave me a pint.” in 7 reviews

Recommended Reviews

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  • 5.0 star rating
    3/10/2010

    I love this little classy establishment in the middle of the Cathedral quarter.My first experience came here as a 16 year old who was going into town when my friend who I worked with saw me waiting on the bus and asked em to come on in with him and have a pint and a bit of food.

    That day I had a few pints of Guinness and a lovely plate of stew, and that's when my love affair began with this place.This place is full of the artsy and cultured people of Belfast.The atmosphere in  here is always great which is a hard thing to achieve in a lot of other places.

    The place is a not for profit place, so you can also feel really good that there is a good cause behind your excessive food and drink consumption!

  • 4.0 star rating
    23/1/2014

    "Desired everywhere I live" kind of bar.

  • 4.0 star rating
    21/8/2013

    I really enjoyed my visit to this bar in my recent trip to Belfast. They do a solid lunch and their own beer holds its own against the more well-known brands stocked.

    I'll definitely be back on my next trip.

  • 4.0 star rating
    18/11/2010
    Listed in Belfast Spots

    My friend who is from the North and used to live in Belfast raved about this spot.

    I am conflicted with the star distribution simply because the hotel guide book described it as a different beast altogether,
    "high ceilings"
    About as feckin high as my head, OK exaggeration but they are normal size.

    Bartenders are so friendly and every time I asked for a glass of Guinness they gave me a pint. Is it a half glass you ask for?

    Live musician was fantastic and the crowd was mixed. Full of dancing, drunken energy. Lots of fun. It did feel like a very local spot though, although maybe if we went with a larger crowd it would make the difference.

    Around this point a lot of you may be gasping on air and spluttering,
    "Dear Lord Annie you used a guide book instead of YELP."

    Yes I did. And after reading the previous reviewers who have described it perfectly and highlighted what I did not pay attention to I realise I was bold and dirty, oh so dirty for believing that book that described most of Belfast as having high ceilings would be accurate. Also roaming charges are the devil so the phone stayed off. But I will know in future. So I started with 3 and now will give a low 4 due to reading the great reviews prior.

  • 4.0 star rating
    9/3/2012
    2 check-ins

    Fine pure lovely pub in the centre near the Cathedral. If you're Occupy-ing, you can pop round for a pint and a blether and get a bit warm and some nice food and have a listen to some music.

    Definitely a deadly Belfast go-to boozer, with an excellent range of local and international pints.

  • 4.0 star rating
    22/6/2010

    Belfast's journalist's bar, with many a hack sitting at the bar regailing tales of stories written and the good old days. But don't let the high number of know-it-alls put you off, this is a great wee pub with plenty of charm.

    Situated in Belfast's Cathedral quarter, just round the corner from the Duke of York  this is one of the quieter haunts with the clientelle being a little bit older than most places. This means it is a great date bar, with plenty of seats and nooks and crannys to allow for great conversation and a bit of flirting.

    There is a good selection of lagers, beers and ales on offer but little in the way of cocktails or drinks promos. This is a bar that takes life at its own pace and takes itself a little bit seriously.

    Well worth checking out, especially when it hosts events in conjunction with many of the local arts and music festivals throughout the year. I have went to a few movie screenings and music events here and enjoyed every one.

  • 4.0 star rating
    26/6/2010

    The John Hewitt is a popular bar situated in the heart of Belfast's Cathedral Quarter. This area is really fantastic for a night out and the John Hewitt is definitely one of the bars to stop at on your journey.

    The bar is decorated in a traditional Irish style which always makes it welcoming. They also have a lot interesting pieces of art bought from the galleries on the same street signifying further the culture the Cathedral Quarter brings to Belfast.

    The staff are veterans in their craft. This isn't a bar where students go to make a few extra quid. They love working there and always show it. The cost of a pint is around £3 which you can't complain about, especially with the constant free flowing entertainment in the form of traditional Irish musicians blasting out reel and reel in the corner. A great night out and a true Irish experience for any touristy buddies you want to show off to!

  • 5.0 star rating
    16/7/2010

    The John Hewitt is a bar like bars should be. It feels like its been around for eons, and is another venue that has benefited from the revival of the Cathedral Quarter.

    The bar stocks less common alcohol, which is refreshing for those of us who tire of "Budweiser or Harp?" and the food is delicious.

    It's always packed at the weekend, and the crowd is an eclectic mix of people which gives the place a great "anything goes" kind of atmosphere.

    I tend to use this bar as a launching pad on a night out, but if I'm lucky enough to get in early and nab a seat, I could happily stay there all night!

    There's usually some live music. It could be a man and guitar, a trad band or a full rock band - it's anyone's guess!

    During the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, the John Hewitt also doubles as a venue, hosting performances and talks throughout.

    Definitely worth a visit if you want to sample what I would class as a proper Irish pub!

  • 4.0 star rating
    28/8/2010

    The John Hewitt is a grand old classy type of a bar.

    A well stocked bar with lots of well polished wood panelling, some cosy booths and some interesting looking contemporary art on the walls, it oozes sophistication. In an old man sense, not in a slick and trendy modern type of way.

    On a recent visit I was pleased to hear a jazz band playing on stage, they were really great even though I couldn't hear a word my companion was saying due to the volume.

    My journalism class and I were taken here by our lecturers who informed us it was a real journalists favourite, and indeed many journos popped in during the afternoon to partake in their favourite hobby!

  • 3.0 star rating
    19/9/2010

    I don't particularly like the John Hewitt, and I don't know why, because there's no reason not to. I'm a writer (daaahling) so should love the place, but I just can't get into it. Maybe it's because I prefer rougher spit and sawdust type places, and the Hewitt has always come across as a bit pretentious to me. This is very weird indeed as it's a charity, and run by the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre next door, but, I don't know, it just seems to be filled with the type of people who are Writers and Poets and Musicians and have the attitude to go with it. (I'm a lower case writer, me.)

    But. That's probably just me - I am a rough and ready type after all. By most accounts the Hewitt is a decent enough bar. I've never eaten there but, going from appreciative comments of other punters when I've been there in the afternoon, their kitchen apparently turns out quite noshable nosh. And the range of beers available is truly impressive, and the staff will always let you taste a little bit before buying if you're not sure. (Don't do that more than 61 or 62 times though, they get shirty.)

    The live music isn't really my scene but again, that's probably just me, and saying that I would definitely take a visitor to here on the trad nights so they could get all excited about being in a proper Oirish pub. Certainly a bar to check out, even if I am too much of a pleb for it.

  • 5.0 star rating
    28/9/2010

    The John Hewitt takes the award as my favorite bar in Belfast. At the weekend it has the best atmosphere...a bit of music and laughter for all. I just love going in and sitting in the little room beside the bar away from the noise...great for going with friends and with that special someone.

    In the afternoon they serve a pretty good lunch menu.... in my opinion the bar burger is unbeatable at the price. There is a great variety of beers here from lager to wheat beer, they also do well in representing local brews such as 'Belfast Ale' and the latest from Hilden Brewery. So take a trip down there and support the locals at your local.

  • 5.0 star rating
    2/10/2010

    My friend recommended the Saturday afternoon session in the John Hewitt, so we all landed round at about five, but the music hadn't started yet.  Still, the atmosphere was still pretty lively for a Saturday afternoon and when the music eventually started, the place felt like it was lifting off the ground.  
    When you're here, look out for the plaques commemorating Mumford and Sons and Seasick Steve, who both cite the John Hewitt as the venue where it all began for them.  The best bit is this bar is a not for profit venue, as it is owned by the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre.  
    On the surface, everything about this bar looks fairly typical, with bar tables and chairs from a 'typical pub' scene in a movie - but it has an atmosphere like nothing else when the music gets going. If you could bottle and sell it, you'd be a guaranteed millionaire.

    • Qype User ski…
    • London
    • 32 friends
    • 138 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    9/1/2009

    Great wee pub for a pint in the Cathedral Quarter and named after the Belfast poet. Pub grub is good fare too. As it says on the website:

    The bar is unique in its ownership as it is owned by the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre. The Resource Centre managers had always relied on various grants to fund its work, when in the mid nineties, they came up with the idea of generating some of their own funds by going into business.and why not a pub!

    Plenty of good beers; the standards plus the likes of Erdinger, Asahi, Franziskaner (quality stuff) Various genres of music on every night.

  • 4.0 star rating
    19/3/2012
    Listed in Great Bars

    Mmmm the John Hewitt.

    This is a pretty typical Irish pub pretty much in the City Centre. It's a great place for co-workers in the area to grab drinks after work. It fills up pretty fast in the late afternoons and evenings, but they serve good drinks for a good price.

  • 4.0 star rating
    16/10/2011

    Solid live music.  Engaging bartenders.  Good beer.  Neighborhood kind of blows.

  • 4.0 star rating
    4/8/2010

    This is a really cool traditional old bar. It captures the Irish charm you would expect and want from a pub in Belfast (or Ireland in general) and this is probably why its so popular with peoples of all ages and every walk of life. You could easily be brushing shoulders with writers, lecturers and up and coming musicians who often play at the weekends here. Its a favourite haunt of the older generation but just as popular with the rest of us. I love the fact there's no big screen TVs so you actually can have a conversation with whoever your with.
       The drinks are cheap which makes it popular with students and a great first pub on the start of a night out. The bar is well stocked with alternative beers which I really like as I'm a huge fan of German beer! Its a great pub with a fab atmosphere and great music! Be warned though to get there early if you want a seat and actually want to get in! The food is really reasonable and they also host open mic nights for budidng singers and songwriters! Really great entertainment all round!

  • 4.0 star rating
    24/8/2010

    Really nice 'proper' bar in the ever popular Cathedral Quarter. Well set-up and great selection of drinks...a few pints of their Hoegaarden on a summer's day is highly recommended.

    There's some local art adorning the walls and there are a few 'snug' type seating areas on the right hand side of the bar. Perfect for a quiet tete a tete. Occasionally they have live entertainment. Last time I was in on a Saturday afternoon they had a jazz band which made a pleasant change from the usual piped in or jukebox sounds.

    A bit of a hub for artists, musicians and journalists alike and there's usually a few interesting characters sat amongst day-tripping tourists. One of the best nights I had in here was the annual Pong contest which was definitely a geek fest night to remember.

    Pros: Relaxed atmosphere, good food.
    Cons: Can get busy at the weekend.

  • 5.0 star rating
    8/9/2010

    This has become over the years almost an old friend, a place to sit for a quick little pint or stay a bit longer in the evening. It's also a hive for every hack and writer in Belfast.

    The main thing to notice is there is no music - by that I mean ambient, stereo tunes. There is however a mixture of live events throughout the weeks, lots of traditional folk, blue and a spattering of jazz.

    The John Hewitt is actually a charity so it's essentially a non-profit. The range of beers and ales does change in how mixed and diverse it is but you'll get one of two ales on cask, the usual sub-macro German and Belgian wheats on tap and a selection bottled.

    A fantastic place - feels old and steeped in history but in reality has only been here for a handful of years.

  • 4.0 star rating
    17/9/2010

    The John Hewitt's always a pub I seem to stumble upon after dinner somewhere in the Cathedral Quarter.  I'll love the atmosphere and the off-the-beaten-track beers, probably take in some excellent music, go home and then not plan to go back until the next time I happen to have dinner somewhere in the Cathedral Quarter.

    I have a bit of a thing for black lagers.  Quite possibly one of the finest beers I've ever tasted was an ice-cold bottle of Staropramen Cerny that one of my Czech friends brought me from Prague.  I've searched high and low for in in Northern Ireland, and although you can find Staropramen Lezak (light lager) in your nearest supermarket, you can't get the darker stuff anywhere.

    But, should you be suffering the same yearning as I;  The John Hewitt does a cracking black lager called Köstritzer which is nearly as good.  Grab a pint of it and try to get the wee wooden booth to one side of the bar with the huge collage of all the Irish authors and see how many you can name.  The youngest one with the cool hair is someone you should definitely investigate if you haven't already - his initials are RMW.

    Come to think of it, I've always had a brilliant time in the Hewitt.  I should make a point of actually planning to go more often.

    • Qype User crabwi…
    • Holywood, North Down
    • 3 friends
    • 29 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    16/4/2009

    Arty pub, great for all the local Belfast beers, but food only served at lunchtime. Try the snug for a small group.

  • 3.0 star rating
    11/8/2010

    The John Hewitt is quaint little bar on Donegall Street in Cathedral Quarter. I was surprised to hear it's a relatively new pub which opened its doors in 1999. You tend to find the literary, artsy types accumulating here (at least you used to, I've noticed it doesn't tend to be as popular these days) but the bar hosts quality live music nights, traditional music sessions, poetry readings, literary events as well as being a popular drinking spot. It's a welcoming atmosphere though sometimes can be exceptionally crowded (think sardines and you'd be pretty close) but it's a nice wee spot for a bevvie about the town. It's interesting that the bar is owned by The Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre whose offices are next door and it's aptly named after the late poet, socialist and Freeman of Belfast John Hewitt who officially opened the Resource Centre on Mayday 1983. The walls of the bar are filled with regalia from local artists. They also sell an interesting range of local beers including Caffreys, Belfast Black, Hilden, Belfast Ale and Belfast Lager. None of which I've tried I must admit I'll stick to Harp Ice ta. But it's nice to see.

    • Qype User AnnaMa…
    • Belfast
    • 1 friend
    • 12 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    18/4/2009

    My favourite bar in Belfast. Great atmosphere, full of anarchists, socialists, poets, writers, ex-prisoners-turned community workers of both varieties, academics and all-round scruffy types. And the occasional tired shopper. The place to go for unusual beers and interesting chat.

    • Qype User Irish…
    • Belfast
    • 2 friends
    • 19 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    31/10/2010

    This has to be the best Bar in Belfast. Fantastic friendly staff, great food, live music, art exhibitions, no tv's or gaming machines! And with 14 different beers on tap!) Plus loads more in bottles it's Beer Heaven

  • 4.0 star rating
    10/5/2010
    First to Review

    My Dad's favourite haunt. And I can see why. This is one of those bars in Belfast that still retains its original charm and unspoiled atmosphere. It's traditional and homely, and doesn't have the gimmicky offers and enticements that other bars have given in to, such as drink deals and televisions blaring. It's warm and cosy, with little nooks and crannies to sit in and put the world to rights. It's a very popular bar indeed, always full on the weekends, and you get the feeling you are mixing with a really wide range of people, from artists to lecturers, to students. They offer live music and entertainment most nights, which really adds to the eclectic, artistic vibe in the place and the Panama Jazz Band in particular are really enjoyable to listen to - and I didn't think I liked Jazz! Toilets are tiny, but who cares? Well recommended for a good night with good company, or like me , an evening out with 'yer good 'aul Da.

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