We’re far too excited about two new Wetherspoon bars set for amazing locations in Belfast.

They include the landmark listed building, former Methodist church on University Road and another in Royal Avenue.

Wetherspoon’s is understood to have paid £1.2m in 2014 for the distinctive red sandstone building in Queen’s Quarter, which boasts interconnecting church halls and a dramatic tower.

The former place of worship, thought to have been deconsecrated in 2010, still boasts many of its original architectural features; including a high vaulted timber ceiling as well as decorative plaster cornicing and architrave.

Saphyre

When the transformation project is complete, it will be the second church in recent years to have been transformed into licensed premises. It comes as Ulsterville Presbyterian Church, a Grade B listed building on the bustling Lisburn Road, was converted into upmarket restaurant Saphyre in 2014 in a £2.2m investment by Kris Turnbull Studios, a Belfast-based architectural and design consultancy.

The company is apparently particularly keen to get planning permission and listed building consent in order to begin work, aiming to get both pubs opened as soon as possible, in order to benefit from the influx of students expected to descend on the city centre later this year. It comes as Ulster University moves much of its Jordanstown campus to its new York Street base in the heart of Belfast city centre.

JD Wetherspoon

JD Wetherspoon has now received planning permission for its other proposed new pub at the former JJB Sports on Royal Avenue – its 10th pub in the province.

Both businesses are expected to create 100 new jobs for Belfast between them. Let’s hope they’re here soon!

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