Boogie nights to go on as Rí Rá changes hands
When Rí-Rá opened on Dublin’s Dame Court in June 1993, the club was one of several newcomers to the city during an intensive 18-month period when clubbing really was the new rock’n’roll. Arriving a couple of months after the POD …
When Rí-Rá opened on Dublin’s Dame Court in June 1993, the club was one of several newcomers to the city during an intensive 18-month period when clubbing really was the new rock’n'roll.
Arriving a couple of months after the POD set up for business on Harcourt Street and before The Kitchen annexed the basement of the Clarence Hotel, Rí-Rá quickly became the funky and laidback club of choice for many.
Operated by Eoin Foyle and Jay Bourke, a duo with a Midas touch for establishing pubs and restaurants, Rí-Rá has seen many fads, fashions and competitors come and go during its lengthy tenure.
But there are changes ahead at Rí-Rá. Foyle and Bourke’s Sherland Entertainments company has sold the club and its adjoining bar, The Globe, to pubbing giants the Thomas Read Group. The handover is due to take place in the coming weeks.
Confirming the sale, Foyle says he has no regrets about the move. “It has been great fun, but I think it’s the right time to move on.”
A DJ and promoter in Limerick, Galway and Dublin before joining forces with Bourke to start Rí-Rá, Foyle was closely associated with the club and its music policy down through the years.
“It was a struggle at the start because everyone else was playing house music and we weren’t,” he says. “But we stuck to our guns and then hip-hop and funk came back into vogue and we had some great years. Over the last couple of years, though, it has got a little tired.”
It will be interesting to see what changes, if any, the Thomas Read Group will make to the popular venue. Before now, the company has been associated with running pubs rather than clubs. Foyle believes the group will continue with the club as it currently operates. Calls to the Thomas Read Group about the purchase were not returned.
Meanwhile, Foyle and Burke’s Sherland empire continues to expand with the Gubu bar on Capel Street about to be transformed into another Café Bar Deli pizza and pasta joint. Foyle, meanwhile, hopes to confirm his involvement in another city-centre music venture within the coming weeks.