Bewley’s Grafton Street cafe to reopen from August 27th at latest

Phased reopening of famous Dublin cafe to begin with coffee and bakery service only

The clattery cafe: Bewley’s on Grafton Street, Dublin. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

The clattery cafe: Bewley’s on Grafton Street, Dublin. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Bewley’s Grafton Street cafe is to reopen for coffee and baked goods by August 27th at the latest, with a wider offering to follow.

Employees were told on Thursday night that the famous Dublin cafe would start a phased reopening with coffee and bakery only on 27th August, or earlier if possible. A wider offering will follow.

The company said the new staff roster would be “filled by experienced hands from amongst the original team”.

The cafe’s 110 staff had been informed on July 1st that they were being made redundant, with the closure blamed on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy, and the €1.5 million annual rental cost on the protected structure.

The cafe has been loss making for several years with the rent accounting for 30 per cent of its annual sales.

Earlier this week, it emerged Bewley’s had agreed to pay more than €749,000 in rent arrears and interest costs to Ronan Group Real Estate (RGRE), the landlord of the cafe. RGRE is controlled by property developer Johnny Ronan.

“We’re conscious of the role that Bewley’s plays in the hearts of visitors and Dubliners and we’re delighted once again to play our part in bringing Dublin’s city centre back to life,” said Col Campbell of Bewley’s.

“We’re thrilled that the team who made Bewley’s such a wonderful place, will once again bring the Bewley’s experience alive with customers, albeit on a phased basis initially.

Phased plan

“Further areas of the cafe will be opened in the weeks ahead in line with customer demand. We have no further details to share now, but full details will be unveiled in the coming weeks.”

Bewley’s Oriental Cafes Ltd first opened on Grafton Street in 1927. The cafe closed its doors on March 16th as coronavirus restrictions came into effect. In May, The Irish Times revealed that the cafe operator, Bewley’s Ltd, which is owned by artist Paddy Campbell, had decided to shut the premises permanently.

This led to a legal skirmish with RGRE in relation to the arrears.

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