The Cloth Ear

51 Comments | Last Updated 21st January 2022 | Added 10th August 2007 | Edit Details | Edit Photos

The Cloth Ear is The Merchant Hotel's comfortable public bar. The warm and welcoming interior provides the ideal environment to relax and enjoy yourself in style. Combining both modern and traditional design features with a healthy dose of eccentric touches - the many unique items of vintage and antique clothing, the wooden moose and deer heads and the classic 1930's - 1950's sheet music that adorns the walls.

The food in The Cloth Ear is intrinsically comforting. Inspired by homemade favourites, it is nostalgic yet fresh and creative, making use of the best locally sourced seasonal produce. A selection of daily specials is also a feature of The Cloth Ear dining experience, allowing the chefs to really capitalise on the best and freshest seasonal ingredients.

Information and Contact Details

The Merchant Hotel
35-39 Waring Street
Post Code
Distance From Belfast City Hall
0.6 km

Tags for The Cloth Ear

Find similar bars using these tags

Cathedral Quarter Sport Shown on TV Pub Grub

Map Showing the Location of The Cloth Ear

Have you got Google Earth on your computer? If so, then download the Google Earth view of The Cloth Ear.

Is this the wrong position for The Cloth Ear? If you think so, then suggest to modify its position.


Vote yourself, it only takes a second!

69 Votes

Customer Comments and Reviews of The Cloth Ear

There now follows 51 comments about The Cloth Ear. You can also (no signup required).

A rip off. Phoned to make sure the special was on 2 courses bottle of wine for �£23.50. Whwn we arrived told it was not available but eventually agreed to us being able to order it BUT most items had a surcharge of �£3 (hence bill would have been nearer to �£30) Food was OK but when issued with our bill charged for drinks we did not have. No apology just told till not closed down properly from previous customer (must think older people are stupid) then told merchant gift card not working despite checking balance at bar before ordering - took over 30minutes to pay the bill. Complete farce. Customers on next table also had problems with their bill SO BE WARNED

Submitted by Grace on 29th November 2012

Was in the Cloth Ear last month wit 3 of my cousins, ordered a meal but it did not appear and when queried it seems the waitress had gone home without entering it on the Computer. The manager then took the order, the meal was excellent and due to the wait he only charged us 4 pence for our 4 meals. I was very impressed.

Submitted by allen on 8th August 2012

Arrogant,cheeky,and obnoxious door staff,please remember if we punters did not go out then you would not have a job.Fat bouncer lying on the railings just grumbled NO,no what exactly????? I was on a visit from Liverpool and hold a very responsible position within my company.If any other emplyee spoke to a customer in such a manner I would expect them to be fired.Get your act together and show some respect,you are door staff not BOUNCERS.The law has changed.

Submitted by Michael on 30th May 2012

I read the last comment and was curious for myself as I would be a regular in the Cloth Ear. I was in on Friday for my Christmas lunch and I had a look at the wine list and their house wine is �£16? I thought this was reasonable enough. Seems like a similar price to most places around Cathedral quarter. Well anyway I love the place! Food is hard to beat and the staff are brilliant. Will always be a regular!!

Submitted by Kyle Campbell on 18th December 2010

We would have eaten in The Cloth Ear twice a month and selected the meal deal, two main courses and a bottle of house wine for �£22.99. We would also have enjoyed a few drinks after. We went there on Tuesday, 7 December 2010 and were advised that the meal deal was suspended for the month of December, which we accepted. We ordered two main courses from the menu and a bottle of house wine. We unfortunately did not ask to see the wine list, assuming that the house wine would be reasonably priced like in any other bar/restaurant. When we got the bill, we observed that the wine was charged at �£18.00. We spoke to the Assistant Manager and told him that we thought this was a rip off. He said that other customers had made the same comments.



Submitted by No longer a customer on 9th December 2010

Bar nice, good atmosphere. Bar staff really nice but doormen extremely rude. Was manhandled by one guy when I went to speak to someone. Serious enough to contemplate a complaint to management but there was no-one available and I didnt want it to spoil my night. I understand that door staff have a hard job to do but there is absolutely no excuse for rude and abusive behaviour by them. I hope that the manager reviews cctv tapes!

Submitted by Lady Jane on 21st October 2010

I went to the cloth ear today for something to eat after hearing mixed reviews about the service and food! Now i have expierenced the cloth ear myself i feel the boxty i had today was totally outstanding and the service was also equally as good, thanks for a great welcome, service and meal.

Submitted by A Very Satisfied Customer! on 4th October 2010

Yesterday I went to the cloth ear for a late lunch with my brother and cousin after it was recommended. Waiter was pleasant and good at his job. Food was also very nice.

We then stayed for the happy hour. After drinking a third of my pint I noticed that the glass was not to clean and had a prominent lip stick mark on the rim. I brought the pint to the bar and asked the bar man to change my glass, he wasnt overally pleasant. He got me a new glass but only filled the glass to the level i had returned it at (TWO THIRDS). Im not expecting a free beer or anything but i thought it would be common curtiousy to offer the unhappy punter a new pint, i sortve felt as if he thought i was being a cheap scate and trying to get a free third of a pint. Laughable. I work in my family business (catering) and if i was to do something like that I would be given a serious dressing down. I know its not a big deal but its the small things in business that matter. My glass at lunch time wasnt so clean either...

Submitted by Not a satisfied Punter on 18th September 2010

The place was very busy but the waiter went out of his way to get us a table.The food was very good and overall customer care was excellent which made for a very pleasant visit.

Submitted by Gerry on 27th May 2010

On Sunday 3rd May, me and one of my friends decided to go to the Cloth Ear for some sunday lunch. When we arrived it was really busy and we thought we wouldnt get a table, but the tall male worker came and greeted us very pleasantly. He then took our order and recommended several of the dishes on the menu.

We both decided to both have seabass and this was expertly presented and served to a high standard.

I am writing to just say how well all the staff worked and preformed on such a busy day.

I most certainly will be back in the near future.

Submitted by Jonathan on 4th May 2010

after being refused entry to the spaniard(suprise suprise)on friday passed, myself and some friends and family decide to head accross the street to the cloth ear.

it was fairly busy as is to be expected on a friday night but regardless the service i recieved was of a VERY high standard. on each of my very frequent trips to the bar i was amazed at the speed and quality of service provided by your staff who were very often serving two or three customers at once! i never had to wait for more than one or two minutes before giving my order and despite the large number of customers, they were very promptly delivered.

i appreciate that it may be quite unusual to recieve comment's about how good the service is at an establishment, however it is. in my experiance, also unusual to recieve such an excellent service from ALL the staff encountered at one bar.

please pass on my kindest regards and thank's to your staff for a job VERY WELL DONE! i will of course be back, hopefuly in the near future, for another equally wonderful night.

Submitted by neil on 16th August 2009

I am a regular punter in the cloth ear. I love my pints of Guiness aswell as my women, Cigars and fast cars. Excellent barstaff and the heaters outside are brilliant!

Submitted by Cojack on 21st July 2009

when i went to the cloth ear it wasnt what many told me. i thought they were wrong because the staff are all well mannered and friendly. some good training involved there. i will 100% be back ASAP

Submitted by Philamena on 18th June 2009

I had heard mixed reviews about the Cloth Ear, but my girlfriends were taking me out for my birthday last Saturday and we had an absolutely fantastic time. A big guy with a beard was looking after our table and he was brilliant. Very attentive and great service. The staff were very friendly and the food and cocktails were yum. Definately be back

Submitted by Elaine on 16th June 2009

I had heard mixed reviews about the Cloth Ear.

However I decided to keep an open mind as I met up with two girlfriends for dinner.

I was half an hour early for our table which was booked for seven thirty.

I stood waiting to be seated for twenty of those thirty minutes.

Eventually, a greasy haired ( looking as though he did not know what a shampoo bottle was) waiter arrived and led me, well, nowhere. He then deliberated with another member of staff about which table was ours~ then told me to have a drink at the bar while I waited for the rest of my party.

Cue the only pleasant member of staff.

The dark haired girl.

She smiled.

She was pleasant.

My friends arrived and we waited to be served for a round of drinks.

That took thirty minutes.

And then another twenty when we reminded the waiter that we had ordered.

The glass of tonic water and lime arrived ten mins later.

We ordered our food, another thirty five minute wait.

Food was actually lovely but the service totally abysmal.

However when it came to paying the bill, service speed took

a meteroic rush.

I saw only three floor staff for a busy Thursday night in Belfast City Centre.

One of whom needed a shower and a personality implant.

Cloth Ear?

Aptly named.

They should listen to, and take action of user comments.

Was going to book a leaving do for here at the end of June,

but won't now.

Going to go somewhere where there are adequate front of house staff and those who are shampoo friendly.

Submitted by Anna on 11th June 2009

Just back from Belfast ,Great weekend, Bar

Submitted by Jim - Liverpool on 12th May 2009

went here on saturday night - service terrible , food standard, atmosphere dull , door staff impolite if you want a good night out in belfast avoid the cloth ear!

Submitted on 6th May 2009

The food is excellent but the service is dreadful. Not sure if it is down to the staff or the way it is managed but it seriously needs sorted. Food prices are reasonable but drink is very expensive especially with the service charge added.

Submitted on 27th March 2009

Awful service!! Went at lunch and after waiting 20 minutes to order, waited another 15 minutes to get our drinks and another 40 minutes to get food and it was empty! The staff have serious attitude problems - not one person has been helpful when i have been in.

not great!! serious training needed! and a personality transplant wouldn't go a miss in all the staff

Submitted on 13th January 2009

Great bar for a couple of quiet drinks during the week but forget the weekend (If you intend on getting served). Had lunch last week around 2pm, the staff out numbered the customers, although they where quick to take our order IT TOOK AGES TO GET THE FOOD, i would not reccommend it for a quick lunch.

Submitted on 24th November 2008

Was in this bar on Saturday night for a full evening as I had to go with friends. This is my 4th visit on a Saturday in the last six months and I have found that every time the bar staff are run off their feet but are doing their very best. The obvious waiting time and queues at the bar are poor. While it proves the venue is popular, it does not seem popular with the nominated purchaser of a round at the bar!

Submitted by James on 2nd June 2008

went to the cloth ear last week for a few quiet drinks, before moving on somewere else. ended up rolling out at closing time! great bar, great staff and great food! will definately be back as soon as i can.

Submitted on 7th January 2008

I love this bar, the staff are wonderful always smiling, the food is good and not too expensive either! will definately be back

Submitted on 16th December 2007

Went here when it opened for lunch with a girl from work - not impressed the food is overpriced for a tiny basket of scampi and a basket of hard chips that looked like something from a chip cart that had been sitting under the heater for 4 hours! Wouldnt waste my time going back!

Submitted on 26th November 2007

Rude doormen and staff - avoid if you want an enjoyable night out - had to wait too long even for food order to be taken never mind being served - dull and drab

Submitted by Sophie on 26th November 2007

Somewhere to go on a lazy afternoon...never been there at night! But food, service and drinks are acceptable and the decor is funky!

Submitted by John on 22nd November 2007

called in the other night, was very surprised this is a fantastic bar very welcoming staff and great service will defo be back !

Submitted by jimbo on 11th November 2007

As far as the service goes, well its alot to be desired. It should never have been connected with the Merchant Hotel. Dont even get me started on the bitch from hell which is the apparently 'ass manager' you would think she got her trainning from a Fruit and Fiber box. Please please dont ever go here, if it wasnt for my friend i would have complained even more than i did.

Submitted by Mr Right on 28th October 2007

I love this bar the staff r very friendly and attentive the food isnt bad either! would definately return as soon as possible!

Submitted on 10th July 2007

door staff and door policy is pathetic in this day and age, what gives neanderthal man the right to say who is dressed/groomed suitably for what is after all just a bar


Submitted by jimmy on 19th June 2007

i love this bar its great service u can actually hear yourself talk, but my favourite thing about this bar has to be the very attractive waitresses that work there!

Submitted on 27th May 2007

was in the cloth ear last weekend for the first time had a lovely meal served by experienced waitresses! food was great and reasonably priced. I will definately be returning very soon.

Submitted on 13th May 2007

I went there on a Friday night - good crowd of people although it was a very tight squeeze, mostly 25+ which is good considering most places these days are full of 16 yr olds...oh and don't miss out on the toilets - they guys toilets have been decked out in a retro star wars style, doors on cubicles have been imprinted with famous faces...and inside the cubicles have glass display cabinets of vintage star wars figures - so cool!

Submitted by Damian, Enniskillen on 23rd March 2007

Great relaxed place, with a football table! Drink is overprice though and there is danger of this becoming another Tatu with hoards of people just standing around - don't let it!

Submitted on 2nd March 2007

Been to the cloth ear on a number of occassions i have to say i love it! i love the relaxed atmosphere, attentive staff, good food, good selection of drinks wat more could u want for a good night out!

Submitted on 14th February 2007

quiet, dull environment, bland interior attracts folk who are are quite snobby and pretentious

quite boring, a place for a quiet drink if you are 25+

not really for the students , they clearly dislike those smarter than themselves

Submitted on 12th February 2007

i really like this bar and would recommend it to any visitors to Belfast. It has a very friendly atmosphere despite the fact that it has a fair number of 'beautiful people' - the client?le seem to be an unusual combination of well-groomed attractive young and yet chilled! plenty of us mere mortals as well(!). it's an unusual blend! maybe this is because the door staff and bar staff are friendly and relaxed. the bar holds a lot of room so you're not all crammed together, and is completely unpretentious despite having modern decor. one of my favourite spots!

Submitted by adrian mc elholm on 8th December 2006

Went on a tuesday and as well as the Bar staff being friendly, and it seeming like a very clean bar, the music was fantastic... would definitely recommend going on a tuesday for a good night out. The Singer was Ken Haddock, i would go any where he's playing... well worth it!

Submitted by John on 23rd November 2006

I love this bar great service friendly experienced staff wonderful food! great place to go if u want to unwind after a busy day at work!

Submitted on 17th November 2006

Pretty nice bar, with a good selection of draught beer. Have been a few times, but the last time I tried to get in, 11.30 on a Thursday evening, I got asked for ID because it was for over 25s(?) Still, as a 36 year old guy, this would encourage me to return.

Submitted by Drew on 17th October 2006

What's the craic with those moaning about having to seat themselves. Its a bar not a restaurant, I managed to seat myself( all tables are set and clearly marked if reserved) and had a great meal. Staff were friendly and interested, great afternoon out. Take it for what it is, a bar which serves bar food!!

Submitted by Jason on 2nd October 2006

Love this bar during the week, it has a nice relaxed atmosphere, but at the weekends I find it totally boring! no music and its always too busy. Not the way id like to spend my saturday night

Submitted by James on 27th September 2006

Excellent bar, friendly and helpful staff. great food, great service, and a very welcoming approach..

Submitted by Andrew on 17th September 2006

just like to comment that the newly rejuvenated cathedral quarter is a nice breath of fresh air for belfast. sat nite just past a mixed group of us done a mini tour. decided on the cloth ear for food and although i think we were lucky to get a table, couldnt fault the place. an unusual comfort food style menu proved very tasty for all and the staff were pleasant and attentive. nice bar and a great atmostphere kept us there most of the nite before succombing to the girls desire to dance moved us on. top bar with v.good staff and eye pleasing crowd. will be back.

Submitted by ryan. bangor on 17th September 2006

loved the place great atmosphere great staff very friendly and know wat they r talking about! the food was excellent couldnt fault ti! i would definately recommend this bar to anyone looking for a great meal served my experienced staff! or just a few drinks in a relaxed friendly atmosphere!

Submitted on 5th September 2006

Well done, Bill Wolsely has done it again - 2 steps ahead of everyone else. Belfast could do with alot more places like this. The Cathedral Quarter is buzzing at the minute, thanks to the opening of the Merchant Hotel. Lets hope this is the start of a thriving and cosmopolitan area.long overdue

Submitted on 21st August 2006

Was in the Cloth Ear last night (8th August) and had a lovely evening. I beg to differ what the previous comment said, I found the staff very friendly, helpful and had a smile on their faces unlike most bar's I've visited recently. Both myself and my partner had a lovely meal, I ordered the fish special and he had the Ham Hock - of which we both coulndt falter. Good service, nice staff and a relaxed atmosphere - we'll definitely be back!!!!!

Submitted by Mary Brennan on 9th August 2006

Went there on 7th July, had to seat ourself as no staff round to seat us, waited 20 minutes for menu's and when they come nothing really popped out that i or my 2 clients could see having, ended up placing orders for something that we really did not want (having wanted another 20 minutes for our order to be taken), but when the meals came all three of us enjoyed them including the fresh home made chips! all three of us felt that the food was fantastic but the very bad service from staff really let the whole lunch down. Let me know when they change the staff and I'll be back!

Submitted by CT, Belfast on 1st August 2006

Went to the Cloth Ear for lunch one Saturday afternoon. Was confident that it would be a good choice after seeing the inside of the Merchant Hotel itself. What a disappointment!! After being ignored by the staff we made our own way to a table and after a while were presented with our menus. Wasn't impressed by the menu, and I'll try anything. Poor value for money - my husband's was the worst. ?7 or ?8 for six prawns on a tiny piece of soda with some shredded lettuce. Won't be back, unless of course they offer me a free meal to compensate.

Submitted by karen on 21st July 2006

went to cloth ear last week for few drinks with friends after work. wasn't intending to eat but after seeing some of the food go out decided to sample ourselves. menu quite different and quirky and food was excellent. nice atmostphere kept us there for a great nites' craic. barstaff v welcoming and knew their stuff. will def be returning quite often i think.

Submitted by michael from bangor on 20th July 2006

Myself and few friends had drinks and food in the Cloth Ear a few weeks ago. Staff very friendly and knew what they were about. Thanks to Kevin who sorted us with a great bar tapas and the tour of the Merchant. Good drinks and good service and a great bar. The Merchant is on a different level to anything thats in Belfast, sheer class.

Submitted by Geoff Moira on 7th July 2006

You can add your own comments or suggets edits to this page.