Dock Cafe

Open 11-7 Mon-Fri and 11-5 Saturday (Summer)
Open 11-5 Mon-Sat (Winter)

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Dock Cafe is a pop-up coffee shop, art venue and information point, right in the heart of the Titanic Quarter beside SS Nomadic.  It’s a space for community, chat, chilling-out, meeting-up… Life in the Titanic Quarter.

We’ve been open since March 2012 and we’re gradually making little improvements to the place – quirky little details to make it feel a little bit special and out-of-the-ordinary.  If you haven’t been (or been recently) to see the gorgeous, welcoming, fantastic space that Tegan and the team are running, hopefully at least one of these 20 reasons why I LOVE Dock Cafe will make you want to go NOW!

1.  It’s all local…
(The tea is from local Belfast company Suki Tea… the coffee is roasted and ground just across the river on Dargan Road by Bailies Coffee… the traybakes and scones are baked fresh every morning at Valley Crust in East Belfast…)

2. There’s a fishtank!
(the fish are called Kate and Leo)

3.  Acoustic lunchtimes…
(both formal and informal – as well as invited guests filling the room with chilled-out vibes, our most unexpected acoustic session happened when one of the street performers from the Titanic Belfast festival – a chainsaw juggler (!) – did a great session of blues guitar one rainy afternoon – turns out that chainsaw jugglers are great guitarists!)

4.  The Honesty Box…
(As far as I know, we’re the only fully-fledged Honesty Box Cafe in the world (google it!) – everything in the cafe is free for you to eat, drink and enjoy – and if you want to pop something in the box on the way out, it’s totally up to you.  The Honesty Box is also a great conversation starter – and a Good News story for Belfast…are there many other capital cities where an Honesty Box Cafe would flourish?)

5.  Thomas Andrews’ door…
(There’s a story behind this one!  Brian, one of our great new contacts in the world of boating, is a builder by trade and in the 1980s his company was given the project of turning Ardara House in Comber, the Andrews family residence, into upmarket apartments.  The builders had to strip out lots of old doors and panelling – but Brian couldn’t bear to throw out Thomas Andrews’ bedroom door. So it lay unused in his shed for years – before Dock Cafe provided the perfect venue to display it…)

6.  Home-made Titanic fudge…
(Yum.)

7.  The superb artwork and photography…
(Again it’s all by local artists and photographers, most of whom can be glimpsed in the cafe from time-to-time keeping an eye on their handiwork…)

8.  Titanic guitars…
(these are a new range of limited-edition guitars built by a local craftsman – there are 3 display models in Dock Cafe and it’s OK to have a strum – we don’t believe in ‘Do Not Touch’ signs!)

9.  The scones are butter-based…
(So they’re not really a healthy option – but do you really want them to be?)

10.  The milk comes in bottles…
(Yep I think we’ve found the last milkman in Belfast who still delivers milk the way God intended it – in pint bottles with a nice bit of cream at the top.  There’s always a few extra bottles in the fridge so that locals can take some home with them…)

11.  There’s plenty of parking…
(I have heard it said that people are reluctant to come to the Dock Cafe because there’s nowhere to park – which is almost true, other than the spaces in the Odyssey Arena car parks (thousands of spaces), Premier Inn car park (always plenty of free spaces, right beside the cafe), Metropolitan College car park (hundreds of spaces), Titanic Belfast car park (hundreds of spaces),  Titanic Quarter surface car parks (plenty of pay-and-display spaces).  Or you could get the train (Titanic Quarter station is a few minutes’ walk away).  Or you could get the bus (there’s one to the college every 7 minutes).  Or you could walk across the bridge from the city centre along the riverside walkway in about 15 minutes.  So, completely inaccessible then.)

12.  The team behind the coffee bar are the actual nicest people in the world…
(Dock Cafe is run completely by volunteers – and volunteers tend to be people who actually like serving coffee, and talking to people, and passing the time of day, and enjoying a good laugh…)

13.  The Good News Wall…
(with more stories, pictures and random acts of kindness appearing all the time.  One story that was posted to the wall last week almost made Tegan cry – almost.)

14.  Titanic deckchairs…
(So that we can enact the saying “moving the deckchairs on the Titanic” every day.  And, sometimes, it’s sunny enough to sit on them outside the cafe!)

15.  The best views in the Titanic Quarter…
(We’ve seen rainbows, stormclouds, sunsets, we’ve watched the sunlight reflect off Titanic Belfast, we’ve been in prime position for the light shows, we’ve seen the progress of the restoration of SS Nomadic…)

16.  There’s loads of space for big groups to get together…
(We can do birthday parties – or work meetings, or events, or team gatherings, or…)

17.  There’s loads of places where you can chill out by yourself…
(And nobody will invade your space)

18.  There’s fresh bread and milk every morning for local residents…
(And you can just help yourself – pop a donation in the Honesty Box if you want to, but it’s totally up to you!)

19.  Even the tunes on the stereo are local
(We had great fun making CDs of all our favourite artists to hail from this island – from U2 to Foy Vance, Juliet Turner to Snow Patrol, Rend Collective to Van the Man…)

20.  It’s space for Life in the Titanic Quarter.  New friends, old friends, tears, laughter, chat, quiet, inspiration, relaxation, Life in all its fulness.

And that, my friends, is why I LOVE Dock Cafe! and why the last few weeks have been beyond my wildest hopes for the Dock project in the Titanic Quarter.  I am so, so proud of Tegan and all the creative team who have put this wonderful space together – and I hope that you visit it, and use it, and enjoy it as much as I do.  It’s something a bit unique.  See you there…

 

One thought on “Dock Cafe”

  1. Hello I was given your dock cafe from the titanic Belfast i am a titanic artist from the united states and have done works of art for milvinna dean, Charles a Haas, john p.eaton and James Cameron. I would be so honored if i can donate some of my artwork to your cafe as a gift and to honor titanic I just need to know your address to were to send them too.
    All best wishes
    Douglas. C. Girton
    Titanicartist1912@gmail.com

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