MA NELSON’S, Northern Ireland’s only dedicated rock bar is to celebrate its first birthday this weekend.

The bar, formerly Hunters at 149 Lisburn Road, Belfast was taken over in August 2010 by entertainment journalist Tina Calder.

On re-opening last August Tina turned the bar into a rock and sports bar. The premises has been through a number of re-launches in the past ten years seeing it named everything from Vaughns, Dee’z and Hills to Besties, Hunters and Ma Nelson’s.

Tina said: “When I decided to take Ma Nelson’s over I decided I was going to do two things immediately.

Firstly, keep the name because the bar had been through so many changes another change would not be welcomed by the regular customers and secondly turn it into a live music, rock and sports bar.

“By rock we mean we cover everything from blues, classic rock, rock, metal and thrash to goth, punk, mod, ska, indie and alternative.

“There is no other bar in Northern Ireland who have dedicated themselves to these particular genres. Other bars do hold separate nights or live music events but none are fully based on this.

“By sports bar we mean we accommodate and welcome all sports fans. Primarily we have been known as a football bar due to Northern Ireland matches and Linfield cup finals and the showing of Premiership and Championship throughout the football season.

However, we are now working on a marketing plan that will start to publicise and promote everything from rugby, tennis and cricket to boxing, Formula One, American football and wrestling.

“On top of our new music and sport fans we also welcome a lot of regular customers, many who have been drinking in the bar in excess of 30 years.

“Our policy is to bring Ma Nelson’s back to the magic of a local family owned bar in the heart of a community.”

Since re-opening in August 2010 Ma Nelson’s has hosted nearly 1000 live acts. These include rock, punk, soft rock, blues, cover and tribute bands as well as comedy stand-up, acoustic acts and Piano & saxophone based bands.

Bands who have played at the venue include everyone from Flash Harry, Doghouse and Tinn Lizzy to The Defects, Sweet Savage, Sinocence, Worldsend, Nasa Assassin and Last Known Addiction.Notable guests who have frequented the bar include glamour model Laura Lacole, rock star Ricky Warwick, Nick Kershaw, top booking agent Stevie Strange, model Katie Larmour, promoters James Loveday and Helen Bell, comedian and YouTube star Barry The Blender Henderson and rugby stars Darren Cave and Pedrie Wannenburg.

This weekend – Friday September 3, Saturday September 4 and Sunday September 5 – Ma Nelson’s welcomes the following entertainment:
Friday September 3
Ma’s Big Birthday Karaoke downstairs with DJ Ray Mc Keown.

High Voltage Rock & Metal Club birthday celebrations upstairs with resident DJs Paula Boo, Matt Chambers, Ali-P and guests from our Elizium traditional goth club playing everything from rock,metal, thrash and classic rock to punk, ska and rockabilly.

Launch of the Northern Ireland Rock Music Awards at 10pm in the rock club upstairs.

Ma Nelson’s regular indie club with DJ Willie McKee in the pool room/VIP club.

Saturday September 4
Acoustic star Matt Fitzsimmons playing big rock anthems and classics downstairs.

DJ playing rock & pop downstairs.

Bon Jovi tribute act Con Jovi playing upstairs.

DJ playing the best in classic rock & metal upstairs.

Sunday September 5
Ma’s Big Birthday Karaoke downstairs with DJ Ray Mc Keown

Ten of Ma Nelson’s favourite bands take to the stage upstairs from 3pm. Bands including

Worldsend, Suckin’ Diesel, Midnight Transmission and Voodoo Dogg.

The birthday celebrations will also reveal the newly redecorated upstairs club and pool room/VIP club.

For more information about Ma Nelson’s log onto

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