Why Belfast's Alley Cat Diner Leaves Us Feline Good
Alley Cat knows exactly what it's doing.
Perched on the corner of Church Lane and Ann Street, and decked out with red canopies and a stylish wooden hoarding, it's clear that this American-style diner goes far beyond red leather seats and retro jukeboxes.
And while our diners here in Dublin stay open until late to cater to those in need of serious soakage, Alley Cat stays alive until the wee hours with live music, a cracking cocktail menu and a craft beer selection to rival the best brewpubs.
But while it may boast on its website that it is "not a restaurant", it sure knows how to handle the grub. I order the Hawt Dawgs – which turns out not to mean two frankfurters in a single roll but two separate rolls – while our community manager, Anna, grabs herself a Steak Sambo with delicious crispy onions on top
And while the side portions of sweet potato fries combined with the extra portion of bread may have made for a carb overload, a long day of sightseeing (and traipsing up the colossus that is the Titanic museum) meant that the feast was precisely what we needed.
Indeed it seemed like something of a shame that we had wandered in during a relatively quiet lunchtime – the layout and décor of the joint hinted at a place that would really come to life at night, and I left with a longing to tear into that cocktail menu with the same aplomb I took to my double serving of hot dogs.
At £7 for the dawgs and £9.50 for the steak sambo (a total of around €22.50 at the time of travelling), it may veer on the expensive side for a fast food place. But even if it's not cheap, it certainly is cheerful.
The Alley Cat, it's fair to say, has landed on its feet