The MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre) in the vibrant Cathedral Quarter is one of my favourite hangouts in Belfast.
You'll usually catch me here on a Sunday before lunchtime sipping a cappuccino upstairs by the big window in a zone named The Crush, or in the little library up there if the window isn't free.
The MAC is a fantastically chill place to hang out, sip coffee with friends, explore the galleries with a date, or catch one of the many plays or talks throughout the year in one of the two theatres. If you have read my review of 'Bin Laden: The One Man Show' then you'll know that I caught it here, in the 120 seat Upstairs at the MAC theatre.
The building itself is a work of art, not quite post-industrial but certainly rubbing up against it, and I understand that the local architects who designed it went on to win Young Architect of the Year in 2008.
Art naturally is the centre of the MAC world and they are champions of new and emerging artists through the HATCH programme to drive the creative spirit of Northern Ireland, and supported by the MAC's own Artist in Residence in the three galleries and beyond.
I can't really talk about the restaurant as I usually only have a cappuccino or two, or a quick snack before a show, but it is Native by Yellow Door, and if you know the standard of the Yellow Door then you know that the food will be tasty.
I can however give a quick callback to the little library in The Crush. There is a fantastic selection of books on art, plays, social commentary, literature, and if you look very, very carefully you might find three little novellas of my own. A girl I was seeing in 2017 was always late so deciding to meet here when we were going out in Belfast meant that I was able to get caught up on a lot of reading.
The MAC is a great spot and a fine example of why it is important to keep funding the arts.
10 Exchange Street West, Belfast BT1 2NJ
7 days a week, 10am - 7pm
St Anne's car park next door.