Home > Features > Favourite Venues – No Alibis Bookstore, Belfast

Favourite Venues – No Alibis Bookstore, Belfast

Nichola Eastwood


Possibly Belfast’s most unusual venue and simultaneously Northern Ireland’s only specialist crime bookstore, No Alibis is a quirky hive of local talent.  Tucked away in the student area of Belfast, you can’t help but be immediately charmed by the makeshift stage, unassumingly located at the back of the store and the rows of plastic chairs surrounded by shelves of crime novels.

My first acquaintance with No Alibis came courtesy of MTTM and Aaron Shanley’s debut album launch party.  The most intimate gig I’ve ever been to, the atmosphere of No Alibis is akin to sitting and watching a band live in your living room.  The artists are never more than a few feet from the audience and when not onstage they can be found amongst the audience trying to make themselves comfortable on the same glamorous plastic chairs.

No Alibis irresistibly rickety and makeshift character aside, it is the place to see up and coming local talent.  In a venue this small there is no room for error or theatrics, it all comes down to the music.  It comes as no surprise then that a bad performance is something that just does not happen here. 

Recent months have seen local acts tripping over each other to showcase their not inconsiderable talent on No Alibis miniature stage.  The aforementioned Aaron Shanley shared a bill alongside acoustic gem Allie Bradley, local alt rockers Mojo Fury played a rare acoustic set and modern Irish folk came courtesy of Realta.  Not to mention upcoming sets from local singer/ songwriter Ursula Burns and hot new talent Rainy Boy Sleep.

Once you’ve been to No Alibis you won’t be able to resist falling in love with the venue’s eccentrically quaint charm and cosy, laid back atmosphere.  There really is no other venue like it, with music that’s never a disappointment.