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  • Writer's pictureGerry Monaghan

Official opening of Belfast City Hall's new exhibition space and new look 'The Bobbin' Cafe

The official reopening of The Bobbin social enterprise café coincides with a brand new tourist attraction being unveiled at Belfast City Hall on Monday 15th May.

The City Hall’s east wing on the ground floor – where The Bobbin is located -  has been completely renovated to facilitate an extensive new exhibition area.

‘Belfast City Hall: a journey from past to present’ offers a journey from the city’s past to present, showing the vibrancy and diversity of Belfast City Hall across six themed zones and 16 separate rooms.

• The City, Growth and Governance, • The City at Work and Play, • City Speech and City Streets, • The City Commemorates, • The Reflection Space, and • The City Celebrates.

The exhibition is presented within the original architecture of City Hall as designed by Alfred Brumwell Thomas in the late 1890s. It has its own dedicated reception area and entrance is free to members of the public. There is a charge for commercial groups and a £3.50 hire charge for headphones if you wish to listen to an audio tour. A commemorative booklet is also available for just £1.

A free guided tour of Belfast City Hall is also available for those wishing to further explore the building. Led by an experienced guide, the tours last around an hour and covers the history of the building and its finest features, including the Council Chamber. 

After the exhibition and/or tour, there is the opportunity to relax over refreshments, coffee and cake or a spot of lunch at The Bobbin. The café had temporarily closed while the renovations were taking place and was greatly missed. It reopened last month with a new look, new menu and even more space and customers have been taking to social media ever since to share their photos and good wishes.

The Bobbin is run by Belfast-based Loaf Catering and Cafes, a social enterprise supporting people with learning disabilities and autism get training and jobs in the catering industry. In addition to The Bobbin, it comprises of an outside catering branch ‘Loaf Catering’ and Loaf Café & Bakery which can be found on the city’s busy Grosvenor Road, directly opposite the Royal Victoria Hospital.

All of The Bobbin’s profits go to its parent organisation NOW Group, a social enterprise supporting people with learning difficulties and autism into jobs with a future. The Bobbin provides 15 training and work experience places each week for people with a learning disability.  

The café’s new menu has been very popular with customers since its launch. There’s lots of new dishes to sample including Irish wheaten bread with hot smoked salmon and scrambled eggs or a breakfast floured bap with sausage, smoked bacon & black pudding for breakfast.  Lunch options include Loaf’s famous traditional pork sausage roll (voted best in Belfast) with homemade secret recipe relish; Irish beef stew served with homemade wheaten bread; or seasonal soup of the day served with a selection of fresh artisan breads.

The Bobbin also has a new space – a separate room for group bookings. If you would like more information or to make an enquiry relating to the group booking space, please call Piia Laurtis, Café Manager, on 028 9050 2068 or email:

From Monday 15th May, The Bobbin’s opening hours will be as follows: Monday – Wednesday: 9am – 5pm Thursday: 9am – 7.30pm Friday: 9am – 5pm Saturday & Sunday: 10am-5pm

*The Belfast City Hall exhibition area opens to the public on Tuesday, 16 May. For more information on exhibition space and tours, call 9027 0456 or log onto to

NOW Group is a social enterprise supporting people with learning difficulties and autism into jobs with a future across Northern Ireland.

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