by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

The Clover Group which was established by four leading Belfast hospitality and leisure entrepreneurs earlier this year has announced that the latest addition to its portfolio is White’s, Belfast’s oldest tavern dating back to the 1600’s. Retaining its original name for nearly 400 years the bar is adjacent to Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter with the venue and its adjoining ally, Winecellar Entry, housing Belfast’s Wine and Spirit Merchants since the 1700s.

At the time of its formation Clover outlined ambitious plans to rejuvenate a number of Belfast bars and the announcement that it is breathing new life into the city’s oldest tavern follows the Group’s opening of Margot’s in Donegall Square East in April with Fountain Lane set to reopen its door’s next week, following a £1m refurbishment.

White’s Tavern will maintain its historic authenticity, with Clover set to refurbish the venue in a way that maintains the integrity of the original tavern complete with an original bar counter from the 17th century enabling traditional beer pouring techniques. 

Former head chef at Deane’s Simon Toye will lead the food offering with an Irish inspired menu in the Oyster Room, the new bar restaurant on the first floor. The plans for the venue will also include the revitalisation of the outdoor area including Winecellar Entry bringing vibrancy to the bar’s  vicinity within the city centre with performances planned with talented local and international musicians. 

Commenting on plans for the bar, which will create 30 new jobs, Mark Beirne, Clover Group said, “White’s Tavern is one of Belfast’s most important bars, not only in terms of its rich history and the long standing contribution it has made to the fabric of our city but also the opportunity it presents, for us as the Clover Group, to shine an exciting new light on this outstanding venue and ensure it is cherished by future generations.  White’s Tavern is very unique, and we are maintaining and enhancing the integrity of its interior with the highest quality food and traditional music offering in a way that recognises our past and will celebrate our future.”

Graham O’Donnell of, O’Donnell O’Neill Design who are refurbishing the interior and exterior facade added, “New Design enhancements for White’s Tavern are treated sensitively and are set out to enhance the Taverns authentic traditional interior and story. The Ground floor Bar counter has been extended slightly and lowered to a height in keeping with a bygone era and to create less of a barrier between the Bar Tender and the Customer with under counter Guinness casks having been cleverly designed into the bar counter to ensure that White’s Tavern has the shortest possible beer line runs in the City.

“This respectful and authentic design treatment has been extended to the First Floor where the new Oyster Room’s has been created. Interior features create a traditional yet theatrical experience and include the introduction of antique furniture, reclaimed light fittings, bold heritage paint colours and crushed velvet drapes with the external facade being tastefully restored to create an imposing and attractive backdrop to Winecellar Entry and the adjoining courtyard.”

Mark Beirne is one of the entrepreneurs that formed Clover which also includes Andrew Maxwell, Paul Langsford and Jim Conlon who have been behind leading Belfast venues including Henry’s, The Jailhouse, Pug Ugly’s, Filthy McNasty’s, Rita’s, Sweet Afton and The Perch.


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Andrew Maxwell, Paul Langsford, Jim Conlon and Mark Beirne


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