Free the Night, a nightlife advocacy organisation in Northern Ireland, welcomes Belfast’s new night czar, Michael Stewart. The Belfast Improvement Districts created the position to boost the city’s nighttime economy.

The Night Czar position seeks to address transportation, safety, and policy improvements by Purple Flag accreditation standards. The BIDs cover Belfast City Centre, which is rich in retail, hospitality, and cultural offerings, including many nightclubs and live music venues such as Ulster Sports Club, Oh Yeah Music Centre, and the long-standing club Thompsons Garage.

Boyd Sleator, co-founder of Free The Night, said: “The role of the Night-Time Czar will provide a much-needed focus on these areas, ensuring Belfast continues to meet and exceed the standards set by the Purple Flag accreditation. Free The Night remains committed to supporting these efforts and is eager to collaborate with Michael Stewart and the Purple Flag Steering Group.”

Michael Stewart, the current Director of Common Market and his consultancy and training company, Bar Czar Limited, has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Michael also served as President of the Belfast Chamber for two terms and is now a Board Director for Eastside Partnership, a local charity dedicated to the regeneration of East Belfast. He will work part-time as Belfast Night Czar alongside his current roles, collaborating with various stakeholders to address challenges and implement effective solutions, such as engaging with transport providers, and the police and supporting hospitality and cultural venues.

Michael Stewart said: “This is a significant appointment and I’m proud to serve as an advocate and voice for Belfast city centre’s night-time economy. This role provides a unique platform working with key partners to address critical issues impacting our city centre, ensuring it remains a vibrant and dynamic destination after hours.”

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