Chaos Reigns…

…as it always does during the last week of February – The Dock’s annual pre-Spring refurb week.

So the cafe is closed until Sunday Evening (when we will have a grand re-opening as part of our Sunday Night On Nomadic at 6pm) so that we can take a perfectly nice cafe, turn it into a chaotic building site, and then make it even prettier and lovelier as we put it all back together!  (You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs… It has to get worse before it gets better… and other such things I can be heard muttering as I survey the devastation.)

Hats off to the volunteers who are doing a  fantastic job cleaning, dismantling, repainting, fetching, carrying, drilling, hammering, and even staggering down the road from the Drawing Office with some newly-on-loan pieces of lovely shipyard heritage.  (Or at least they will be when we’ve cleaned the bird poo off.)

And I have faith that it will all come together in time for re-opening – it always does…

This is last year’s race to the finish line:

Brave Heart Tegan

2014-02-21 17.46.20It’s the end of an era…  Tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon, Tegan will pour her last cup of coffee as the ‘Little Boss’ of The Dock.

I almost don’t know how to put into words how much Tegan means to all of us here in The Dock, and how much we will miss her as she embarks on adventures new.  It is absolutely no exaggeration to say that Dock Cafe would not exist without her.

IMG_3027From helping run ‘deckchair cafes’ in the open air before the Meanwhile Lease existed, to painting the display boards for the art in that frantic week before Eamonn Day, to cutting the ribbon on our first day of business, to gathering the first teams of Dock volunteers, to naming Kate and Leo (the Dock goldfish), to pouring literally thousands of cups of coffee, welcoming thousands of visitors, listening to thousands of stories, learning thousands of names, and (I truly believe) having an impact on thousands of lives with her friendship, craic, warmth and faithfulness – we’ll never know all the ways in which Tegan has made a difference in this place.

So be sure to call in tomorrow and get her to pour you one more cuppa.  And keep the evening of Saturday 8th March free for an event where we’ll all get the chance to thank her for being at the absolute centre of Life in the Titanic Quarter.

(And PS – anyone else nerdy enough to recognise the reference in the title? If so, I salute you!)

You Have Been (Trip) Advised

Thinking of calling down to Dock Cafe during Half-Term week for a nice relaxing cup of coffee?   It’s the 64th best of the 711 cafes and restaurants in Belfast, y’know!

7957111748_76cb37016c_zYou can find out why by checking out some of our Trip Advisor reviews here.  These are some of my favourite comments from happy customers:

I really love this place and its welcoming vibe, warm atmosphere, and friendly staff…

The Dock is a little gem in Titanic Quarter. From the Belfast Brew to the proper glass milk bottles, it’s the loveliest, busiest, (but still able to find a quiet spot in) cafe in Belfast…

2013-12-06 13.05.23The Dock is about much more than the food – it’s about a community….

The Dock is a tourist attraction in its own right! Definitely call in if you’re heading to/from Titanic Belfast or SS Nomadic – or just spend a few hours and take time out!…

A fantastic concept, warms your heart and your tum! Gives you faith in humanity….

IMG_4630And finally – surely this cannot be true… call in and assess for yourself if in fact we have:

one of the cleanest toilets in Belfast!!

Saints, songs and seals

A quick update from The Dock on a rain-streaked Valentines Day. The heat is on, the coffee is flowing, and (in what is becoming a fantastic Friday tradition) Barney’s fiddle-playing is wafting through the cafe… Love is in the air – but it could just be how much I love this place…

The day today started with a great event run by Volunteer Now and Business In The Community – the launch of the Be A Saint initiative. Over bacon butties and fruit platters (thanks Mace!) we were all encouraged to find ways to volunteer.  One speaker even broke into song – it was quite surreal (but wonderful) to be serenaded by Nessun Dorma and That’s Amore at 9:30 in the morning!

And the Saint’s Day theme continued throughout the day – one volunteer arrived with a lifetime’s supply of LoveHearts for every customer, while Stan the Baker got in the mood with heart-shaped shortbread and romantic German biscuits:

(Is that the first time the words ‘romantic’ and ‘German’ have been in such close proximity?  Now that Joachim is on the Dock team, never miss an opportunity for a German joke)

And finally, something to lift your spirits as the rain falls: if it wasn’t for the mad weather, we wouldn’t have started last Sunday’s Dock walk with a perfect rainbow arching overhead:

And as if nature wasn’t putting on enough of a show during our walk, we also had a friendly up-close visit from Sammy the Seal  when we were chatting at the water’s edge beside HMS Caroline (I know it’s a terrible iPhone photo, but honestly – he was right beside us!)

So there you go – I haven’t ever belonged to a church which got to enjoy visiting seals and rainbows during the service.  And I’ve never been in a cafe where a man serenaded the room with Nessun Dorma.  It’s a bit unique, this Life in the Titanic Quarter

All The Lovers…

It’s kind of hard to think up any Valentines Day special offers for an Honesty Box Cafe… every cuppa is a special offer in a way!  (Suggestions on a postcard.)

But we do have loads happening in Dock Cafe over Valentines weekend, whatever your passion might be…

IMG_5319Love reading?  Dock Book Group meets on Saturday at 3pm to chat about A Possible Life by Sebastian Faulks.  The only thing I can remember about the only Sebastian Faulks book I’ve read (Birdsong) is the steamy bit near the start – Susan assures me that A Possible Life is much more respectable.

2013-12-14 13.02.46Love knitting?  Sip/Sit/Knit meets every Friday from 11:30 to err… sip, sit and knit.  Whether you’re a novice or a knitting natural, you’re very welcome.

Love games?  The Dock board game cupboard keeps expanding – to the extent that a typical Saturday in The Dock now 2014-02-07 12.19.56involves half-a-dozen tables happily ensconced in a (friendly) battle to the death over the Scrabble tiles, Monopoly properties, Chess men (why are they all men?) and Cluedo clues.

One new addition – a build-your-own-Titanic model – caused great joy and concentration around one table-full of contented students today.  Their finished handiwork is now displayed in a very cunning location – see if you can find it…

BgW48I9IQAAO-mD.jpg-largeIf you need a last-minute Valentines gift, Dock Cafe can help there too… Noel’s hand-made jewellery stall is in the Dock pop-up market right through the weekend.

You can watch the piece being made right in front of you – or go for one he made earlier.

And for people who just love a good cuppa and a friendly natter?  Well that’s what we all love in Dock Cafe – and not just on Valentines Day…