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Northern Ireland’s leading hospitality group, Beannchor has completed a £500,000 investment of The Cloth Ear, creating 10 new jobs.

The owners of the popular bar, which is part of The Merchant Hotel in Belfast’s bustling Cathedral Quarter, have described the evolution of the venue as a ‘traditional Irish Victorian pub, reimagined.’ Following the significant refurbishment, the interior has been totally transformed. Featuring a bold blue colour scheme, salvaged floors laid in a herringbone pattern, an exquisite ornate ceiling and a reclaimed Victorian back bar and fireplace, the stylish space is warm and inviting.

Over the last month, The Cloth Ear has piqued people’s interest, revealing its ambition to ‘reintroduce the gentle art of conversation.’ Turning against the tide, the venue will feature a stripped back entertainment policy, encouraging patrons to reconnect, engage and converse with each other through a series of events and initiatives.

The first in a series of special ‘Digital Detox’ dinners on Thursday 9th May will encourage guests to give up their smartphone and dine unplugged, with a special menu designed around traditional, slower and forgotten techniques. The ingredients will do the talking, from a special homemade fermented brown bread, served with hand churned farmhouse butter, to outdoor bred pork and vegetables grown in a certified organic walled garden outside Belfast, with a ‘no dig policy’ that nurtures the soil.

Commenting on the Food ethos at The Cloth Ear, head chef Ian McAdam said: “Echoing the ‘back to basics’ approach of asking people to put away their phones, reconnect and talk to each other, we have created a menu that is based around good, wholesome food. Ingredients sourced from local Irish producers are the star of the show; this is about really good cooking, great flavours and fantastic ingredients.”

Serving food daily from 12pm, The Cloth Ear will serve up an all-day menu of traditional pub grub with a classic twist, alongside an Irish Gin serve menu; an expanded range of beers from across Ireland; a range of ‘Hoptails’; cocktails made using beer; and an ever-changing wine list, with selected wines by the keg. A special Dine with Wine deal offers a main course with a glass of wine (or beer) for £14.95 Monday to Thursday.

All diners visiting The Cloth Ear will be given the option to lock up their smartphones in ‘phone gaol’, with forfeits decided amongst guests for those unable to resist the temptation. Bespoke Cloth Ear conversation starter beer mats will also help patrons to break the ice, with questions and probes to help get the conversation started.

Commenting at the opening, Conall Wolsey, director, Beannchor said: “We are proud to unveil the new look Cloth Ear. Looking at society and how increasingly disconnected we are, we felt there was a gap in the market for a space that will genuinely encourage people to talk and connect with each other. Our customers have always enjoyed the more relaxed style of The Cloth Ear and this repositioning and evolution of the venue is focused on creating a warm, welcoming space that people can come and converse with each other.”

The Cloth Ear is open daily from 12pm. Food is served until 9pm Sunday to Thursday and 10pm on Friday and Saturday.

Join the conversation and follow The Cloth Ear on Instagram, @theclothear, Twitter, @theclothear and Facebook @clothear using the hashtag,#starttheconversation

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