City council urged to foster cafe culture
DUBLIN CITY Council has been urged to foster a cafe culture by changing its “prohibitively expensive” licence charges for outdoor seating. The call came from the organisers of the twice-yearly Dine in Dublin week, which gets under way on Monday.
Richard Guiney of Dublin City Business Improvement District said the council was in danger of “killing the goose that laid the golden egg” by charging restaurants and cafes thousands of euro a year to put a few tables and chairs outside. They must also complete a detailed application process, which involves supplying drawings and maps and placing notices in newspapers, all of which adds to the cost.
Mr Guiney said he knew of one city centre restaurant that was faced with a bill of about €8,000 to place four small tables and four sets of chairs with screening outside. “If you are talking about a cafe, that’s an awful lot of coffee you have to sell to get back that money.”
Dublin was out of kilter with other cities when it came to this charge, he added. “It’s five times more expensive than the most expensive part of Edinburgh,” he said. The city of Westminster charges £2,400 (€2,954) for an area with more than 37 seats.
Mr Guiney said most businesses only used outdoor seating from April to October so they should have the option of buying a six-month licence. The council should be encouraging traders to foster a cafe culture by using attractive outdoor seating and pretty awnings.
Research had found that 15 per cent of people coming into Dublin were coming to eat, so this should be encouraged. Mr Guiney said the Dine in Dublin weeks generated extra spending of up to €450,000-€500,000 a year as people took advantage of special offers and events. More than 70 restaurants, cafes and bars are involved in the initiative, including Pichet, The Rustic Stone, Le Cave and Marco Pierre White.
Cocktail demonstrations, musical entertainment, Prosecco nights, master classes and daily Twitter giveaways are among the events organised for the coming days. Kitchen restaurant on South Anne Street is offering a free glass of Prosecco to everyone who books a table between 5pm and 7pm on Monday and Tuesday.
Chef Clodagh McKenna will demonstrate how to host the perfect dinner party on Thursday at her restaurant in Arnotts department store. On Friday, a flamenco guitarist will entertain customers at Cafe Novo at the Westbury where Latin-inspired bites will be provided to go with their new sangria cocktail menu.
A number of Park Rite car parks are offering a discounted evening rate of €3 from 6pm and a lunchtime offer of a free second hour.
For detail on events and menus see dineindublin.ie.