Cuckoo Review: Stop Making Sense
15 May 2012
Cuckoo has been the word on everyone’s lips of late and so Student Pulse decided we needed to know what the buzz was all about.
Sitting on the bustling Lisburn road, Cuckoo is a quirky feast for the eyes as soon as you step in the door. Immediately noticeable is the graffiti inside. When this bar was being refurbished they let a graffiti artist loose inside with a few ideas and a lot of spray paint. The result is breathtaking, and mixed in with the motley of cuckoo clocks and the wrestling dolls that dominate the bar, lights and even the disco ball, it is truly an alternative bar where anyone would be happy sipping a jam jar cocktail or gulping an alternative draught beer. A varied mix of seating, cheeky titty tables and even the odd drunken soft toy makes this bar like none other inside!
Bar Snacks And Environmentally Friendly Food
So what about the food? Serving pints of chips, burritos, tacos and even a few sub sandwiches and chicken wings, my fellow reviewer and I can, without reservation, recommend the pulled pork tacos. 24 hour marinated pork in crispy tacos with sour cream cheese and salsa. Delicious. And cheap as, if you pardon the pun, chips. Which you can order by the pint, with a variety of toppings including cheese, chilli or melt your face off hot sauce.
Cuckoo has three aims when it comes to their food; value, taste and recyclability. Recyclability you ask? Their food comes in little brown boxes, allowing you to sit in or take away whilst being fully recyclable alongside the wooden cutlery. As if that isn’t enough, they also have recycling bins for the cans of Red stripe they sell! Adding to the environmental element, for those who choose to power their own transport, they have bike racks at the front door to keep your wheels safe and dry!
Jam Jar Cocktails
Moving from the food to the drinks, Cuckoo has a unique drink experience for every patron. With a Jam jar cocktail menu named after classic cult films, one that sees a unique twist on the classic cocktail recipes, Student Pulse sampled an “Ace Ventura”. This best selling cocktail sees Absolut Pear, lime, sugar and apple juice shaken up in a jam jar and served with a straw. Light and refreshing, the Ace Ventura is the perfect cocktail for a girl’s night out, but for those looking something a bit heavier, meet “Tyler Durden”. A variation on the Dark and Stormy, the Tyler sees Havana Especiale, Falernum Clove Liqueur, lime and a float of ginger beer combine to make something that has a bit of a kick and is just the sort of cocktail a man can drink! Considering Cuckoo have sold 2,300 jam jars in the first week, it is clear to see that these cocktails are worth a try; ohh and they are 2 for 1 Monday to Thursday!
For those who prefer something in a frosty glass, Cuckoo have made a conscious effort to provide the best range in Belfast in alternative beers and beverages. They don’t sell Bacardi Breezers (woohoo!) but they do sell a range of alternative draft beers including the delicious Blue Moon, O’Hara’s , Grolsch and Coors. But when you start perusing their bottles, your eyes are really opened. They sell ‘Trashy Blonde’ and ‘Punk’ IPA (Indian pale lager) and are one of a handful of bars in Belfast to do so! They also keep a motley mix of unusual spirits, bacon flavoured vodka being one of them. (No I didn’t try it, but I did smell it. Smelt like bacon. Try it at your peril) Skipper rum competes for space on the bar shelf with the amazing Kraken Rum, and whilst local beer, Headless Dog holds its own against the bigger brands. And if it all gets a bit much, there is a kitchen sink in one of the seating areas complete with tumblers and free running water! Saves the shame of asking the barman for water when you’ve had too much sauce!
The Best Bits
Keeping the best to last, one of the main draws to this bar for me is their Ping Pong Tables. Whether you want to relax with a friend for a few pings of that little white ball, or you fancy yourself a pro and want to enter the Ping Pong tournament (that’s right, A ping pong tournament every Tuesday night!), skills levels range from horrendous to show off on the registration form with the tables tucked up in the back of the pub with plenty of comfy seats and free play! Furthermore, they took the decision not to show Sport. Whilst some may weep, women everywhere, in my opinion will find this makes the pub a lot friendlier and puts the focus on having a good time with friends rather than the result of a match!
The background music is a wonderfully eclectic mix of about 70% indie, with 20% old school hip-hop and the last 10% being a complete surprise! (When I was there to suss the joint out, the Inspector Gadget theme tune came on. I felt like a spy.) With a paid residency slot up for grabs on their open mic night , every Wednesday and the jumble disco every Saturday night, where Bass, hip hop, Indie and house are mixed up and pumped out, there is something on every night at Cuckoo. The Friday evenings offer something new especially, with Skive from 3pm to 7 pm, when students and workers alike are encouraged to turn off the laptop, hang up their ties and come relax with a pint and a game of ping pong, along with dance anthems and indie beats.
To sum up, Cuckoo says Stop making sense, but it makes every bit of sense to make this your own personal haven of quirkiness and alternative pubbing, with brilliant drinks, great music and all round banter!
And did I mention they show old Cartoons and cult films on their tv screens?
Check them out for yourself on Facebook :
And call in soon for a pint of Blue Moon!