Four top bars make €15m

Sale includes Café en-Seine, The George, The Dragon and Howl at the Moon

A consortium has acquired four of Dublin’s best known bars including Café en-Seine on Dawson Street for €15 million – €3 million more than the guide price.

Danu Investment Partners, controlled by Michael O'Rourke, Leonard Ryan and Mark O'Meara, headed up the consortium which also included Ray Byrne's Splash Hospitality and a New York-based Irish investor to acquire the remaining businesses in the Capital Bars Group. Danu also holds investments in Setanta Sports, Newstalk radio and the whiskey company West Cork Distillers.

Splash Hospital is to operate the four licensed premises which also include The George and The Dragon on South Great George's Street and Howl at the Moon on Lower Mount Street.

John Ryan of CBRE handled the sale for Pearse Farrell of Duff & Phelps and Liam and Des O'Dwyer.


The four bars had a combined gross turnover of €13.5 million last year on which they are understood to have made a profit of around €2.4 million.

Café en-Seine is by far the best known of the four pubs, occupying a prime trading pitch opposite the Mansion House. During the boom years the superpub is believed to have had an annual turnover of €7-€8 million.

That has since dropped to somewhere over €5 million. The premises extends to 1,300sq m (13,933sq ft) and is leased from a Louis Fitzgerald company at a rent of €600,000 per annum.

Fitzgerald and his son Eddie bought the freehold interests for over €8 million in 2010. Fitzgerald is the biggest owner of bars in Ireland.

Also trading successfully is The George, near the Dame Street end of George’s Street which is understood to have had a net turnover of €3.5 million last year.

The bar, which caters especially for the LGBT market, operates on a part freehold/part leasehold basis and extends to 640sq m (6,889sq ft).

The Dragon is more a night club than a bar and has a floor area of 743sq m (8,000 sq ft). CBRE had put a value of over €3.5 million on the business.

The fourth bar in the portfolio, Howl at the Moon, was operated by the father of the O’Dwyer brothers, Joe, since the 1960s and was later extended and upgraded to provide a floor area of 1,100sq m (11,840sq ft). The bar is a popular after-office haunt, close to Merrion Square and in the heart of the central business district.

John Ryan said the sale had attracted enquiries from Irish and overseas’ business people, and also, most notably, from successful Irish executives based in the US.

Jack Fagan

Jack Fagan

Jack Fagan is the former commercial-property editor of The Irish Times