A Cafe Tour of Bangor

I’ve found myself following the routine of Bangor’s old folk, where I’d be up working at 05:00AM, before joining the retirees of the family for their routine cafe breakfast. At the same time, I’m really not one for cafes or coffee shops, as I will pretty much always lump for the Ulster Fry each time. Meaning the Pit Stop Cafe does the job for me. Although, if there are lunch options on the menu, I’d probably go for them #Yolo. Anyway, I have no idea which smoked salmon melts in your mouth. Or which cinnamon scone is to die for.

Instead, I am sharing the best cafes in Bangor by location, whether it be convenient to the main attractions of Bangor, or it is just surrounded by some nice views or scenery. Nice places to take granny for a Sunday drive. And while there will always be the soulless, tax-dodging chain cafes in Bangor, these are by far outnumbered by independent cafes found all over. Anyway, here is my list of the best coffee shops and cafes in Bangor, Northern Ireland. Feel free to share your own in the comments.

Coffee Cure (Bangor Museum)

Starting with Bangor’s most central attraction is the North Down Museum, which is extremely easy to find given it is sat directly opposite the main train and bus stations. Inside the museum is then the Coffee Cure cafe, where it is found overlooking the museum’s internal courtyard, which is just relatively nice and peaceful. However, there is a downside, as there is a rather limited menu, which doesn’t include the traditional Ulster Fry, or anything fried, for that matter. But there are otherwise some decent enough breakfasts on the menu including the poached egg sandwich, with BLT, and guacamole spread… etc. (although this may change). Then tie in the free exhibits of Bangor’s heritage museum, and a stroll in Castle Park, and you can easily make a day of it.

Address: Town Hall, Castle Park Avenue, Bangor, BT20 4BT

Red Berry (Bangor Marina)

Following down Bangor’s Main Street, there are a number of popular cafes along the way, including the Heatherlea Bakery, and, actually, most of them have changed hands through the past few years. The next tourist stop would then be the seafront, which is pretty much at the bottom corner of Main Street where it connects with Queen’s Parade. And at the corner is Red Berry, which has a ridiculously busy downstairs, so I always sneak to the upstairs seating with views overlooking the McKee Clock and Bangor Marina. And this is about as close as you’ll get to finding views of the Marina from this part of Bangor. Anyway, the Red Berry sell all sorts; from ice-cream to Irish stew, and they do have a decent breakfast fry.

Address: 2-4 Main Street, Bangor, BT20 5AG

The Guillemot (Bangor Pier)

The Guillemot Kitchen Cafe is no more than a stone’s throw from the Red Berry, where you take a right along the seafront, passing some of Bangor’s more long-standing cafes (e.g. Cafe Brazilia), along with the old town courthouse, and the Tourist Information offices at the Tower House. The Guillemot Kitchen Cafe is then found opposite the car parks of Bangor’s Eisenhower Pier, as well as the old harbour known as the long hole. The Guillemot itself is otherwise cute and cosy, offering a more upmarket menu, I guess, with fancy bits like smoked salmon (that may melt in your mouth), and granary bread etc. It may be more expensive than most, but it is also the ideal alternative to the usual ‘greasy spoon’ cafes in Bangor. Then the pier opposite is perfect for a morning stroll. Fun fact. The Guillemot is named after the birds nesting on the pier.

Address: 2 Seacliff Road, Bangor, BT20 5EY

The Pickie Cafe (Pickie Fun Park)

For a more child-friendly option, Pickie Fun Park is found on the opposite (west) side of Bangor Marina, and it’s just a minute’s walk or so along the seafront promenade. But it is more of a seasonal cafe, opening more on weekends and during the sunnier summer months of the year. Depending on the opening of the other attractions in the park. Anyway, I thought I would call in recently for a quick breakfast, and was relatively surprised by the range of menu on offer, with all the Northern Irish food favourites from local cafe menus, and chip shops and pub grub, through the day. Although I wasn’t surprised by the prices which are expectedly high (it was around £7 for my fry) although they do offer decent portions tbf. There’s also a weird transparent pink theme going on in the interiors. Again, this is more of a child-friendly option. Anyway, Pickie also marks the start of the North Down Coastal path shown in the video below.

Woodlands Cafe (Crawfordsburn Country Park)

We will leave Bangor Town Centre for now, as there’s just a lot of nice scenery outside in the surrounding rural areas and forest parks. And firstly I would recommend Crawfordsburn Country Park, which is possible to reach by following the coastal path from Bangor Seafront, but it will take an hour or so each way. Anyway, Crawfordsburn Country Park is otherwise found next to the small village of Crawfordsburn and the Woodland Cafe is found just before the main carpark of the country park and not far from Crawfordsburn Beach. So you’ve got both a leafy country park and what is probably Bangor’s best sand beach to explore. Foodwise, however, the Ulster Fry is fairly basic, and the alternative canteen options are again fairly basic. It’s a bit like a school dinner buffet. But the scenic walks make up for it nearby.

Address: Crawfordsburn Country Park, Helen’s Bay, Bangor BT19 1JT

19 Coffee House (Blackwood Golf Centre)

We have been going to this café more often recently, as it is easily the quietest cafe on this list, with given its out-of-town location, and people often think that these golf clubs are exclusive to members only. But this is not the case. So the 19 Coffee House is found in the parklands of the Clandeboye Estate (3-miles from Bangor), in a rural and woodland setting, connecting to a Golf Course. The menu is relatively traditional, with lots of breakfast fry options, and decent pricing similar to anywhere in town. There’s also a bunch of other facilities in the venue, including a spa, and obviously a Golf Course, and it’s only round the corner from the Clandeboye Way with woods and wetlands surrounding Helen’s Tower.

Address: 150 Crawfordsburn Rd, Bangor BT19 1GB

McKee’s Farm Cafe (Craigantlet Hills)

Okay, McKee’s Farm Cafe is technically in Newtownards (where townsfolk are rumoured to have seven toes) but it is still near to the more amiable borders of Bangor in the Craigantlet Hills. A rural hillside area separating the two towns. And McKee’s Farm Cafe is really quite charming, views over active farmlands, and further on to Strangford Lough and Scrabo Tower. The cafe itself is a family-run business, with a menu of homegrown produce, and some really good breakfasts. And it is the one place where I would happily go for “the healthy option” with some seriously fat sausages, homemade wheaten bread, and a tasty side of chutney. Anyway, if out this way, it is worthwhile taking a quick run to Scrabo Tower for views over Strangford Lough.

Address: Strangford View, Holywood Rd, Newtownards BT23 4TQ

Creative Gardens (Donaghadee Hills)

Again, the Donaghadee Garden Centre cafe is technically in Donaghadee (where village-folk are rumoured to have webbed feet), although, it is nearer to the more amiable borders of Bangor. Again surrounded by some rather scenic countryside and it just makes for a nice drive. So the Garden Centre brings the best of both worlds, at least for old folk, where they can potter aimlessly around the garden displays, before enjoying some nice grub and chitchat at the onsite cafe. And while I’m not a big fan of shrubberies, the cafe does do a decent menu of good food, with standards certainly higher than Woodlands, and near on par with McKee’s. Anyway, it’s more of an outside option, and I would probably pair it with a visit to the not-so-far Ballycopeland Windmill and maybe Donaghadee.

Address: 34 Stockbridge Rd, Donaghadee, BT21 0PN

Roka Coffee House (Ward Park)

Roka Coffee House (formerly the Green Bicycle) is one of the longer-standing cafes in central Bangor, where it is located on one of the lesser-travelled roads (Hamilton Road) which connects between Bangor’s Main Street and Ward Park which is the central park of the town. And it is a pleasant enough place to escape to, with decent breakfast fries, and it has a decorated conservatory out back for those sunnier summer days. It’s also just a short walk to find Ward Park, which is one of those traditional British park-life parks, with swings, and ponds, and ducks. As well as a handful of local historical attractions (there will be a full write-up of it to come).

Address: 6 Hamilton Rd, Bangor BT20 4LE

4 thoughts on “A Cafe Tour of Bangor”

  1. I think we were there last month. My mum and wife really liked it. But they also stuck me on the school chairs, while they had the comfy seats, so I felt like a bit like a giant 😀

    1. Good article, thanks! Will try some of these

      Starfish at Ballyholme consistently good – can get busy by mid morning.

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