In order to provide future guests of The George Best Hotel with the best experience of Belfast city, we’ve looked into where you can enjoy the best live music Belfast has on offer. Gigs take place in some of the most popular bars and clubs as well as a few off the beaten track venues too.
If you are a music lover visiting the city or are on the lookout for a taste of traditional live Irish music, we’ve covered it all
See what new tunes, acts and artists you can discover on your visit to Belfast.
The Dirty Onion
Where: 3 Hill St, BT1 2LA
For an experience of live traditional Irish music make your way to The Dirty Onion where you can try your hand at the Bodhran, hear the sweet sounds of the Belfast Harp Club and take a seat in a music and conversation circle.
When the weekend arrives, traditional Irish music sets are interspliced with guest bands, acoustic sessions and seasoned regular performers like Matt Jones and Brendan McKenna.
Other regular events also take place at The Dirty Onion that are popular with visitors and residents of Belfast alike. So make sure you check out their calendar and pay a visit to The Dirty Onion on your next trip to Belfast.
Where: 130, University St, BT7 1HH
This is the place where real lovers of music can gather, there’s no pretension and anybody who enjoys watching live music in Belfast is welcome.
The interior has been dedicated to enhancing the sound of the music, the stripped back to brick walls and bare wooden floors make the music the focus, not the venue.
You can spend the night dancing away to all the different types of live music Belfast hosts including the best DJ’s, soothing acoustics and the smoothest soul and jazz at The Menagerie Belfast.
The Pavilion Belfast
Where: 296-298 Ormeau Rd, BT7 2GB
Regular hosts of the best free live music Belfast knows, The Pavilion has been firmly placed on the music scene since the late nineties.
The huge venue welcomes people of all ages and, in particular, those looking for an alternative type of live music experience.
Most of these brilliant Belfast gigs take place in the Back Bar & Beer Garden where guests can enjoy the sounds of open mic nights or well established local groups both in and outside the venue.
Where: 39, Gresham St, BT1 1EH
Not yet a firm favourite on the music scene but because of its amazing food and drinks menu, Biddy Farrelly’s is becoming a sought-after space for local musicians to share their talents with unsuspecting audiences.
Thanks to the large dining crowds, musicians have approached the venue about performing on the odd night.
So, there’s no telling who you might see at Biddy Farrelly’s but if you are lucky you might just get a live performance from a local artist whilst enjoying your lunch, brunch or breakfast.
Where: 29-31 Queen’s Square, BT1 3FG
Steeped in the archives of Belfast’s history McHugh’s Bar is well known among locals as a place to enjoy a pint and a little live music Belfast style.
Every Friday ‘For Folk Sake’ provides audiences a taste of traditional and modern Irish folk music from 10 pm onward and Saturday and Sunday’s Live sessions promise nothing but top quality local talent to entertain the masses.
McHugh’s also plays host to Irish musicians who are touring to promote their latest work, so if you’re in town make sure you pop into McHugh’s you might just be lucky enough to see an up and coming Irish music sensation.
The Harp Bar
Where: 35 Hill St, BT1 2LB
A well established Belfast music venue since the 1970s the revamped Harp Bar has a unique and chic interior which lends itself well to the high quality of local talent that performs here.
— Carl Frampton MBE (@RealCFrampton) April 3, 2016
The Victorian-inspired interior harkens back to the buildings days as a bonded warehouse and there’s plenty of associated artefacts and memorabilia to check out on your visit.
The whole week is jam-packed with regular nightly performances from local singers like Triona and acoustic artist Rory Conway. The weekend is filled with an eclectic line up of traditional Irish tunes, disco and folk music to name but a few.
Where: 1A Fountain St, BT1 5EA
No matter where your music preferences lie, Voodoo has all the live music Belfast needs under one roof.
The interior of this musical haven is inspired by the mystical origins of Voodoo magic and is , therefore, a dark low lit den of wonders. Local bands and artists flock to the stages every weekend with some musicians travelling for miles just to perform within Voodoo’s enchanting walls.
Open mic night Wednesdays and Thursday’s invite everyman and his dog to give entertaining ago and then Sundays are made for resting with chilled out tunes and discount drinks prices.
Voodoo is the number one place in Belfast to watch live music all week long.
Where: 17 Ormeau Ave, BT2 8HD
Known as the best local bar for delivering the greatest beers and live music Belfast has, Katy’s Bar gives local artists the chance to show their stuff and a selection of special DJ’s are organised to rock the Rock Garden terrace at the weekend.
You never know who or what you might see in Katy’s Bar but you can guarantee it’ll be worth the watch no matter what.
Where: 17, Lombard St, BT1 1RB
Based inside one of the few remaining traditional pubs in Belfast, The Monico Bars provide patrons with a safe and relaxing place to watch live music and enjoy a drink or two.
Live lounge sessions host well known regular artists, including Monico Bars resident bands Helter Skelter and Adam Grant performing their latest work and well-known covers of great chart-topping tunes.
This combined with a laid-back atmosphere and amazing drinks offers and Monico Bars will remain at the top of the list for the best places to watch live music in Belfast.
Empire Music Hall
Where: 42, Botanic Ave, BT7 1JQ
With a name like this you’d expect nothing less than the best live music Belfast has ever heard.
In a venue that spans across three ancient floors, inside what was once an old church, music lovers flock to the Empire Music Hall all week long. Visitors can enjoy everything from rap and hip-hop to vintage-inspired swing singers, reggae bands, Elvis tributes and the latest local, national and touring international talent.
No matter what The Empire’s calendar is always packed full of musical brilliance and the venue is nothing short of breath-taking.
The Black Box Belfast
Where: 18-22 Hill St, BT1 2LA
Belfast’s creative and cultural hub, Black Box will surprise and amaze you with the widest choice of live music Belfast has available.
Inside the chilled out Green Room visitors can tap along to acoustic sessions from some of the most outstanding musicians in the country as well as DJ sets from guest and resident selectors.
The venue itself promotes and encourages exploring the arts and creativity within the centre of Belfast as well as providing a fabulous space for live gigs and music workshops to take place.
Where: 14, Dominick St, BT35 8BN
No matter what day of the week it is during your visit to Belfast, you can guarantee there’ll be some form of live music playing at Monroe’s.
Located inside a distinctive historic building Monroe’s Tavern has been entertaining people in Belfast for over 50 years.
Organisers bring the best local, national and international talent through the doors including bands, solo singers and DJ sets from the best-known spinners on the scene.
So sit back, pint in hand and enjoy whatever musical wonders await in Monroe’s
Where: 65 Union St, BT1 2JG
Small but perfectly formed, the Sunflower Bar provides a constant stream of talented musicians that people come from far and wide to see.
In an intimate space, patrons can enjoy a selection of craft ales and a variety of fabulous live music from well-known and up and coming local artists.
One Saturday every month is specially dedicated to The Outlaw Country Music Movement, meaning guests can hoedown to a string of country hits and have a thigh-slapping good time in the Sunflower Bar.
The Dark Horse
Where: 30 Hill St, BT1 2LB
The Ingram Brothers are on the calendar as regulars at The Dark Horse and serve up a selection of classic rock and roll hits as well as modern greats from current chart toppers.
The venue itself is filled with pieces of Belfast’s bygone era, a wealth of furniture and knick-knacks from old hotels and grand homes has been gathered together to form an Aladdin’s cave of antiquities all mixed together with modern flair.
Where: Duncairn Ave, BT14 6BP
Providing local artists with a platform to showcase their talents, Duncairn is Belfast’s centre for the arts and hosts everything from poetry readings and harp concertos to live music from Belfast’s singer-songwriters and bands.
Inside the ancient stone building are high arched corridors and vaulted ceilings which lend themselves extremely well to the numerous concerts and live musical performances that take place here regularly.
Where: 1, Bankmore Sq, BT7 1DH
Inside the relatively new walls of the Foundry (when compared to some of the ancient venues we’ve already explored) guests will find a huge list of live music covering every genre known to man.
Check out covers of rock legends Kiss, Charity nights for Cats and other amazing acts from overseas and from home.
All this, as well as some of the best house and techno sets to have graced live music venues in Belfast and you have Foundry wrapped up as one of the best places to enjoy live music in Belfast.
The Duke of York
Where: 7-11 Commercial Ct, BT1 2NB
Proudly perched on the cobbled streets of Belfast’s Commercial Quarter, The Duke of York is a picture perfect place to grab a pint and listen to traditional music in the city centre.
Part of the bustling nightlife scene The Duke of York boasts an eclectic atmosphere that is complemented by the buildings unique and charming character and the one of a kind artwork that adorns the walls both inside and out.
A must see when visiting Belfast and a great place to check out some live traditional Irish music or some exciting new up and coming talent.
Where: 70-74 Ann St, BT1 4QG
For live music as breath-taking as the panoramic views, make your way to Babel on top of the Bullit Hotel.
The rooftop venue is an exquisite space that boasts an excellent bar and line-up, with music playing throughout Thursday-Sunday. The acts on show can include orchestras, solo performers and even a variety of local acoustic artists and DJ sets on later evenings.
No two nights are ever the same in Babel, so go once or every night of the week for a live music experience unlike any other.
Limelight 1 & 2
Where: 17 Ormeau Ave, BT2 8HD
Both amazing venues that each give something different to the variety of live music Belfast offers.
These clubs welcome the worlds biggest names to their stages with everyone from Two Door Cinema Club and Blur to the Manic Street Preachers and Primal Scream.
If its big acts you want then Limelight 1 or 2 will deliver.
Oh Yeah Music
Where: 15-21 Gordon St, BT1 2LG
A completely new concept of live music venue in Belfast, Oh Yeah opened its doors to encourage and nurture the growth of musical talent in Belfast.
Oh Yeah hosts rehearsal space for budding musicians to perfect their craft, studio facilities, calming spaces for songwriters to think and create and the perfect performance space for the occasional live Belfast gig.
Come along and listen to musical history being made in Belfast’s Oh Yeah Music.
Where: 13 John St, Londonderry BT48 6JY
Owned and operated by a man who lives and breathes music, Bennigan’s Bar is always packed to the rafters with fantastic musical talent and those who love watching it.
On Tuesdays visitors can enjoy Bennigan’s Introducing where three local acts are invited to play for 30 minutes, weekends are filled with more established bans and singers, accomplished jazz musicians and touring artists from overseas.
On Sunday the best jazz musicians in the world come together to inspire and entertain the crowds and each other. A welcoming space for any music lover, Bennigan’s should be at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to enjoying live music in Belfast.
Experience The Best Live Music Belfast Has To Offer
At Signature Living, we always strive to give our guests the best experience of the city they are staying in and of course, this will apply to the guests of The George Best Hotel.
Our work exploring the city’s heritage, culture and entertainment mean when our stunning George Best Hotel opens its door, our guests can enjoy everything they want to see and more using our helpful guides.
We can’t wait for our guests to explore the best live music Belfast offers and all the other wonderful things to do all over the city.
Stay up to date here to find out what else you can get up to in Belfast and for further news on the progress of our George Best Hotel.