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  • Writer's pictureSasha C

Our favourite cafes in Belfast

Updated: Oct 9, 2022

Belfast, Northern Ireland, is probably not the first destination you think of for coffee, and coffee is likely not the first thing that comes to mind about Northern Ireland’s capital. But, Belfast’s coffee culture has boomed over the last few years thanks to excellent independent shops and chains popping up all over the city. We’re not talking about Costa, Café Nero, or Starbucks (though there are plenty of those knocking about as well) – these are small cafes serving the community excellent coffee, buns, and breakfasts.

We’ve selected a few of our favourite Belfast coffee shops that we feel emphasises the best of Belfast’s coffee in terms of variety as well as high quality brews.

Established Coffee

Opened in 2014, Established Coffee might be the original that set off the artisanal coffee boom in Belfast. Tucked on the corner of Hill Street in the Cathedral Quarter, the glass-fronted coffee shop gives off a semi-industrial vibe with concrete floors, wood accents, and warm low hanging lights. But, most importantly, Established Coffee have the menu to back up the aesthetic – their commitment to excellent coffee and food is more than obvious.

Grounds Espresso Bar

Grounds Espresso Bar is a family owned and operated small chain of coffee shops. Originally founded in Coleraine, NI, there are now several locations across Northern Ireland and the Republic. Grounds are not just committed to good coffee – they are also committed to ethical, fair trade, and environmentally friendly coffee production and innovative brewing methods.

Kaffe O

Founded in 2017, Kaffe O is a Scandinavian styled coffee shop. Inspired by Copenhagen’s coffee culture, the shop is a lesson in stylish minimalism and the food focuses on homemade food with fresh and local ingredients. Beans are roasted by master roaster Ricco Sørensen and imported from Copenhagen.


The small, discreet café along the Stranmillis embankment is the sister of General Merchants. Alongside an Aussie inspired brunch menu and amazing pastries and tray bakes, 5A serves excellent coffee from Belfast-based speciality roasters Whitestar. Seats in the cosy space are always at a premium, so if it’s too busy, grab a flat white and peanut butter ball for a walk along the River Lagan or walk north toward Botanic Gardens.

Town Square

Independently owned by two brothers, Town Square is the true definition of a café bar. During the day, the café has a casual vibe, full of people enjoying delicious food and expertly brewed, award-winning coffee. The staff are incredibly friendly and knowledgeable – plus the food menu is equally as good as their coffee. It’s a great place to catch up with friends, read, or write.

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