Bewley's Cafe has achieved a landmark victory to prevent its landlord from increasing the rent again, with Mr Justice Peter Charleton ruling that the famous Grafton Street café's rent must be allowed to fall to a level that accurately reflects the state of the market.
The famous Grafton Street cafe sought to prevent any increase on the annual rate of €1.5 million. The building, owned by property developer Johnny Ronan's Ickendel Limited company, is now estimated to be worth half of what it was set at the height of the property bubble in January of 2007.
Rent rates on the building, originally called Bewley's Oriental Café, have increased from €213,000 in 1987 to €1.46 million in 2007. Bewley's claimed that it was losing €700,000 annually due to the extremely high rent rates and pointed to the loss of 25 jobs in the café since 2007 as a manifestation of this.
According to the Irish Independent, Judge Charleton said it was no suprise that Bewley's wanted a cut in rent rates: "It is not in accordance with business sense that a rent appropriate to five years previously should govern a hospitality market markedly changed for the worse."