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Punk pub gives name to bar on site of pioneering restaurant - The Irish News
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News

Punk pub gives name to bar on site of pioneering restaurant

Brendan Hughes

A NEW pub named after one of Belfast's best-loved punk-rock venues has opened on the site of a former award-winning restaurant.

The Harp Bar, on Hill Street, is named in homage to an old city pub popular among punks during the 1970s and early 1980s.

It has replaced Nick's Warehouse, which closed on July 6 this year after its owner Nick Price decided to retire.

The pioneering restaurant helped breathe new life into Belfast's Cathedral Quarter area when it first opened in 1989.

The venue was sold to Commercial Court Inns, which owns the Duke of York and Dark Horse, and has been transformed into a two-floor live music pub.

It features whiskey-branded memorabilia, inspired by the building's origins as a bonded warehouse and the headquarters of the old Bushmills Distillery.

A lamp which stood outside the Ulster Tavern - a Chichester Street pub bombed in the 1980s - is displayed in the venue.

It also features an old cash desk as an upstairs bar counter, which was rescued from St James's Gate Guinness brewery in Dublin.

Willie Jack, who owns the pub alongside Bruce Kirk, said the bar would be "a proper public house for the more mature drinker".

"It's a public house selling nuts and crisps, with live music, Belfast craic and draught beer," the 53-year-old from Belfast said.

The original Harp Bar operated further down Hill Street until it shut in the early 1990s.

It featured prominently in the acclaimed movie Good Vibrations, which told the story of Belfast punk guru Terri Hooley who helped Derry band The Undertones reach a wider audience.

Nick's Warehouse was originally built by the Bushmills whiskey company as a bonded store in 1832.

In the 1980s Sir Richard Needham, a Northern Ireland Office minister of the Thatcher era, identified Hill Street as the heart of his vision for Belfast's new Cathedral Quarter and was instrumental in convincing Mr Price to open along with businesses such as Todd Architects.

Mr Price was described by the Bridgestone Food Guide as the single most important cook in the history of the north.

? Transformed: The Harp Bar, formerly Nick's Warehouse, in Hill Street Belfast, which was bought over by Duke Of York owner Commercial Court Inns

Pictures: Aidan O'Reilly

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