A long time ago (last weekend) in a galaxy far, far away (a few doors along from the cafe)…

It is a period of civil partying.
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Rebel Marketeers, striking from their hidden base in the ARC apartments, have won their second anniversary.  During the birthday, the Marketeers threw the ultimate shindig, the BIRTHDAY PARTY, with enough cake, celebrating, stormtroopers and sumptuous home-made treats to destroy an entire diet.

OK that’s probably enough trying to echo the Star Wars opening crawl… but it was amazing to see the Stormtroopers take over the TQ on Saturday as part of the fabulous birthday bash for our beloved Dock Market, which has now been showcasing fabulous home-made hand-crafted food, craft and art – as well as restoring peace and freedom to the galaxy (sorry) – for two glorious years.

One of their most brilliant, original and effective ideas was to make Dock Market dog-friendly (complete with its own ‘petiquette’) – so it was perfectly appropriate that the human-friendly birthday cake was accompanied by a dog-friendly version.  Cutting the doggie cake in the very appreciative company of two beautifully-behaved dogs was one of the highlights of my Dock life!

And of course – as always – the quality, imagination and craftsmanship of all the market stalls was a sight to behold:

It was great to meet a whole new bunch of people who made it for the first time in response to the Marketeers’ brilliant social media campaign – and to see lots of their “wow!” responses on the Dock Market Trip Advisor page.  Quotes to cherish: “full of charm”… “the cupcakes are amazing”… “full of colourful character and charm”… “unique and fun – hated saying goodbye!”

IMG_6676On the subject of Trip Advisor – I noticed today that a certain Honesty Box Cafe is at the top of the heap again on its own Dock Cafe Trip Advisor page – though since we’re not really a proper restaurant I expect that someone else will reclaim top spot soon!  But it is genuinely heartwarming to read that so many people found a warm welcome and a safe space in Dock Cafe and wrote a review to say Thanks.  More quotes to cherish:  “very intriguing”… “friendly and welcoming”… “a great atmosphere – so interesting and fun”… “fantastic concept”…

And I love this one – entitled “A loving ambience”, the review continues
If, as my wife and I were, you’re feeling foot-sore and weary after having walked rather too far, you need someone to gently ‘ take you by the hand ‘ advise you what food / drink is available, take your tray and bring you to a table. That’s what happened to us. Even before we’d entered, we sensed that this was a different kind of coffee shop…. And – as we were delighted to find – the volunteer staff are so welcoming. We left feeling that we’d been really cared for – and ready for still more walking / site-seeing.

Well done, that volunteer (it wasn’t me!!)

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So make sure you call in to see what they’re all raving about – put the upcoming Dock Markets in your diary (2nd & 4th Saturday of every month) and get yourself down to the Dock for a cuppa ASAP!

 

Awesome August ‘Appenings

I’m sitting in Dock Cafe on a rainy Saturday afternoon with the buzz of life and laughter all around me.  Families are playing board games, soaked tourists are slowly evaporating, old friends are catching up and new friendships are being forged.  Talk about a sight that’s good for the soul!

So I thought I’d grab the chance to pop a few pictures online – and Bih7o3BIgAA4kzr.jpg-largefirst of all (and very belatedly) to post news of our Dock WEDDING! If you frequented Dock Cafe in the early days, you will never ever forget our Little Boss, Tegan, who ran the show with an iron fist (seriously, you didn’t want to mess with her) as Dock Cafe began, grew, expanded and blossomed beyond our wildest dreams.

She has now met the man of her dreams and tied the knot and so, with all our love, CONGRATULATIONS TEGAN & SIMON!
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Speaking of faces from the past, we’re truly delighted to be Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 17.22.36welcoming David Gavaghan as the guest speaker of our next Sunday Night service (Sun 4th Sept at 6pm at the cafe) – David was at the helm of TQ Ltd during those crazy early days of Dock Cafe (the pic shows that awesome moment when he signed the Meanwhile Lease for Dock Cafe and the adventure began!)  He’ll be sharing his vision for the future of Belfast city and I know it will be inspirational.  Put it in the diary now!

One aspect of Belfast life that still takes some getting used to (for those of us who remember the grey old days) is the amount of FullSizeRender-23visitors from all over the world who are now visiting the city.  Dock Cafe is a hubbub of different languages, nationalities & cultures throughout the Summer months – so Clemence hit on the idea of putting up a big map where customers can all mark the place they call home.  It’s only been up a week or so and we already have push-pins scattered all across the globe!

And closer to home – Dock Market is BACK baby! and showcasing the very best home-grown talent.   The boundless creativity and skill  of our Marketeers never ceases to amaze me – and if you check out the new ‘Dockie Directory‘, you can start to read some of the stories of the faces behind the stalls – it’s really inspiring to find out how they each realised they had a unique talent and got started with their bespoke businesses.

14095750_588562647981237_7940757709301852914_nThe Directory is sorted by name, craft, genre or Market date – awesome job gang!  And don’t forget the next market on Saturday 27th August – which as you can see is another milestone in the life of The Dock.   Which we’re celebrating with stormtroopers – because every birthday needs the evil Empire to make it really special.

The wonderful world of Dock Cafe

Lazy Summer days at Dock Cafe, gotta love’em!  Come rain or shine (usually rain for the last few days), the cafe has been packed with visitors, locals, tourists, neighbours, people from all over the world chilling out and meeting up in our little slice of paradise:
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I love reading all the comments in the visitors book – whether from regulars (“our favourite spot for lunch”) or newcomers (“this place is amazing – I wish you were around where I live!”), their comments short-and-sweet (“lovely!”) or essay-length and effusive (“the concept is amazing, gobsmacking and stunning”!)

It’s so cool to look through all the different addresses and nationalities – and then to realise that they’ve all found a home-from home for a few hours (or as one person wrote, “nicer than home – almost”!)

And the community at Dock Cafe doesn’t just come from far afield – some of them live within a few metres!  Last week we hosted a barbecue for the ARC residents and had an absolute blast chilling out with the folks who live just upstairs (didn’t get many photos – too busy flipping burgers!):

And then there’s a whole other community of people who really, really belong to the Dock: our amazing team of volunteers.  They all got together to mark the start of the Rio Olympics with Samba drummers, Brazilian food (yum), fancy dress (all AMAZING but especially loved the three Carl Framptons and Stevo’s 118 impression), the chance to get your photo taken with Usain Bolt,  and a brilliant night of laughter, friendship and questionable fashion choices:

The sign above the door of the Cafe says “Life in the Titanic Quarter”… truer, more colourful and more beautiful day by day!