The Porterhouse group wants to build tourist accommodation on top of its flagship Dublin brewpub in Temple Bar, amid rumoured interest from outside investors in buying the landmark property.
Iskasinc, the Porterhouse entity that owns the pub on the corner of Parliament Street and Essex Street, near the city’s quays, is seeking planning permission to build 11 bedrooms on top of the pub. Liam LaHart, a director of the business, said it will be “high-quality accommodation for visitors”.
The pub is housed across three buildings, one of which is a protected structure. The proposed building work is confined to the unlisted parts of the premises.
The Porterhouse group wants to build eight bedrooms on the second floor, which is currently used for pub storage. The floor has double-height ceilings, so the group proposes to build two tranches of four bedrooms each on top of each other, taking advantage of the high ceiling and effectively adding another floor.
Another new floor would then be added on top of this, comprising another three hotel rooms and two outside terraces. Porterhouse also wants to add a roof terrace at fifth-floor level.
The plans were first lodged in July, but Dublin City Council sought more information from in September. The planner who assessed the proposal noted that the building dates to 1880, and sought more information on the impact of the works on the listed portion of the premises.
Architectural heritage body, An Taisce, objected to the raising of a cupola height on the corner of the building. The planner noted in its report that raising the height at the corner could affect the view north across the river Liffey from City Hall. Architects on behalf of Porterhouse have submitted further information such as drawings of the development without the proposed roof terrace. The council has yet to issue a final decision on the application.
The company has made applications previously to build rooms on top of the pub. It was partially refused permission to build bedrooms in 2017 while a 2008 proposed scheme for 12 bedrooms was knocked back. A separate application later that year for hostel accommodation was partially granted but it was prevented from building a roof terrace.
The move to extend the property and enter the tourist accommodation market comes as several suitors are said to have inquired about buying the pub.
Mixed martial artist Conor McGregor, who was recently outbid on the JW Sweetman pub farther down the Liffey, is understood to have been among those who made approaches about the Porterhouse, which brews a stout for his drinks business. A source said the pub is “not for sale”.
It is understood that Mr McGregor’s financial team are still on the lookout for one or possibly two pubs to buy in the city centre. He is also examining potential pub deals in Dubai and in a hotel in Abu Dhabi. In Dublin, he already owns the Black Forge Inn in Crumlin and the Waterside Bar in Howth.
Porterhouse group, which also owns bars in London and New York, was founded by the late Oliver Hughes, who died in 2016. The business is now run by his son, Elliot Hughes, and Mr LaHart.