Renamed: The Lewis
Closed : Destroyed by Fire in 2019
933 Upper Newtownards Rd,
BT16 1RQ

Named after the moat that is situated close beside it, the Old Moat Inn is as much a local landmark as the geographical feature that inspired its title. Ask any of the hordes of civil servants, bank staff, teachers, hospital staff, and other business or professional people who frequent it, and they’ll tell you that it is the heart of Dundonald.

There has been a pub here since who knows when, and who knows when is a long time ago if the old black and white photos in the lounge are anything to judge by. One shows the inn with the name Tom McConnell above it, and it was after this owner that Tom’s Cabin Lounge took its name.

It’s a very attractive lounge, split-level, with windows half-curtained on brass rails, seven large open snugs, and a number of These include the ingenious, and novel, use of semaphore signals to spell out the word ‘welcome’, ship’s cabin doors with brass portholes, and three-dimensional pictures of such craft as a Clyde Puffer and a Galway Hooker. One entire wall of the lounge is in the form of a patterned mirror, which emphasises the bright, clean, airy atmosphere of the room.

The lunches in Tom’s Cabin are the main reason for its popularity, but the evening meals come a close second. The public bar, still known locally as McConnell’s Bar, started life as a spirit grocer’s, way back when Dundonald was nothing more than a cluster of houses halfway between It’s very close Newtownards and Belfast. to the Ulster Hospital and is distinguished by lovely flowering window boxes and gleaming brass lights. Inside, the marble-topped counter, spotless black and white tiled floor, brass footrails, mirror pillars, arched panel mirrors in the counter face, and green upholstery, combine to create an effect of cool cleanliness underneath a low ceiling.

The Old Moat Inn is deservedly one of the best-known houses in East Belfast and North Down.