The guys behind popular Belfast bar the Sunflower sent social media alight recently by announcing they were opening a new bar in Belfast.
The Sunflower has gained a loyal cult following throughout the years, thanks to its emphasis on Traditional Irish music, an authentic outside pizza oven (which produces seriously mouth-watering results) and its outstanding range of local beers and ciders. And of course their famous dog-friendly policy.
So it’s really not surprising that people were delighted to hear that Pedro Donald, owner of the award winning bar, is revamping and reopening a famous pub in Belfast.
Located in Dock Street – which is better known as ‘Sailortown’ – The American Bar boasts an amazing history.
Indeed it’s been so named since 1840 when a woman called Ellinor Charters ran the American Hotel at Princes Dock, a cul-de-sac which connects with Dock Street.
By the 1860’s, the premises were known as Samuel Savage’s American Hotel and within another 10 years the American Inn was established nearby on the corner of Dock Street and Short Street. And the bar has remained on the location ever since!
Excitingly, Richard McCallion, who is set to Manage the American Bar, told us that they hope to open by early October:
“We mainly just need to paint and renovate the bar which we will do throughout the month of September. The bar itself is absolutely structurally fine, so there’ll be no massive structural changes needed. So we’re hoping to open for the start of October.
“Similarly to the Sunflower, there will be a lot of emphasis on music. But of course, whilst the Sunflower is famous for its Trad sessions and live music throughout the week, The American Bar will concentrate more on American themed music such as Bluegrass.
“But this isn’t going to be a ‘stars and stripes’ themed American bar, we’re using the term ‘American’ loosely. So there’ll be lots of exciting influences from Argentina to Alaska.
“The American Bar has been in the making ever since the Sunflower was at risk of demolition almost a year ago when Pedro began to look at other bars.
“That’s when we found The American Bar. But we were definitely always going to keep the original name – even if the Sunflower had been demolished. As the Sunflower has changed its name about three times in its lifetime – but The American Bar has always retained its name and is a like a piece of Belfast history.
“But when we found out that the Sunflower was going to be saved, we decided that The American Bar was just too good an opportunity to miss!
“It’s also great in terms of location – we’re excited to be opening in such an up-and-coming area of Belfast’s city centre.”
Indeed, the new bar comes at a seriously exciting time for the Sailortown area.
Particularly with the recent announcement that the former Rotterdam Bar and Pat’s Bar, on Pilot Street and Princes Dock Street, is set to be transformed into a thriving 19-storey apartment complex.
Recently, the Belfast Telegraph also moved into new premises in the area.
The area is also seriously popular with tourists, as Richard explained: “Having been here a few days we’ve noticed a definite influx of tourists in the area. We’re hoping they’ll definitely come in and try The American Bar when we open.
“It’s in a great location – especially as we’re one of the first things you’ll see when you get off the Isle of Man ferry!”