Owned by the people that run Against The Grain (check the article), The Black Sheep offers a similar concept – 23 craft beers and a hearty but healthy food menu. It seems more cosy and calm, though – and it’s better looking too. A welcome addition in this part of town, it definitely fills a key gap in the area’s watering-hole line-up. The end of Capel Street nearer the quays has places for partying and proper karaoke all-nighters; now this at the Bolton Street end offers something that for a while had been quite absent: somewhere more easy-going, but with a fairly cool, youthful crowd.
The snacks are great – the hummus and the pumpkin and chilli dip go well with a cool bottled Augustiner Helles or maybe a pint of Belfast Lager, and the desserts look mighty tempting.
The staff are friendly, helpful and expert at making recommendations – a relief for me personally, faced with my own ignorance, vast choices and hard-to-pronounce offerings.
There’s a bit of a cultured, European, Berlin-ish atmosphere to the venue – no blaring televisions or music turned two notches too high; and a decent selection of games such as Scrabble, chess and Jenga. All in all, perfect for a sociable Sunday night on the northside.