29 Jun 2022

Back on track: Newbridge publican looks forward to hospitality reopening

Kildare gets set to reopen after lockdown

Back on track: Newbridge publican looks forward to hospitality reopening

McDonnell's, Newbridge

The term ‘wet pub’ has annoyed many bar owners as it was bandied about casually over the air waves and print over the past 12 months.

Coined to emphasise the difference between pubs selling food, and those solely serving alcohol, the pubs without a culinary offering were left out in the cold with no plan and no date for reopening. Now, ‘wet pub’ establishments with an outdoor space can reopen from June 7.

McDonnell’s Bar in Newbridge is gearing up for this landmark date.

“We are delighted to announce we will be opening the Back Yard Bar & Beer Garden on June 7,” said owner Eric McDonnell.

“We are not taking any bookings at the moment as we are currently waiting on Government guidelines for the opening of pubs.”

He said they will be operating a booking system closer to the date and it will probably be six people to a table with a two metre distance between tables.

“We are very lucky we have outdoor space. We spent a lot of money on it in 2019. I don’t know what will happen to the pubs that don’t have outdoor space,” he said.

He explained that Fáilte Ireland will set out the guidelines for the reopenings.

Eric is looking forward to getting back in to business.

“I don’t think we will have time slots. I’m not even sure what out opening hours will be yet, we have to wait and see what the guidelines are. 95% of my customers are repeat customers and we want to look after them. You could have 60 people outside, we have a large area,” he said.

He believes the whole definition of ‘wet’ pubs versus pubs serving food caused division within the industry. “It was ridiculous. We were only open for two weeks in September and then the cases started to go up again,” he said.

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