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16 October 2014
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Kitchen Bar - Time Please

Is it too late for one of Belfast's finest bars? These are your thoughts...

The doomed Kitchen Bar

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Christopher Peake - Nov '06

Hiya to everyone who reads the excellent "Your Place and Mine" boards. You'll be glad to hear that the proprietor of the Kitchen Bar and his staff are intent on making history all over again. You can knock down bricks and mortar but it's mighty hard to knock a good man down.

Marianne Reid, the manageress, and all the staff at Pat Catney's new premises would be delighted to meet both new customers and others who visited the original bar to experience the Kitchen Bar's warmth.

The Kitchen is ideal for intimate gatherings. The Blue Note Jazz Quartet (featuring Linley Hamilton and Linley Scott) on a Monday night (9.30pm to 12.00pm .. Free admission) is something of a phenomenon - i.e. it has quite a few people in the centre of town on a Monday night! The ambiance and craic is good and the bar is never overly 'packed'.

There's another Jazz session on Thursday Evening 5.30pm - 7.30pm when you can hear The Jazz Messengers playing featuring Linley Hamilton and Mark McKnight. Again admission free.

Tel no 02890-324901 36-40 Victoria Square for further details. There is very limited parking as the bar is still basically amidst a building site. However, there is on-street parking after 6pm on Upper Church Lane - Marianne told me she has never heard of anyone being booked by police or wardens after this time...

Check the bar's website


Patti - Mar 06
A girl I was waitressing with in Vancouver, Canada (Deborah Catney) is looking for her uncle John Catney in Belfast. Apparently, he has his hand in a few pubs around the city and she would love to get a phone or e-mail contact for him. She has been in Vancouver for 10 years and grew up near Belfast (Co. Antrim?, Down?). She wants to come over from Canada to our wedding in Donegal Town next summer and would appreciate a bit of travel expense assistance by working at a pub in Belfast for a couple months. She's GREAT to work with and I had the pleasure of being her co-worker before. I'm Donegal Town and can be reached by phone at 086-860-2326 or 353-74-97-21784. I'd appreciate any info that would reunite these 2 souls.

Cheers! PAtti

Wynn Wright - May '05
An act of holiganism by people who only care about money. I spent many a happy hour in the Kitchen Bar on my many visits to Belfast. I was devastated when I saw the photos.

Gavin McAllister - August 2004
It's very sad to see one of the oldest and finest bars in Belfast demolished. They should have tried to preserve it somehow. Demolishing the building shouldn't have been allowed to happen. Hopefully this won't happen to any other historical building in our city.

Kevin J Taylor - August 2004
All i can say is what a crying shame. Out with the old in with the bland concrete effigies that look so out off place and are not made to be anything but money catchers .

W. Davey - August 2004
Shame! Shame! Shame!

Stanley Sloan - August 2004
It's a shame when the big shots put money before history. One thing about Aberdeen, Scotland they can put what ever in the vacant buildings but they will not deface or demolish any of those great granite historic buildings at all. You can bet if anything historic is in the way of a multimillion pound project it will go down. True saying, he rich get greedier.

Jim Turkington -  August 2004
Enjoyed a last pint and kbs in May whilst working in the city centre, will miss the character…and the rest!!!!
Another part of our heritage written off - could the planners maybe have thought this one out better??
Remember the 1960's architects and planners, and what they done for Belfast!!!

Mark Redmond - August 2004
Tragic and short sighted. Belfast has lost enough heritage during the vandalism of the troubles without deliberately inflicting this vandalism on itself. Shame on the authorities for allowing this.

James McGowan - August 2004
I'm just very glad I got to visit it before it went! Why do planners do this, destroy perfectly good buildings and replace them with cardboard boxes? Didn't they learn anything from the concrete chaos of the 60s? While I hope the Kitchen can resurface in new premises, something is always lost.

Tony Forster - August 2004
Whenever I visited Belfast on business I made for the Kitchen Bar. I have stayed in the rooms above the pub on several occasions, once with my wife. Alec greeted me with cheerful recognition: I always ended up in conversation - usually after was the friendliest spot in the city and the highlight of my visit. I joined the campaign to save it, writing to the local authority.
I can't believe it's gone....

Ernie Swain - August 2004
It's disgusting. This was one of Belfast's finest bars.

John Devlin - August 2004
Once again the avarice of developers and the complete ignorance of politicians have conspired to the destruction of what I consider was one of Belfast's finest watering holes.
More shopping malls and flats when the city has enough of them anyway, it makes one vomit.

- August 2004
Sad to hear and see it is gone. Pat and the Kitchen were very welcoming to a group of Nova Scotians - may it rise again.

A N Other - August 2004
The destruction of the Kitchen Bar is a travesty. That widespread desire to retain the pub was ignored shows the utter lack of respect and concern the powers that be have for the people. We don't need more shops but we do need to retain something of the character of Belfast. The people concerned should be very ashamed of themselves and they should lose their jobs very, very, soon.

Margaret and Kay - August 2004
They should try to maintain the ambience of the old bar when they build the new one.

Connor Mulholland - August 2004
Once again commercial greed & exploitation has been allowed to destroy part of our heritage despite the opposition of the public.Our Planning department clearly is in need of a new set of values & probably also leadership, both organisational & political,but we as the voters need to make it clear that not everything should be driven by the profit motive. There surely must have been a way of developing without wholesale destruction,but obviously that was too much trouble & challenge for the developers.

Jim Boyd - August 2004
Have been to Belfast twice in thirty years and the last time I was there was 5 years ago. I spent a lot of time going round the areas of Belfast and believe me, I thought that the place was in a mess. Who ever planned the streets & the houses wants to go back to school and give the people of the north a go.

Harold McCartney - August 2004
I wonder why they did it in the wee small hours of the morning? No coincidence I'm sure. Were they too ashamed to share daylight with the rest of us? Did they think no-one might notice if they hid in the shadows?

Flatcap - August 2004
What a total and utter disgrace. One would hope that everyone involved might sooner or later feel thoroughly ashamed to have played a part in the thoughtless destruction of an important part of our built heritage. Just makes you realise that money talks all languages and if they really wanted to, they could knock down the City Hall - if the price was right that is.

Shame on all of you!

Philip Hernberg, Chairman, CAMRA NI - 29 July 2004
The demolition of this rare gem of a pub is a national disgrace. The developers claim that they listen to local opinion but the decision to demolish the "KB" makes a mockery of this claim. We have come through over 30 years of destruction by subversive elements within our society yet our Government has given a green light for further state-sanctioned removal of our Victorian heritage.
Shame on them.

John Baird - 27 July 2004
Considering the number of buildings of historical importance we have already lost in Belfast, it seems incredible that another is gone. Surely, as others have said, it could have been integrated into the new project.

Sherry Ayala - USA - 27 July 2004
I am sad to see a part of your history being torn down. I hope that the owners can take some of the furnishings and relocate.

David Taggart - 26 July 2004
This reminds me of the time when Great Victoria Street railway station was demolished, a complete waste of an excellent terminus for visitors to Belfast, now replaced by a station with platforms so short that the enterprise service can't use it. Why do we need another shopping centre? Most of the shops will be duplicates of shops in exsisting centres, with one or two new ones. Visitors to Belfast and Dublin come to see the various attractions this includes the pubs. Perhaps the ministers' next suggestion will be to concrete over Belvoir Forest Park to create a massive "Park and Ride" to help reduce congestion on the Ormeau Road. What a shame.

B. E. Rainey - 26th July
Anywhere else, city planners would have at least incorporated such a historical landmark in the new complex. Instead, as in many North American cities, there will be soulless modernity which will end up not creating a vibrant centre, but driving people away. Listen to what people say about "downtown" elsewhere. What a lack of foresight both for Belfast people and for the need to promote the tourist industry!

K. Davidson - 20th July
Several of the main statutory agencies and arts/heritage providers in Belfast (and more broadly throughout NI) are currently attempting to work together to produce an integrated approach towards economic and cultural regeneration via flagship projects. The 'one voice' ethos is, in theory, admirable since there has been far too much divisive 'me too' politics during recent times. However there appears to be a very real problem, in that those charged with the responsibility of regenerating Northern Ireland and representing us to ourselves and others are listening first and foremost to marketing managers. It would appear that the main aim is that of 'rebranding' (flogging) from a position of insecurity. No doubt Victoria Square etc will look pleasing on the eye; certainly Belfast has been in dire need of a concerted push towards modernisation to bring it into line with other post-industrial cities. But there appears to be a real oversight in terms of thinking about how people actually use the city, its spaces and facilities. I don't understand this (parochial) desire to refuse to allow any of Belfast's specific & differentiated sites to remain (unless, of course, they are perceived by the marketing people as of interest to external tourists). They really need to begin to address issues that would mean considering the actual lived experience of local people/cultures, instead of bowing at the alter of a shiny corporate image of Belfast. Ill-considered development, with accompanying expanded CHOICE of celeb-bars, restaurants etc, does not equate with greater DIVERSITY. Will it necessarily make for a hugely vibrant culture?

dcarey - 16th July 04
A sad day

George Smith - 14th July 04
I think it's terrible that they're demolishing the Kitchen Bar - I always take my English friends there for Paddy pizzas and nothing they put up there will improve that area - why do planners continue to ignore our heritage?

P Andrews - 9 July 04
Why can't this little historical jewel be taken down piece by piece and resurrected in the Ulster Folk Museum or somewhere of that nature?

Casual Observer - 8 July 04
Would this have been allowed to happen in London? don't think so.

R. Johnston - 6 July 2004
How very typical. Once again Belfast loses a piece of its history. There cannot be many more places of historic interest to be destroyed in the so called interests of development. A misnomer if ever there was one.

T W Ferres - 3 July 2004
The planning authorities' decision to permit demolition of a building like the Kitchen Bar is ill-judged and deplorable. We should be doing everything we can to retain historic buildings, not wrecking them. It is effectively an act of vandalism.

Colin Meban - 3 July 2004
It's great to hear that Belfast is at long last getting a substantial investment sum to bring it up to modern day standards. However I would like to know why we have to totally destroy the history and heritage of something as important as a genuine local Irish bar, not an MDF mock up owned by some anonymous chain. Why could it not have been incorporated into the plans for redevelopment??? I'm sure it's not beyond the wit of today's architects to think of a scheme or is it sheer laziness on behalf of developers again.

Stan Jordan - 3 July 2004
The Kitchen Bar is one of the most missed memories I suffer in my self-imposed exile from Belfast. NIO Minister, John Spellar should try to find ANYWHERE in the world the atmosphere of this particular pub. I have lived in Victoria, British Columbia for over 50 years and although I still travel widely I have discovered there is no substitute for the 'Kitchen' - not in Europe, Hong Kong, Mexico & certainly not in North America. I say 'Shame on you, Mr. Spellar' - come down from your ivory tower - you are allowing the destruction of a piece of Irish Folklore. Why don't you incorporate the pub into the new development - build your modern facilities around the present structure.

Davy Wilson - 29 June 2004
I no longer live in belfast, I live in perth western australia. When I did live there, I loved nothing better than to walk round the town, my town, visiting bars like , mooneys (gone) whites, morning star, kitchen & the criterion. I loved them all. What I liked about them most was the fact that you met people from the other persuasion, have an intelligent conversation & move on. The troubles killed mooneys, can you ever forget the sandwiches they served. Don't let the developers & the politicians have their way, keep a bit of old belfast alive, please. I am saving up for a visit soon & I want to be able to recognise the place.
never say die.

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