In a dark, dark country, there was a dark, dark town;
And in the dark, dark town there was a dark, dark street;
And in the dark, dark street there was a dark, dark pub;
And in the dark, dark pub there was a dark, dark Doorway ;
And in the dark, dark doorway there was a dark, dark bar;

3 Hill St,

What’s the darkest place you’ve ever been? A coal mine? The mind of a goth? None are as dark as The Dirty Onion

The Dirty Onion- not to be mistaken for the sexual act- is a popular bar in the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast. Reportedly in the oldest building in Belfast (well, one of the many who claim to be)

You enter the bar through a covered court yard which is quite nicely done out, through a doorway into the dark. Nothing is as dark as The Dirty Onion, it’s dark wood, with a dark interior and a cacophony of diddly dee music coming from somewhere The experience in The Dirty Onion is best described as Stevie Wonder at Riverdance. The bar- as far as I can tell with my limited talent for echolocation- is deceptively large and had a good range of beers on.

I opted for a Franciscan Well and a packet of Tayto. To my horror they served Freestayto rather than Tandragee Tayto.

A quick look behind the bar reveals that they seem to offer a comprehensive list of whiskey, canned and bottle beer s- though the majority seem a little unimaginative.

If – you exit the building squinting through the comparative radiance of overcast Belfast sky – you will enter a decent sized and comfy outside area. Importantly, for Belfast’s notorious inclement weather, it is covered and heated. It is also serviced by an outdoor bar, so you don’t need to fumble around in the dark inside and another unexpected bonus is you can’t hear the music meaning you can have a chat while enjoying your pint.

The crowd (what I could make out from the gloom) seemed like a healthy mix of tourists, locals and out of towners. The atmosphere seemed welcoming, friendly and it was pretty busy for a particularly grim day at the end of October.

One of the better bars in Cathedral quarter, but tries a little too hard to be Orish.


  • Nice outdoor area
  • Decent selection of Drinks


  • you need to bring your own night vision goggles
  • singer with a Guitar