For 50 years the Barnams name has been synonymous with ice-cream, and the shop which has been on the Lisburn Rd in recent times is fast becoming an institution in itself.  

Situated just a 5 minute walk away from the Lisburn road Tesco’s, Barnams ice-cream parlour is bright, young and, decidedly pink. Boasting well over twenty-five different flavours of ice-cream, including a noticeably alcoholic rum and raisin, capable of every Monday’s well-deserved, late afternoon relief. Late afternoon being exactly the time I found myself comfortably tucking into a sundae bigger than my head last week, a sundae that perhaps if I hadn’t purposefully attempted to taste the Barnams rainbow might have led to a less stressful two hours later in the gym. I can tell you however the workout was worth it.

Before said sundae, which you can find at the bottom of this post, I caught up with Barnams owner Aki, the dedicated and welcoming figure-head of the parlour. We sat, we chatted and, generally talked Belfast – the amazing restoration that the building has undergone recently and, of course, ice-cream. The gregarious owner had much to say about the parlour’s fondness for it’s student clientèle, many of whom take advantage of multiple offers throughout the menu, £5 fry’s and milkshake offers galore. Further, Aki made note of the number of students who use the quiet setting for study and taking it, for once, easy. Our period views of the Belfast cafe are fond I agree, the fixed fibreboard tables and arched back chairs and the white aproned uni student that’s surprisingly committed. However I do believe its time for the new modern take on the classic; Barnams encapsulates this, instantly and recognisably warm, as all good cafes should be yet sleek, modern and, comfortable.



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The bread and butter of an ice-cream parlour is its basics, both in the adult and children’s flavours. I’m more than happy to report that the vanilla is subtle and in no way carrying the oft metallic tang of artificial flavourings, the chocolate is deep and full of a positive mix of dark and milk, whilst in the adult arena the sheer smell of the rum in the rum and raisin is enough to consider a taxi home. Seriously, this offering should come with an approved percentage. Finally and on a side note, I’m aware a lot of people may not be interested in my ramblings as the ice-cream connoisseur I claim to be, so take note that alongside the plethora of iced cream on show, there’s cakes, fancys, doughnuts, sandwiches and soups to brighten the dullness of your ice-cream-less hearts.

I implore anyone to take the time to visit Barnams, an institution that I feel needs the city-wide recognition of its students, and remember you can never be sad eating ice-cream.

Barnams can be found on Facebook here
605 Lisburn Rd, Belfast, County Antrim BT9 7G


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Morgan McKinnon-Snell

Morgan McKinnon-Snell

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Morgan McKinnon-Snell

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