The Deer’s Head: Belfast’s First Brew Pub

The Deer's Head Belfast

Updated On: November 08, 2023 by   Ciaran ConnollyCiaran Connolly

The Deer’s Head

On the streets of Belfast’s historic brewing district stands The Deer’s Head, a modernized brew pub with respect to its historic routes in Belfast’s beer history. This traditional pub has been transformed by a massive renovation in recent years while keeping its charm and adding some beautiful additions. For example, their large glass walls which give you a view of their in house brewery equipment where the pints you will enjoy find their start. This beautiful Belfast pub is home to some of the best craft beer Belfast has to offer.

Want to learn more about Northern Ireland Breweries and brewing history, check out our article here.

Where Is The Deer’s Head? When Is The Deer’s Head Open?

The Deer’s head is still in its original location from the 19th century at 1-3 Lower Garfield St, Belfast BT1 1FP. In a street just across from Belfast’s busy CastleCourt Shopping Centre. This slightly hidden gem is the only pub left on Belfast’s historic brewery lane.

Their opening hours are:

  • Monday – 12–10pm
  • Tuesday – 12–11pm
  • Wednesday – 12pm–12am
  • Thursday – 12pm–12am
  • Friday – 12pm–1am
  • Saturday – 12pm–1am
  • Sunday – 12–11pm

The Deer’s Head serve food and drink daily.

What Is The Deer’s Head All About?

The Deer’s Head is a brewpub owned by Bell’s Brewery meaning they make and serve beer in-house. They are eager to recreate the brewing culture of Belfast’s history and encourage more local breweries to create and sell their own beer as well as encouraging people to try local brews.

On top of this they aim to provide top quality food, drink and entertainment throughout their venue including their Music Hall where you can attend live music events.  The Deer’s Head take pride in the history of their bar and its architectural history while offering modern comfort and stylish finishings.

Bell’s Brewery

John Bell created Bell’s Brewery after changing career from being a Wine and Spirit merchant in the 18th century. Started in 1778 this historic brew house increased the popularity of beer in Belfast changing the course of food and drink history in the city. Lower Garfield street where The Deer’s Head still sits was once called Bell’s Lane after John Bell himself.

Due to the popularity of Guinness brewing in Dublin, Belfast became less well-known for brewing and breweries in Belfast died out. Bell’s remains today as a company shaping the name of brewing beer in Belfast proudly maintaining that tradition. While you enjoy a pint in the Deer’s Head you can watch a piece of that history and tradition right from your seat as you witness the brewing process through their glass walls.

Brewiks Equipment

The Deer’s Head brewing for Bell’s Brewery takes place in state of the art equipment from a company called Brewiks which cater to small breweries all over the world. The Deer’s Head is the first in Belfast to use Brewiks, with their beautiful chrome finished brew tanks on display in the bar. Check out the video above to see a bit more of the process and use of this specialised brewing equipment.

The Deer’s Head: Belfast’s First Brew Pub

What’s on offer at The Deer’s Head?

The Deer’s Head not only offers top quality beer brewed in Belfast they also have a packed social schedule which has something for everyone.

The Music Hall

Head upstairs to The Deer’s Head Music Hall and enjoy a variety of performances from punk bands, to Rodd Stewart tribute acts. Also held in their Music Hall are events such as The Deer’s Head Beer Festival. This event is a great way to try a bit of what they do at The Deer’s Head as you attend a session of your choosing, collect a commemorative glass filled with a beer of your choice, and sample a selection of local brewery offerings.

This event also has live music throughout, a snack menu to sample food as well as high quality beer, and talks from local brewers about their process and products.

Entertainment in the Bar

If live sport is your thing you can enjoy it at the Deer’s Head, they all main fixtures on one of their big screens, they offer football as well as American football, as you can watch NFL games at the Deer’s Head all through the season on Sundays.

The Deer’s Head also has live music in their main bar with a traditional Irish music session and local musicians every Friday from 5pm and 8pm, original music from local songwriters performed on Thursday’s from 8pm with special guests changing every week, and rewind DJ’s on Saturday nights from 9pm. If you are looking for a really unique live music experience you should attend the Belfast Ukulele Jam on Wednesday’s from 7pm, and if you know the ukulele why not join in?

Belfast Ukulele Jam

The Deer’s Head: Belfast’s First Brew Pub

A real highlight of the Deer’s Head entertainment offerings is their weekly session with the Belfast Ukulele Jam. Starting in 2015 this informal and friendly group create fantastic music together in a variety of musical styles and genres. If you know the ukulele you can even join in. Head to the Deer’s Head on Wednesday night from 7pm to experience the truly magical atmosphere provided by this lovely group of local musicians.

Read more about this unique live music experience here.

What beer is served at the deer’s head?

The Deer’s Head serve a rotating selection of their inhouse beers as well as some local lagers from other breweries and classic pints for those not interested in craft beer. Their regular beers to have on tap from their range are Black Bull Stout, Monkey Shaving the Goat IPA, and North Star Lager. Beyond these regular customers is a whole range of interesting beers, lagers, IPAs and so on you can choose from the Bell’s Brewery catalogue listed below:

  • North Star Lager
  • Monkey Shaving the Goat IPA
  • Black Bull Stout
  • Elephant West Coast IPA
  • White Cross Cherry Sour
  • Red Cow Red Ale
  • Peggy Barclays Session IPA
  • Blouse Club Elderflower & Hibiscus Saison
  • Garfield New England IPA
  • Wheatsheaf Weissbier
  • Hounds & Hare Mango IPA
  • Rotterdam Double IPA
  • Plough Pumpkin Pale Ale
  • Capstan Australian Pale Ale
  • Seven Stars Italian Pilsner
  • Auntie Annie’s Raspberry Sour
  • Widow Partridge’s Winter Spiced Ale
  • Star and Garter Talus Pale Ale
  • Horse Fair Rhubarb & Ginger Sour
  • Linen hall Tayberry sour
  • Sign of the Sun Citra Pale Ale
  • Elbow Gooseberry And Elderflower Sour
  • Bodega Blueberry Sour

Seasonal Offerings At The Deer’s Head

You may notice on the Bell’s Brewery beer list a few seasonal selections, these autumnal or advent beers are a perfect treat for the time of year, check out their social media pages to make sure you don’t miss out on a Halloween treat like their Pumpkin Spice Pale Ale or a Christmas Holidays warmer like Widow Partridge’s Winter Spiced Ale. They may even come up with something new for the holidays this year as they are always formulating new craft beers for you to try.

The Deer’s Head: Belfast’s First Brew Pub

How to choose your pint

With so much choice on offer it can be hard to pick a single pint to try while visiting the Deer’s Head. You could always come back another day, as the comfortable atmosphere will make you want to become a regular, but there’s another way. The Deer’s Head also offer a beer flights menu which allows you to try a third of a pint in three different varieties that give you a chance to try something from across the board of their offerings.

Want to pick just one? Talk to their friendly and knowledgeable staff about what’s on tap, and ask to try a little bit of one you might like before settling on a pint. Want another pint? I don’t blame you, just flick the switch in your booth to turn on a light to alert the staff you want to be served, or make your way to the bar for a chat with the bar staff.

What food is served at the Deer’s Head?

The Deer’s Head menu is bursting with traditional Northern Irish classics such as boxty, Ulster Fry, Belfast Bap, vegetable broth with wheaten bread, and champ. Beyond this and their other pub classics such as curry and fish and chips they have a special offering you don’t see every day. The Deer’s Head pie flight is a treat to go perfectly with your flight of fantastic local beers. Enjoy a selection of three pies all made with local ingredients and with three pies to enjoy you are sure to find the perfect pairing for your pint.  

The Deer’s Head: Belfast’s First Brew Pub

Find their whole food menu here.

Why go to The Deer’s Head?

The Deer’s Head is a great example of the fantastic brewing industry that exists in Northern Ireland. Whether you are looking to have a pint and a spot of lunch, try a beer and pie flight to have a taste of something new, or experience live sport or music, this pub has it all. Take a trip into the brewing history of Belfast and enjoy a pint while you’re there.

Looking for more bars that serve craft beer or offer traditional Irish music live? Check out our other articles to find our more!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *