Bewley’s iconic Grafton Street cafe closes its doors for refurbishment

Premises to reopen in six months but will trade on ground floor only with smaller offering

Bewleys on Grafton Street: Plans for its redevelopment, costing more than €1 million, were lodged with Dublin City Council in recent weeks. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Bewleys on Grafton Street: Plans for its redevelopment, costing more than €1 million, were lodged with Dublin City Council in recent weeks. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Bewley’s Café on Grafton Street will close this afternoon after almost 90 years in business for a refurbishment expected to last at least six months.

A Dublin institution since 1927, the cafe is losing about €1.2 million a year. Plans for its redevelopment, costing more than €1 million, were lodged with Dublin City Council in recent weeks.

It is intended to reduce the size of the cafe. It will trade only on the ground floor of the 18,000sq ft premises after it reopens, which will roughly halve its seating capacity to about 160. It will have a more limited menu focusing on serving hot drinks, baked items and cakes rather than hot food, and its opening hours will be reduced.

The 140 staff will be made redundant and there will be jobs for just 70 employees when it reopens.

The upper floors of the building once housed Whyte’s Academy, a grammar school established in 1758, with former pupils including Thomas Moore, Robert Emmet and the Duke of Wellington.