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The Empire Laughs Back
Empire Bar (Belfast)
Member Name: The Duke
Empire Bar (Belfast)
Date: 19/08/00, updated on 25/01/05 (298 review reads)
Advantages: Generally good comedians, very funny MC
Disadvantages: have to get there early, having to get up for work the next day
As far as I'm aware, this is the only comedy club in Belfast (although I can't be 100% sure of that).
It's held on a Tuesday night in The Empire bar on Botanic Avenue, although it doesn't run all year round, it does have "seasons". They don't advertise the comedians that they have, it's a turn up and see affair, although anytime that I've been there, it's always packed.
The comedians are a hit and miss affair - generally they are excellent, although I have seen a few just die onstage. On rare occasions the comedian will be someone fairly famous that you'll probably have seen on the telly at some point, but you won't know until you turn up!
The last time I was there, the entrance was £4, and sneaking in before they set up the till at the door doesn't work either! They'll hunt you down and take your 4 quid as you sit at your table!
If you want a seat, my advice is to get down early (before 8pm) because by the time the MC appears at about 9:30 it's standing room only.
If you haven't been before, I suggest you find out when the next night is, and get yourself down sharpish, it's a really good night out. If you haven't been to a comedy night before, one word of warning though, if you dislike foul and abusive language, then you're in for a shock! The air is blue!
The Empire also serves food. Generally, this is served from opening (i.e. 11:30am to around 8pm) and is quite good. I heartily recommend the Empire Feast which is a huge platter of ribs, chicken wings, battered mushrooms, potato wedges and 2 dips and is yummy! It's about £6, and well worth it.
The atmosphere in the bar is generally very good, and as well as the comedy club mentioned above, a lot of live acts also play. The set list of bands changes monthly, but in each month, the same band will play on the same night i.e. one band will play each Saturday in the mon
If my memory serves correctly, it's one of the few bars not to have had a facelift in recent years – nearly every other mainstream bar has had at least 1 facelift in the last 10 years, but the Empire still maintains it's quiet, dark, but friendly atmosphere. A great pub.