The winner of the bid for Capital Bars, one of Dublin's most prestigious bar portfolios, is expected to be announced this week.
The Capital portfolio consists of Café en Seine, Howl at the Moon, the Dragon and the George (pictured) and three consortia are still bidding for the portfolio; each one headed by familiar figures.
The Splash consortium is the favourite to secure the portfolio. It is owned by Ray Byrne, who also owns the Wineport Lodge restaurant and guesthouse, and is operating Café en Seine on behalf of receiver Pearse Farrell. The consortium is believed to be backed by a wealthy non-trade financial backer.
Liam O'Dwyer, the founder of the Capital chain and a superpub pioneer, is heading another consortium with Richard Clingen, a Northern Irish entrepreneur who is developing a 108 bedroom hotel off Fitzwilliam Square.
The final consortium is headed by Eddie Fitzgerald, son of Louis, and whose family own several pubs around Ireland, including the freehold to Café en Seine, which may give him an edge. He is bidding with Alan Clancy, the owner of two other prestigious Dublin bars, House and 37.
The pubs are expected to far exceed the €12 million guide price and could go for as much as €20 million at auction.