The first time that I was in The Jailhouse I wanted to leave, but that was due to 10 kilos of Peruvian Cut that I had tried to smuggle into the country in Quaker Oats boxes and the authorities weren't having any of that.
Joke swing and a miss.
I did want to leave the first time I was in The Jailhouse though, that much was true, but that was due to it being the official opening night and I had made a poor choice in clothing and no amount of Dove Clean Comfort antiperspirant was going to save me.
In subsequent visits I have been wiser though, and if me using the plural form of 'visit' didn't give it away: I really like The Jailhouse.
It's a very cool bar.
The brickwork and old timbers aesthetic is very cool in a 'dirty but not' kind of way, the staff are really on the ball and everything is kept clean and as well served as can be in a busy bar on a Saturday night.
Of course it isn't the bar aspect that I want to talk about, although it must be said that they do have a great selection of beers on tap, mostly a selection from the (semi-craft?) Franciscan Well, and they have a very respectable selection of spirits.
But no, I want to talk about the dining.
I dropped in with a friend to give it a try as whilst we were quite familiar with Henry's Bar when it was called McCracken's we had yet to sample the food in The Jailhouse.
To start I had a potted duck with cucumber salad and my friend had a pint of prawns, the general consensus was that the starters were delicious. I would have thought maybe a hoi sin drizzle or something over the salad but that's not a complaint, the flavour mix throughout was great (and I'll be the first to admit hoi sin could have overpowered that). I liked the wee jam pot of duck, which was very tasty indeed.
For main I went for a simple steak sandwich, which was excellently cooked and I'm glad I went for it, although it was a tough call because I had passed someone eating a bowl of mussels on my way in and they looked amazing. My friend went for a Sunday Roast, which surprised me because usually he's all about his seafood, but given the way he attacked the plate I think it's fairly safe to say that he enjoyed it.
The staff were friendly and very attentive throughout, the prices were reasonable, and the food was great.
I'll definitely be back.
Disclosure: I had to nick the pictures from OpenTable as I forgot to take any when I was in.
4 Joys Entry, Belfast BT1 4DR
Mon-Fri 8am - 1am (2am Fri), Sat 9am - 2am, Sun 9am - Midnight
High Street Multistory 2 mins walk, Victoria Square Multistory 5 mins walk, limited on-street