Nestled along a narrow cobbled alleyway in the historic Half Bap area, the Duke offers a traditional Belfast welcome of craic, music and humour in contrast to the modern fashionable establishments currently blowing into the surrounding streets.
Unfortunately the alleyway is cobbled, which makes it very difficult for people in wheelchairs and with mobility problems to navigate the uneven surfaces. There is however is smooth paving running down the middle, but with the large crowds that come to this area, it’s not always the easiest to get onto and travel upon.
There is one main bar on the alleyway, but it has two large concrete steps to get into the premises. Impossible for anyone to get into unassisted. Even with assistance, the bouncers were trying to put me off due to ‘health and safety’ issues. Once inside the bar, there was very little room to move around it, as there was very little floorspace. In fact, there was only one area I could sit at. There is also an upstairs, but the staircase is very steep and narrow, also with no elevator, I was to stay downstairs.
The disabled toilets were outside, across the other side of the alleyway. So to access them, I had to leave the bar and get assistance to do so, cross the alleyway and get more assistance to get up the step into the toilet facilities. Admittedly a smaller step, but not one I could get up on my own.
Rather than face the indignity of getting back into the bar again after using the toilets, I decided to stay outside under the awning beside the heating. There was no spaces allocated for wheelchairs to comfortably get under the awning and I got wet from the heavy downpour of rain that night. This simply wasn’t acceptable in my eyes.
So whilst The Duke of York is a must go to area in Belfast and must see area for tourist, it’s a place I would recommend people with disabilities to avoid.