The leafy area spread around Queen’s University in the south of the city, the vibrant Queen’s Quarter is home to a treasure trove of eclectic shops, cafes, bars, galleries, and live entertainment venues.
Here’s our guide on everything you need to know about the Queen’s Quarter -from places to eat, where to drink, and places to see!
Places To Eat
44 University Road – Website
Buskers has earned itself a famous reputation for students and young professionals alike who like the option of dining al fresco with delicious tapas and cocktails – or enjoying hearty food with a home-cooked feel.
As you may have guessed, Buskers places a huge emphasis on music, with music icons painted on the walls and live bands & performers playing throughout the week – as well as an open door policy for talented buskers. You even get a couple of quid off the bill in exchange!
This is a uniquely relaxing restaurant bar with amazing cocktails, an affordable price point and good food, making it one not to be missed.
2. Maggie Mays
Malone Road and Botanic Avenue – Website
You can’t possibly make it through life as a student without visiting Maggie Mays at least once (a week).
With all day breakfasts which include hangover-healing super-fries (also available in Vegetarian), as well as a jam-packed lunch & dinner menu boasting stacks of comfort food, we don’t doubt you’ll soon be hooked.
That’s not to mention, as well as their renowned shakes (which includes a Hair of the Dog with Bailey’s!), Maggie Mays is famous for their seriously reasonable prices. So it should fit into that student loan budget no problem!
Botanic Avenue – Website
Located virtually a stone’s throw away from the McClay Library and main Queen’s campus, Boojum is a cult favourite for students.
The fact that it lines the stomach excellently before a night out is just an added bonus!
116 – 118 Lisburn Road – Website
Previously known as the Four in Hand Bar which was an old coaching house (where Seamus Heaney was reported to meet others upstairs in the bar to write poetry!), Ryan’s was renamed around 2002.
Since then it’s made quite the name for itself – thanks to their outrageously good value meals deals, Butterbeer at Halloween (the whole bar turns into The Leaky Cauldron!), sensational food and unique pub quizzes.
Ryan’s 2 courses for £10 runs all day, everyday! Or you can get an amazing lunch, with prices starting at just £4.95. Find out more about Ryan’s here: 13 Reasons Ryan’s Bar Has Stood The Test Of Time.
Places To Drink – Beer & Cocktails
5. Students Union
University Road – Website
Naturally one of the first places you will venture for a pint, Queen’s Students Union Bar offers amazing drinks promotions, as well as dozens of pool tables and wide-screen flat TVs – making it one of our favourite sports bars.
Look out for Shine events as well as gigs from worldwide artists who love to perform in the Student Union’s very own Mandella Hall.
149 Lisburn Road – Website
Newly revamped Cuckoo is perhaps most famed for its ping pong tables, amazing Jam Jar Cocktails and live music – as well as a pretty cool rooftop bar area.
We’re reliably informed that The Beetlejuice, The Dude and the Slushy Jamjars (Giggity Goo & Blue Steel) are the most popular jars. Prices are £4.95, or £3 with a Wristband Sunday – Thursday, so you may as well try them all to determine your favourite tipple for yourself!
7. The Botanic Inn
23-27 Malone Road – Website
With its cheap beer prices, huge flat-screens and proximity to Queen’s, The Bot has always been a firm favourite amongst students.
But the introduction of its newly opened state-of-the-art beer garden, is sure to make it even more popular!
The large-scale Boho Garden, nestled between the Botanic Inn and the Wellington Park Hotel, boasts its very own Burger bar, banquet style seating, attractive lighting and individually themed huts, each equipped with their own projector screen, games console and electronic charging ports.
Places To Drink – Coffee
8. The Pocket
69 University Road – Website
This delightful yellow-door cafe is a coffee-lover’s paradise.
Complete with Harry Potter quotes on the door, alongside pages from Alice in Wonderland which decorate the wall, The Pocket couldn’t be more central to the Queen’s Quarter if it tried – it’s situated directly across the road.
Meaning you can sip on your delicious hot drink and sample delicious food from the ever-changing, vibrant food menu whilst taking in the amazing view that sadly, busy Belfast folk can too often take for granted.
9. Kaffe O
73 Botanic Avenue – Website
Whilst there is another equally top-notch branch of this independent coffee chain on the bustling Ormeau Road, we love its Botanic Avenue location thanks to its proximity to Queen’s, the McClay library, and of course Botanic Gardens.
This health-conscious cafe serves up delicious gluten-free treats and healthy lunches, alongside refreshing iced drinks for those unusual sunny days in Belfast. Including their popular iced coffee with double espresso, milk (dairy, almond or soya), ice, dash of vanilla and blended ice.
They also serve iced long blacks and coffee tonics, which are a double espresso, poured on top of a large glass of ice and tonic water.
1o. Town Square
45 Botanic Avenue – Website
Situated right across the road from The Empire, Town Square came bursting onto the vibrant Cafe Culture scene at the end of November, and has already seriously established itself as one of the best spots in Belfast for authentically, expertly prepared coffee.
In fact, the guys at Town Square Project Manager Nathan Reid and Ben Hamilton took home First and Second Place in the Northern Ireland AeroPress Championships!
As well as hosting a weekly Coffee tasting every Tuesday, this seriously unique cafe also has a piano outside for anyone to come and have a go!
It also serves a great selection of food, from honest ‘Belfast food’ popular amongst students, as well as healthier options. The new bar is also opening on Friday!
Places To Go
11. Queen’s Film Theatre
20 University Square – Website
Since its inception in 1968, QFT has occupied a unique place in the cultural and entertainment life of Northern Ireland.
Based right beside the main Queen’s building and complete with its very own bar, the QFT offers a singularly unique environment to enjoy both local and classic films.
And the proof of its popularity is definitely in the figures, as this independent theatre welcomes 100,000 people through its doors every year!
12. Ulster Museum
Botanic Gardens – Website
Based in the beautiful surroundings of Botanic Gardens, the accessible state-of-the art Ulster Museum allows you to come face to face with dinosaurs, meet an Egyptian Mummy and see modern masterpieces – all for free.
13. Botanic Gardens
Botanic Gardens is a great place to chill out with your mates, particularly if you’ve just grabbed a coffee from nearby Kaffe O or lunch to take away from The Pocket.
It’s also literally a stone’s throw from McClay Library – the perfect haven when you need to get away from your computer around exam time!
14. Mandela Hall
77-79 University Road – Website
The five amazing bars and entertainment venues of Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union play host to hundreds of live music, club and other entertainment events each year.
Events are extremely varied and range from comedy to live music to wrestling and much more. On September 27 they’ll be hosting a conversation with Dean Strang and Jerry Buting, the lawyers from Making A Murderer.
15. Empire Music Hall
42 Botanic Avenue – Website
Make sure you take advantage of having one of Belfast’s greatest music & comedy venues right on your doorstep!
Game Of Thrones stars Maisie Williams (Arya) and Sophie Turner (Sansa) enjoyed the banter at The Empire Laughs Back Comedy Club – so you know you’re in good company.
Held weekly every Tuesday night, The Empire Laughs Back Comedy Club is hosted by BBC TV’s Blame Game regulars Jake O’Kane & Colin Murphy (with occasional guest hosts). The World Famous show features headline acts from the UK and international Comedy circuit, top supporting acts, and open spots from across the country.
Admission is £8 (or £7 for students), and you simply pay at the door! Doors open 8pm, and the show starts at 9pm – we recommend getting down there quickly to get your hands on the free popcorn – while stocks last.
16. No Alibis
83 Botanic Avenue – Belfast
No Alibis was one of our favourite haunts as an English student at Queen’s. The delightfully quirky independent bookstore (with a superb selection of crime fiction and American studies), even has a coffee and reading area. It also boasts most if not all, of your reading list – for anyone studying English Literature that still cherishes the feeling of buying their books in-store!
No Alibis also has excellent events, readings and book launches – Like their Facebook to stay up-to-date.
Be In The Know
Particularly handy if you’ve just frequented one of the many takeaways on the bustling row of shops on the Lisburn Road, there’s a convenient pre-darkness shortcut between Saphyre Restaurant (inside the beautifully restored church) and the Mace, which leads far quicker to the houses behind – so it saves you going all the way around the block!
18. Hidden gems in museum
Ulster Museum is also home to the Girona Coffee Bar, which boasts panoramic views overlooking Botanic Gardens and patisseries, scones and tray bakes are delivered fresh every morning from Yellow Door’s own Deli kitchen.