Bullitt, Belfast: hotel review

Themed around the classic 1968 Steve McQueen film, this new city centre hotel dispenses with frills like minibar and even wardrobes to concentrate on style, comfort and very good (and good-value) food

Let it be said at the start: I am a fan of Beannchor, the company behind Bullitt and, it can seem, much of the rest of Belfast. In the decade since its (five-star) Merchant Hotel opened, scarcely a year has passed without another launch: bar, cafe, pizzeria chain. Think of those 1960s groups turning out an LP every 12 months, each one a departure from the one before, then think of Bullitt as Beannchor’s back-to-basics album.

Belfast these days is finding spaces in places it had forgotten it even had places: 40a Church Lane was, until recently, a pair of rusting blue gates beneath a solicitor’s office, though on a street not lacking in interesting cafes and bars. The archway now leads to Bullitt’s Courtyard Bar – its tables, chairs and arcades blurring the distinction between inside and out. Once definitively inside, a large open-plan bar – the Bullitt Bar – flows into the Taylor & Clay restaurant.

For all its San Francisco references, Bullitt wears its Belfast heart on its sleeve

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