Three-fold expansion of Bowe’s Pub refused by Dublin City Council

Council says changes to Victorian pub detrimental to the buildings and street

The three-fold expansion of one of Dublin's last remaining Victorian pubs, Bowe's on Fleet Street, has been refused by Dublin City Council.

The proposal to amalgamate the 160-year-old pub at 31 Fleet Street with 29 and 30 Fleet Street, formerly a branch of bookmakers Ladbrokes, would be "detrimental to the character and appearance of the buildings themselves and the overall streetscape", the council said. The former Ladbrokes shop, now vacant, is sandwiched between Bowe's and Doyles, a large corner pub at 28 Fleet Street/9 College Street. Both pubs are owned by Declan Doyle.

The development would result in an “overconcentration and intensification” of licensed premises which would “cumulatively dominate this street in terms of use and appearance, and would be detrimental to the visual amenities and vibrancy of the street”, the council said. Allowing the street to be dominated by pubs could set a precedent for single-use functions on an “important city centre street” and would be contrary to the proper planning.

The structural work involved breaking through the eastern wall of Bowe’s at ground floor level to interconnect the building with number 29/30.

The basement of 29/30, currently part of Doyles pub, would have become part of the expanded Bowe’s and the access from Doyles to that basement would be closed off. This was not appropriate conservation and repair of a prominent 18th century historic streetscape , the council said.

The pubs and the former bookmakers were built between 1798 and 1812 on a site which rounds the corner at Fleet Street on to College Street, and are protected structures. A pub was opened at the current Bowe’s premises in 1854 by Christopher McCabe. In the late 1880s it changed to the hands of John O’Connor and in the early part of the last century, it became Bowe’s.

The pub has a traditional ornate Victorian pub front and its interior has Victorian decorative joinery. The interior of the old Ladbrokes building is primarily 20th century

The council's decision can be appealed to An Bord Pleanála.