Don’t bother with franchises and grab your morning cup of coffee at one of Belfast’s coffee cafes or shops. With excellent baristas, modern interiors, and, most importantly, a good cup of coffee/java, you’ll start your day the right way. Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, is home to many coffee shops throughout the city, including the Cathedral Quarter and the bustling Botanic Avenue.
I visited Belfast many years ago and had the pleasure of experiencing firsthand the many different cafes and coffee shops it had to offer. There are also several local chain coffee shops, including Bob & Berts and Ground Espresso Bars – however, I am not featuring them in this list because they were pretty average at best.
Not only does Belfast have a great selection of coffee shops, I thoroughly enjoyed trying some of the best pizzas in Belfast that I have tried anywhere! I will never know how I didn’t come back home to the size of Manhattan!
The Best Cafes & Coffee Shops in Belfast
Let’s dive into the best cafes that Belfast offers, and you should explore these on your next visit, whether you are a local or a tourist in 2023!
The National Grande Cafe
Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, European, Coffee, Tea, Fast Food, Vegetarian, $$$
Formerly the National Bank headquarters and now a stunning listed building. It is now a beautiful listed building. National Grande Cafe sits between the City Centre and the Cathedral Quarter in one of the most accessible places for tourists in the whole city. If you do not pass by it during your journey, the cafe is accessible via Church Street from the main mall, Victoria Square.
A large portion of the original structure has been preserved to provide the building with an amazing interior. It is flanked by long wooden tables, at which the coffee is served on a slate of stone. The building’s four floors comprise the bar in the house and a nightclub, Sixty6 (the cafe is on the first floor).
You can try the Tiamo Blend blend coffee brewed by Bailies Roasters or try a flavor of Suki Tea. Suki Tea selection if you don’t consider yourself a coffee drinker.
Coffee Shop, European, Coffee, Tea, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
The Pocket is a small establishment close to the Queen’s campus, but it’s become one of Belfast’s top places to take a coffee break. In the back of the bright yellow entrance is a charming setting with exposed brick, comfortable seating, a great cup of coffee, and an extensive pastry and food menu. It has a stunning view from the Lanyon campus, once hailed as one of the most stunning campus buildings.
Importance of ethical trading is paramount to The Pocket’s staff. The Pocket; only carry 3FE coffee, one origin coffee, sourced directly from independent farmers. Donuts are an excellent companion to coffee and are available in various flavors, such as salted caramel and raspberry glaze, and new flavors appear each month.
Cafe, Irish, European, Coffee, Tea, Fast Food, $$$
If you’re at the famous Ulster Hall music venue, visit Ulster Hall’s Harlem Cafe next door, located on Bedford Street between South and Central Belfast. It’s difficult to define this café since it’s everything from an upscale wine bar to a bistro. The decor is reminiscent of an early Victorian family home, starting with the pillared structures to the candelabras scattered across the tables for coffee. Cream teas (scones and tea) are popular, as are pastries and milkshakes.
Harlem Cafe now has an alcohol license, upgrade to Irish espresso or Calypso espresso, or Harlem Classico. Harlem Classico: rich hot coffee with one shot of Amaretto served with cream.
Bar, Cafe, Contemporary, Coffee, Tea, Dessert, Fast Food, Vegetarian, European, Irish, $$$
Botanic Avenue is filled with many more bars, cafes, and eateries than you could have ever imagined. So why should you select Town Square? First, it’s a restaurant, bar, and cafe in two separate venues. The second reason is that the coffee is very special. Baristas at Town Square Cafe Town Square Cafe are number one and number two in Northern Ireland, winning the prestigious Northern Irish Aeropress Championships in 2017 for their Aeropress filter coffee.
Their blend of coffee, Roasted Brown, is sourced locally in County Wicklow and is utilized in the 12 drinks offered on the menu. If you want something different, I highly recommend trying their Chemex filter coffee, which serves two people and comes in glass jars that keep the temperature at the ideal beverage level.
Coffee Shop, European, Coffee, Tea, Fast Food, Vegetarian, $$$
Kaffe O offers a touch of Scandinavian style in Northern Ireland and excellent coffee. The Nordic-inspired coffee house has branches along Botanic Avenue and Ormeau Road.
It was opened in 2014 after an attorney from Copenhagen changed course and launched an espresso chain. Kaffe O is an amalgamation of Kaffe, which means coffee in Danish, and O for the founder, Orla. Their sought-after blend is the key to Kaffe O’s fame, which originates directly from Ricco’s Kaffe bars in Copenhagen.
There are some fantastic flavors, such as Flat White and Ecuador 70 hot chocolate, which is 70. Each ceramic is made in Denmark and is available for purchase which could be attractive as they come in stunning colors and marbled patterns. Visitors to Kaffe O will soon crave the flavor of this exquisite Danish espresso.
Cafe, Coffee Shop, American, British, Vegetarian, Coffee, Tea, $$$
Established has been the dominant cafe scene in Belfast since its opening in December 2013.
Their 3FE blend is sourced from the nearby city of Dublin The coffee shop is often stocked with guests’ blenders from all over the globe. Established Coffee has also designed an exclusive guide to coffee in Belfast in the form of a Google Map, which includes the favorite spots of the staff. The menu included is among the top available in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter district, including an orange-based raspberry frangipane, a raspberry pastry, and sweet apple pie. an apple and salted caramel pie. The cafe also holds regular tea and coffee tastings.
Cafe, Restaurant, European, Coffee, Tea, Fast Food, Vegetarian, $$$
The YAHI coffee shop has won awards for its baristas from the AeroPress Championships in Ireland and is situated at the Europa Bus Station on the Great Northern Mall. The cafe is passionate about local products and has a strong relationship with over thirty local businesses, offering all kinds of local baked goods to fresh meat on their menu in a deli.
The bus station is a plain center, YAHI provides a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city in a wide and spacious establishment. The tray bakes, as well as tarts, is popular in this place which is why you should take advantage of regional ingredients as well as flavors.
Coffee Shop, European, Coffee, Tea, Fast Food
A true artist’s dream, Café 31 is a tiny café inside a charming art gallery in the Cathedral Quarter. Musicians and pianists of the highest caliber fill the space frequently and make Cafe 31 one of the best alternative music places in London.
The Fenderesky Gallery, operational since 1983, is located upstairs and is a specialist in abstract and modernist art. Coffee and cakes in the gallery are more than an afternoon coffee stop: you can visit the gallery of art, peruse the collection of books, and, if fortunate, entertainment will be offered.
Coffee Shop, European, Coffee, Tea, Fast Food, Vegetarian
Espresso Elements is a hot place to enjoy South Belfast coffee and a perfect place to gather colleagues or friends. The staff can make a beautiful cappuccino, piccolo, or latte (which is akin to baby coffee). The décor is simple and wooden and is a favorite hangout among Professionals and college students.
You can also bring bags of your own coffee to go and can buy, as well as a variety of green teas in gift sets for home brewing. There’s usually a selection of blends that range from Colombian to Brazilian roasts, as well as coffee blends like the Espresso Elements blend that provide their coffee with a distinctive flavor.
Cafe Le Petit Ormeau
Cafe, Restaurant, European, British, $$$
Café Le Petit Ormeau takes the coffee shop to a new level and could be described as a cafe-restaurant hybrid. The menu for dinner is vibrant and popular with locals however, the restaurant is under the radar during the early time of the day, from breakfast through brunch.
In contrast to other casual eateries’ breakfast options, the breakfast menu comprises more than cakes and pastries, offering the full range of continental breakfast choices: Eggs Royale, a breakfast buttermilk bread, and Irish crab sandwiches are offered. The breakfast bar offers the most stunning panoramic view over Ormeau Road, and there’s a close-by park with an amazing perspective of Samson & Goliath in the distance. It’s a stylish way to begin the day.
Heya, I’m Norah! The foodie editor here at YummyTasteFood! I love absolutely everything to do with food, baking, and eating! I earned my stripes in the hospitality industry as a pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. I’m now a freelance writing nomad. I do not miss the hospitality industry! Be sure to join our Facebook group – it’s free to access!