Bootleggers Bar and Restaurant, Belfast

Bootleggers Sign

Updated On: May 21, 2024 by   Ciaran ConnollyCiaran Connolly

Bootleggers, a medium-sized bar and restaurant, is less than a minute’s walk from one of Belfast’s prime shopping locations. The American-style pub is a time capsule from the prohibition era of the 1920s.

During the 1920s, Bootleggers were famous for producing, distributing, and selling alcohol to individuals and speakeasy bars, which were illegal drinking clubs. Therefore, the name compliments the style of the pub.

The bar is attached to a fantastic restaurant that is always busy. So if you wish to visit, get down early unless you don’t mind waiting as no bookings are available. The menu has a range of burgers, tacos and other American classics. There is also a range of vegetarian and vegan items.

The pub also has many cocktails, from classics to outrageous ones. You can even get a cocktail served in a box and some popcorn or a cocktail presented to you that is still on fire.

Bootleggers
View of the bar and restaurant from the outside

Historical Context and Ambiance

The Prohibition Era Inspiration

Bootleggers Bar and Restaurant draws its name and theme from the Prohibition era in the United States, a period from 1920 to 1933 when the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages were banned nationwide. This era gave rise to the term “bootlegging,” which refers to the illegal production and distribution of liquor. Bootleggers take this historical concept and infuse it with a contemporary twist, creating a space that feels both nostalgic and modern.

Upon entering Bootleggers, patrons are greeted with an ambience reminiscent of the clandestine speakeasies of the 1920s. The dim lighting, exposed brick walls, and vintage décor transport guests back to a time of jazz music and hidden bars. The establishment’s design pays homage to the ingenuity and resilience of the bootleggers of the past while also embracing the vibrant spirit of modern Belfast.

The Culinary Experience

A Diverse Menu

Bootleggers offers a menu that is as eclectic as its theme, catering to various tastes and preferences. The culinary team at Bootleggers prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients to create innovative and comforting dishes. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty meal or a light snack, the menu has something to satisfy every craving.

Starters and Small Plates

Bootleggers’ starters and small plates are designed to whet the appetite and set the stage for the main course. Popular options include the Sticky BBQ Pork Ribs, which are slow-cooked to perfection and glazed with a tangy barbecue sauce. Another favourite is the Crispy Calamari, served with a zesty lemon aioli that perfectly complements the tender calamari rings.

Main Courses

Bootleggers
Cozy feels inside the bar

The main courses at Bootleggers are a celebration of flavour and creativity. The Buttermilk Fried Chicken Burger is a standout, featuring succulent chicken breast marinated in buttermilk, coated in a crispy batter, and served on a brioche bun with house-made coleslaw and spicy mayo. The Halloumi and Avocado Salad is a delightful choice for those seeking a vegetarian option, combining grilled halloumi cheese, ripe avocado, cherry tomatoes, and mixed greens with a balsamic glaze.

Signature Dishes

Bootleggers is known for its signature dishes, highlighting the chef’s expertise and flair. The Slow-Cooked Beef Brisket is a must-try, featuring tender, melt-in-the-mouth beef served with creamy mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Another signature dish is the Seafood Linguine, which combines fresh mussels, prawns, and squid in a rich tomato and garlic sauce, served over al dente linguine.

Desserts

No meal at Bootleggers is complete without indulging in one of their decadent desserts. The Sticky Toffee Pudding is a crowd favourite, served warm with a generous drizzle of toffee sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The Lemon Cheesecake is a refreshing choice for a lighter option, featuring a zesty lemon filling on a crumbly biscuit base.

The Drinks Menu

Craft Cocktails and More

Bootleggers’ drinks menu is a testament to the creativity and expertise of its bartenders. The cocktail list is extensive, featuring both classic and contemporary creations that are sure to impress even the most discerning palates. Each cocktail is meticulously crafted using premium spirits, fresh ingredients, and innovative techniques.

Signature Cocktails

One of the standout cocktails at Bootleggers is the Bootlegger’s Old Fashioned, a twist on the classic Old Fashioned that incorporates bourbon, maple syrup, and aromatic bitters, garnished with an orange twist and a maraschino cherry. Another popular choice is the Gin Bramble, which combines gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup, and blackberry liqueur for a refreshing and fruity cocktail.

Craft Beers and Wines

In addition to its impressive cocktail offerings, Bootleggers also boasts a carefully curated selection of craft beers and wines. The beer menu features a variety of local and international brews, ranging from crisp lagers to robust stouts. The wine list includes red and white wines from renowned vineyards worldwide, ensuring there is something to complement every dish on the menu.

Live Entertainment and Events

A Hub for Music and Social Gatherings

Bootleggers Bar and Restaurant is more than just a place to enjoy great food and drinks; it is also a vibrant hub for live entertainment and social gatherings. The establishment regularly hosts live music performances featuring talented local musicians and bands covering various genres. From jazz and blues to rock and pop, the live music at Bootleggers adds an extra layer of excitement to the dining experience.

Themed Nights and Special Events

In addition to live music, Bootleggers hosts themed nights and special events that draw in crowds from all over Belfast. These events range from quiz nights and karaoke to themed parties celebrating holidays and special occasions. The atmosphere during these events is electric, with patrons coming together to enjoy good company, great music, and a lively atmosphere.

Community Engagement and Sustainability

Supporting Local Producers

Bootleggers Bar and Restaurant supports the local community and promotes sustainability. The establishment sources many ingredients from local farmers and producers, ensuring the food is fresh, high-quality, and environmentally friendly. This commitment to local sourcing supports the regional economy and reduces the restaurant’s carbon footprint.

Sustainable Practices

In addition to sourcing locally, Bootleggers implements several sustainable practices to minimise its environmental impact. These include reducing food waste through careful menu planning and portion control, using eco-friendly packaging for takeaway orders, and recycling whenever possible. The restaurant’s dedication to sustainability is evident in every aspect of its operations, from the kitchen to the front of the house.

Customer Experience

Exceptional Service

One of Bootleggers Bar and Restaurant’s hallmarks is its exceptional customer service. The staff is known for their friendliness, professionalism, and attention to detail. Whether a first-time visitor or a regular patron, you can expect to be greeted with a warm smile and treated with the utmost care and respect.

Customer Reviews

The positive reviews from customers speak volumes about the quality of the experience at Bootleggers. Many patrons praise the delicious food, creative cocktails, and lively atmosphere, often highlighting the friendly and attentive service as a critical factor in their enjoyable experience. These glowing reviews are a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Bootleggers team.

Bootleggers Opening Times

The bar/restaurant is open every day of the week. However, on certain days, Bootleggers may be closed for reasons that they have no control over. Visit Bootleggers’ website for more information.

  • Monday – 12pm – 1am
  • Tuesday – 12pm – 1am
  • Wednesday – 12pm – 1am
  • Thursday– 12pm – 1am
  • Friday – 12pm – 1am
  • Saturday – 12pm – 1am
  • Sunday – 1pm – 12am

Bootleggers Pricing

The pricing is great for a restaurant in Belfast City Centre. Not one of their 12 burgers costs more than £10, which is unexpected. The dearest meal is the steak sandwich, which costs only £11.

Other classics cost only £9: a chilli dog, chicken wings with sauce for £6.50, and french fries for only £3.

Facilities Available

  • Wheelchair Friendly
  • Outdoor Seating
  • Accepts Credit/Debit Cards
  • Table Service
  • Free WiFi
  • Live Music most nights
  • Veggie/Vegan Food Available

Location of Bootleggers

Bootleggers is located on Church Lane in Belfast City Centre with an entrance on Anne Street. It is a five-minute walk from Belfast City Hall and ten minutes from the central tourist spot of Belfast, Titanic Quarter.

46 Church Lane, Belfast BT1 4QN

Conclusion

Bootleggers Bar and Restaurant is a gem in the heart of Belfast, offering a unique and memorable dining experience that combines the best of history, gastronomy, and entertainment. From its Prohibition-era-inspired décor and eclectic menu to its vibrant live music scene and commitment to sustainability, Bootleggers has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a delicious meal, savour a craft cocktail, or simply soak in the lively atmosphere, Bootleggers is the perfect destination.

With its blend of historical charm and modern flair, Bootleggers Bar and Restaurant continues to be a beloved spot for locals and visitors alike. Its dedication to quality, community, and customer satisfaction ensures it remains a standout establishment in Belfast’s bustling culinary and social scene. So, the next time you find yourself in Belfast, be sure to visit Bootleggers and experience all this remarkable bar and restaurant has to offer.

Have you ever been to Bootleggers before? What is your favourite pub in Belfast? We’d love to know!

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