Dublin's Dockers Pub To Reopen
As reported by The Business Post, after a pause on plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dublin's Dockers pub will reopen, 15 years after it closed.
As well as being frequented by local dock workers and sailors in the days long before the term Silicon Docks existed, the Dublin city pub is around the corner from Windmill Lane Studios, where U2 recorded their first three albums, and was a regular haunt for the group in the 1980s and 1990s.
Footage online from 1992 shows Bono, Edge and Adam Clayton sitting at a bar laden with pints of Guinness while Phil Collins talks to them by satellite link after U2 won a Billboards "rock artists of the year" gong, and Paddy, the Dockers barman, presenting Bono with the award.
Building owner Hibernia Reit has leased the property to David L'Estrange, the Dublin pub operator who also runs the Bleeding Horse, Camden Exchange, Ruin Bar, the Bald Eagle in Phibsboro, and several suburban pubs.
The inside has been redesigned by his daughter, Jill L'Estrange, who runs a specialist hospitality interiors business. Her L'Estrange Designs company has worked on bar and hotel projects in Ireland and overseas, and on interiors for Airbnb’s Dublin headquarters.
Current projects include Michael Fetherston's K Club, which is undergoing substantial refurbishment since he acquired it from Michael Smurfit last year.
Despite the challenges of continuing pandemic uncertainty, lack of footfall due to home working and staffing shortages right across the hospitality industry, L'Estrange is optimistic about the opening and the return of Dublin’s nightlife.
He reportedly said, "The missing element is tourism, with 60% of the 10 million tourists who visit Ireland coming through Dublin in normal times. Office workers are missing but that has at least helped suburban pubs."
L'Estrange's group owns the the Bottle Tower in Churchtown and the Cock and Bull pubs in Raheny and Coolock.
Hibernia Reit has leased offices next to the Dockers to Hubspot, the US tech giant, and he hopes its staff will frequent the pub when they return to the office.
Staffing is a challenge, according to L'Estrange. He reportedly said, "All the Brazilians and Latvians and Polish people have gone home. There is a particular shortage of kitchen staff."
This has not stopped pub properties transacting briskly in the capital, however.
The Oak (formerly Thomas Reed's) on Dame Street sold for €6 million last month to the Brú Group, and Larry Murphy's on Baggot Street was acquired for approximately €1 million by free-spending bar and hotel group Press Up.
British operator Wetherspoon has stated that it is aiming to buy more pubs in Ireland, although it has recently put its Blackrock pub the Three Tun Tavern on the market for €2.5 million.
Hibernia Reit Developments
Hibernia Reit, which owns the site where Windmill Lane Studios was situated and adjacent lands, is continuing to develop offices, shops, leisure facilities and residential units in an area that it has called the Windmill Quarter.
© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Conor Farrelly. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.