Live Music Belfast: 9 Pubs for TRAD in 2022 (2022)

If you’re wondering what are the best live music pubs Belfast has to offer, you’ve landed in the right spot.

We’ve banged on about our favourite old-school pubs in Belfast a lot in the past, but not all of them hold live music sessions.

And if, like me, you don’t fancy spending an evening in one of the many nightclubs in Belfast, you can feel at a bit of a loose end.

BUT, worry not – there’s plenty of places to catch live music in Belfast tonight, you just need to know where to look!

Our favourite pubs with live music in Belfast

Now, a quick disclaimer: if you’re looking for pubs with live music in Belfast tonight, your best bet is to check their Facebook pages (links under each pub below).

The reason for this is that it’s usually on Facebook where you’ll find the most up-to-date events taking place. Right – lets dive on in!

1. Kelly’s Cellars

Live Music Belfast: 9 Pubs for TRAD in 2022 (1)

Albert Bridge/Kelly’s Cellars, Belfast/CC BY-SA 2.0

Opened in 1720, Kelly’s Cellars is one of the oldest traditional Irish pubs in the city and it’s a great place to catch traditional Irish music in Belfast.

You’ll find this old-school spot with a rich musical heritage and a vaulted ceiling in the heart of the city where Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are reserved for live trad sessions.

Expect to see musicians from all over Ireland and beyond performing at this mighty little pub. The Irish stew here is also the business, if you don’t fancy nipping into one of the many restaurants in Belfast.

2. Fibber Magee’s

Live Music Belfast: 9 Pubs for TRAD in 2022 (2)

Photos via Fibber Magee’s on Facebook

(Video) Dolan's pub (Limerick, Ireland) - Irish Traditional Music Session

If you’re looking for a traditional pubs that’s steeped in history, there are few spots for live music in Belfast like Fibber Magee’s.

This is a charming pub that’s popular with tourists and locals alike (make sure to check out the extensive collection of Titanic memorabilia when you visit!).

If you’re feeling peckish, Fibber Magee’s offers a hearty menu of burgers, Irish stews, pies, ploughman’s platters, and steaks.

3. The John Hewitt

Opened by the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre in 1999, this pub was named after John Hewitt, a famous socialist and poet from Ireland.

Besides pouring profits into worthy causes, the John Hewitt hosts live blues, folk and Irish traditional music sessions Monday through Saturday nights.

Whether you wish to attend an open mic night or listen to Ulster Scots Folk, a visit to this wonderful pub in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter promises to be a memorable experience.

4. McHugh’s Bar

Live Music Belfast: 9 Pubs for TRAD in 2022 (4)

Photo via Google Maps

With open fires and comfortable seating, McHugh’s Bar is one of the most beautiful traditional Irish pubs on this list.

There is a basement bar where you will find live music performances throughout the week and a 100-seater restaurant that offers traditional Irish cooking.

Located in the heart of Belfast on Queen’s Square, the pub is situated inside a grade A listed building that dates back to the 18th century.

(Video) Traditional Instrumental Irish Music Session | Live In Belfast | St Patricks Day 2022

There’s live trad sessions here on Saturday (14:30 to 17:30) and Sunday (16:00 to 19:00) along with live entertainment at the weekend.

Related read:Check out our guides to the best nightclubs in Belfast and the best cocktail bars in Belfast)

Other pubs in Belfast with live music

Now that we have our favourites out of the way, it’s time to have a nosey at some other spots for live music in Belfast tonight.

Again, make sure to check their Facebook pages in advance to see what’s on and when, as live music has only started to return to pubs.

1. The Dirty Onion

Live Music Belfast: 9 Pubs for TRAD in 2022 (5)

Photo via Discover NI

Situated inside a former spirit warehouse, the Dirty Onion is the oldest building in Belfast and dates back to 1780. This rustic pub with exposed wooden beams boasts one of the most extensive calendars of live Irish music in Belfast.

There’s trad sessions on Monday from 20:00 to 22:00, harp and trad sessions on Wednesday from 20:00 to 22:00, a live bluegrass session on Thursday from 21:00 to 00:00 and a full line up of music over the weekend.

If you visit the bar on a Tuesday evening and you will have an opportunity to learn how to play a traditional Irish instrument called the Bodhran.

2. The Sunflower

Live Music Belfast: 9 Pubs for TRAD in 2022 (6)

Photo via Google Maps

The Sunflower is a brilliant, no-fuss pub located a 5-minute spin from the Belfast Peace Wall, on the corner of Kent Street and Union Street.

This is one of a handful of places to catch live music in Belfast tonight that boasts tunes 7 nights a week.

(Video) Traditional Irish Music session @ The Deershead pub and brewery in Belfast

There’s a solid schedule running throughout the week with everything from a folk club to a open mic nights taking place.

3. The Duke of York

Live Music Belfast: 9 Pubs for TRAD in 2022 (7)

Photo via the Duke of York Pub Belfast

The Duke of York, similar to the Crown Liquor Saloon, is one of the better known pubs in Belfast City, and for good reason.

Step inside this cosy spot and you’ll discover a warm interior with mirrored bar with stacks of Irish whiskey bottles, old photos, and Guinness memorabilia on the walls.

It’s located in the Cathedral Quarter and you’ll find benches along the alleyway outside where you can kick-back with a pint or two.

Judging from their website (at the time of typing), live music hasn’t resumed, but check here to see what’s on and when.

4. The Five Points

One of the newest additions to the pub scene in Belfast, the Five Points is a lively spot that attracts tourists and locals alike.

With traditional Irish and folk music 7 nights a week and an extensive whiskey and ales list, this pub is a great place to visit on the weekends and listen to live music performances.

The Points host live folk bands from across Ireland along with a DJ on Fridays and Saturdays, banging out 20th century rock. The pub was inspired by the Five Points district in New York.

5. Black Box

Live Music Belfast: 9 Pubs for TRAD in 2022 (8)

Photo via Black Box on Facebook

(Video) St. Patrick's Day Celebration 2022 | 20 Irish Pub Folk Drinking Songs

Opened in 2006, the Black Box is not your average pub. This multi-purpose arts venue hosts a wide range of events including film, comedy, cabaret, literature, and live traditional folk music performances.

It is located in the heart of the vibrant Cathedral Quarter and sits inside a historical Grade II listed building that was originally constructed in 1850.

Whether you wish to catch a cabaret show, watch a theatre performance, listen to live music, Black Box is a great spot to catch some live music in Belfast.

Live music Belfast: Where have we missed?

I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant places to catch live music in Belfast tonight from the guide above.

If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!

FAQs about live music pubs in Belfast

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from which bars in Belfast do live music on Sundays to where to listen to trad.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

What are the best pubs for live music in Belfast tonight?

The Sunflower and The Five Points are two pubs with live music in Belfast seven nights a week, so both are worth a look.

Where can you see live Irish music in Belfast?

The Dirty Onion and Kelly’s Cellars are two great options if you’re after Irish music in Belfast.

Live Music Belfast: 9 Pubs for TRAD in 2022 (9)

Dejan Badnjarevic

A thirsty travel writer with a passion for weird street food, Aperol spritz, and tropical islands.

(Video) 60 Greatest Irish Pub Songs | Over 3 Hours Irish Drinking Songs


Does Belfast have a good music scene? ›

Named a UNESCO City of Music in 2021, Belfast has long been making its name as a place where music artists can grow and thrive. From your international faves selling packed-out shows, to the intimate pub gigs, or the next big thing, the city has it all.

Where can I listen to traditional Irish music in Ireland? ›

The Best Places in Dublin to find Irish Music
  • The Cobblestone Pub. ...
  • Piper's Corner. ...
  • O'Donoghues of Baggot Street. ...
  • Conradh na Gaeilge. ...
  • Walsh's Stoneybatter. ...
  • The Ferryman. ...
  • Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. ...
  • Willie Clancy Summer School – Miltown Malbay, Co.
11 Mar 2022

What is the oldest pub in Belfast? ›

Whites Tavern – Belfast's Oldest Pub

Established in 1630, Whites Tavern has a long history. It was actually granted the first ever tavern license in Belfast, back in 1630.

Does Belfast have a good nightlife? ›

Well, you are in luck as Belfast has a colourful and varied nightlife. The city is not only busy at weekends, but also during the weekdays.

What songs are played in the film Belfast? ›

Soundtracks (20)
  • Down to Joy. Performed by Van Morrison. ...
  • Star Trek Theme. Written by Alexander Courage. ...
  • Caledonia Swing. Performed by Van Morrison. ...
  • Cosmic Sequence. from One Million Years B.C. (1966) ...
  • The Pteranodon. from One Million Years B.C. (1966) ...
  • Bright Side of the Road. Performed by Van Morrison. ...
  • Real Love. ...
  • Warm Love.

What is belsonic Belfast? ›

Belsonic is the name of an outdoor music festival owned by Thomas Edwards which has taken place in August at the Custom House Square in Belfast, Northern Ireland since 2008.

Where is the best traditional music in Ireland? ›

The Top 5 Places to Experience Traditional Music in Ireland
  1. Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann.
  2. Ti Chairbre. ...
  3. De Barra Folk Club. ...
  4. An Spailpin Fanach. ...
  5. Ti Joe Watty's. Located in Kilronan on the largest of the Aran Islands (Inis Mor), Ti Joe Watty's stands as one of the island's oldest pubs. ...

What is traditional Irish music called? ›

Irish traditional music (also known as Irish trad, Irish folk music, and other variants) is a genre of folk music that developed in Ireland.

What is the music capital of Ireland? ›

Music is entrenched in Irish culture and there's no better place to experience it than County Clare, the traditional Irish music capital of Ireland with year round trad sessions. Traditional music remains alive and well, and once you've heard it, you'll understand why.

What is the nicest part of Belfast? ›

While there are plenty of small neighbourhoods around Belfast, we wanted to focus on what we think are the three best quarters of to stay in Belfast as a visitor — Central Belfast, Cathedral Quarter and Queens Quarter — as well as two more Quarters you should visit: Titanic Quarter, and the Gaeltacht Quarter.

What should I wear on a night out in Belfast? ›

It depends on where you go really, but you will be fine with Jeans and Shoes (smart casual) Definitely no trainers or sports tops, football tops or sports jackets.

Is Belfast a cheap night out? ›

The total average cost for a night out in Belfast is therefore totalled at £30.34 - although this would amount to a very frugal night out indeed. The analysis reveals that Dundee is the cheapest city in the UK to enjoy a night out, costing just £25.35 on average.

Is Belfast Catholic or Protestant? ›

As you can see, west Belfast is mainly Catholic, in most areas over 90%. For many years, the Catholic population expanded to the southwest, but in recent years it has started expanding around the Shankill and into north Belfast. The east of the city is predominantly Protestant, typically 90% or more.

What's the oldest bar in the world? ›

Sean's Bar, which dates back to the Middle Ages! Also listed in the Guinness Book of Records for the historicity of the building that houses it, Sean's Bar has been recognised as the oldest bar in the world. It is located in Athlon, a small town on the banks of the Shannon River, in the centre of Ireland.

What is Ireland's oldest pub? ›

Situated in the Heart of Ireland, halfway between Dublin and Galway, Sean's Bar is part of the life and soul of Athlone, Co. Westmeath. Sean's plays host to visitors from all around the world.

Is Belfast a musical movie? ›

Belfast is a 2021 British coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Kenneth Branagh. The film stars Caitríona Balfe, Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Ciarán Hinds, Colin Morgan and newcomer Jude Hill.

Does Van Morrison appear in the movie Belfast? ›

Kenneth Branagh's nostalgic film Belfast, starring Jamie Dornan and Caitriona Balfe, features a soundtrack full of Van Morrison.

What happens at the end of Belfast movie? ›

This is Belfast. The scene ends with Buddy walking away from the camera, passing by the various characters from the movie who then join him in a slow march with the sounds of Belfast playing in the background before the screen fades to black.


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