Part of music venue the Grand Social taken over by landlord in rent dispute

Publican Frank Gleeson confident of resolution before expected full reopening in July

One of the three landlords of the buildings that house Dublin pub and music venue the Grand Social has taken control of a portion of the premises following a rent dispute with its operator, high-profile publican Frank Gleeson.

It is understood the part of the building that has been taken over houses most of the venue’s toilets. The landlord, a Dublin business family, has hired a security company to retain control of the building. A security operative has been installed to occupy the building 24 hours a day until the dispute is resolved.

Mr Gleeson confirmed that he had a disagreement with a landlord but said it was “almost resolved” and he is “confident” a deal will be concluded.

When asked how it might affect the building’s operation if he has no access to most of the Grand Social’s toilets, he insisted it would not scupper its reopening later this year, if and when restrictions on live music events are eased over the summer.


Pubs are expected to fully reopen from July 5th. The Grand Social is currently operating by selling takeaway beers.

“It definitely won’t affect it. We just have a small issue and we pretty much have it sorted. During Covid, things happen,” he said.

Significant sum

It is understood that the genesis of the the rent dispute with the landlord predates the pandemic and involves a significant sum.

The Grand Social is located on Dublin’s quayside opposite the Ha’penny Bridge in a building that was once home to one of the city’s so-called superpubs, Pravda.

The Grand Social was sold to Mr Gleeson in 2018 by its former owner, businessman Brain Montague, who also owned the nearby Winding Stair and the Legal Eagle pub further down the quay.

The deal for the Grand Social was reportedly worth more than €3 million. Previously, Mr Gleeson had managed the venue. The Grand Social is advertising gigs for later this year, including London indie four-piece Spector, for November.

Mr Gleeson was previously chief executive of the Mercantile pub group, but left that business in 2017 after an acrimonious split with his former business partners. His other interests include the Green Hen and Marcel’s restaurants.

He was also for many years very closely associated with the highly successful Wexford Street music venue Whelan’s, before losing control of it in the split with his former Mercantile partners.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times