New concept bar opens in basement of Dublin’s Hibernian club

Group behind House are opening 9 Below, a high-end reservation-only bar

St Stephen’s Green. The  9 Below  is pitched as a different concept in the Dublin bar scene

St Stephen’s Green. The 9 Below is pitched as a different concept in the Dublin bar scene

 

Publican Alan Clancy, who controls the NolaClan group behind House on Dublin’s Leeson Street, will on Thursday open a new high-end bar in the basement beneath the St Stephen’s Green Hibernian members’ club in the city.

The new venue, 9 Below, is the culmination of a four-year project for Mr Clancy, whose other city venues include the Oak, Xico and 37 Dawson Street, as well as bars in Cork and Limerick.

The group is understood to have invested up to €800,000 in 9 Below, which it is pitching as a new concept in the bristling Dublin bar scene. Customers will generally be expected to make prior reservations, with a service style focused almost exclusively on table service.

It was not possible to instal a kitchen in the listed structure so, unusually for a modern concept bar, 9 Below has no food menu. It has struck a partnership with an outside provider to serve sushi for group bookings.

“The bar that we are opening this afternoon is based on a concept of emulating the five-star service of the top hotels and restaurants around the Stephen’s Green area,” said Mr Clancy.

“When we were developing the concept we looked to see what was missing in this area. We saw a gap to extend the five-star experience to a bar setting. We’d be hoping to attract guests, for example, for pre-dinner or post-dinner drinks from the best restaurants around, like Peploe’s or Shanahan’s. We also want to develop relationships with the five-star hotels nearby, such as the Merrion.”

The seating capacity at 9 Below is capped at about 80, with the public space arranged around four cellar-style rooms. General manager Stuart Courtney was hired from the Connaught hotel in London.

Highest bracket

The alcohol prices are pitched in the city’s highest bracket. Wines are priced between €50 and €6,000 a bottle (2005 Pétrus), and from €14 to €250 per glass. It has an exclusive deal to stock Casamigos Anejo, a tequila recently sold by actor George Clooney to Diageo as part of €1 billion deal. Pints of Guinness are priced at €8.

The opening is the latest in a string of new concept hostelries in Dublin, such as Paddy McKillen’s Stella bar and cinema in Rathmines.

Mr Clancy, who has stakes in at least 15 bars, is planning further expansion. He is planning to extend the House concept to Belfast, while on Friday he will also open a new Kilkenny bar, Brogan’s, a joint venture with Dublin GAA star Bernard Brogan.