McHugh's was originally built as a private dwelling on the old Town Dock around 1711. Some time after this the dock was demolished and the River Farset was covered, although it still runs under Queen's Square and the adjacent High Street. Between 1715 and 1725 it was converted to a small pub.
Renovation and current status
The original Mchugh's bar was named after well known Belfast publican called Pat Mchugh (Pat the hat) In the 1990s the bar underwent a £1m renovation and expansion, enclosing the neighbouring DuBarry’s Bar, an establishment with a dubious reputation. The previous owners are Botanic Inns, was one of Belfast's largest pub and restaurant companies, whose establishments include The Botanic Inn, The Apartment, The Fly, The King's Head, Madison's, Ryan's Bar and Grill, The Northern Whig and The Globe.
The expansion included a brand new section, but the existing building retains much of its original features including the massive 18th century oak beams.
The new owners are now Seamus and Henry Downey[better source needed] emerged as the winners in a bidding war as they offered over £4m for the pubs, which were owned by Kurkova Ltd and were part of the Botanic Inns portfolio.
The Downey Brothers now own The Apartment Bar, The Kitchen Bar, and McHugh's Bar in Belfast along with Sugar Nightclub in Derry and Downey's Bar in Magherafelt.
Not as popular or well known with tourists as The Crown Liquor Saloon, McHugh's has become more popular in recent years, benefiting from the redevelopment of the surrounding Queen's Square, Customs House Square, and the Albert Memorial Clock.
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