Landmark city pub laments Covid loss of vital tourist trade
The owners of city centre pub Doheny & Nesbitt have told of their hopes continually being dashed by the closures and restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It just seems to be one thing after another after another. When you get a bit of hope of something happening, it’s squashed on you,” a spokeswoman said.
The Lower Baggot Street pub has been a long-time favourite of politicians and lawyers, and even gave rise to the nickname The Doheny & Nesbitt School of Economics after a number of senior economists frequented the place.
However, it is now grappling with a major downturn in business because of the absence of office workers and tourists.
The pub, which in 1987 was the first in Ireland to change hands for more than £1m, has always had a strong food business, and was able to re-open as a pub-restaurant with the easing of Covid restrictions.
“We always had a huge food trade because of the offices around here, which is now practically gone. A lot of places are suffering,” the spokes- woman said.
“We’re open, it’s a bonus that we’re open, you just have to take it day by day.”
Pre-Covid, the company that operates the pub, Swigmore Inns Ltd recorded profits of €269,290 in the 12 months to the end of last January.
That followed profits of €237,781 in the previous 12- month period.
Accumulated profits last year increased from €3.805m to €4.074m.
“Footfall is down a lot. We don’t have a busy lunch trade like we used to have due to office workers not being around,” the spokeswoman said.
“There are no tourists about, so we have no footfall from the Merrion, Conrad, Fitzwilliam and Shelbourne hotels, so we’re losing out on all of that as well. Business is slow.
“There’s no demand there because there are no people.”
She added that, because of social distancing regulations, they have lost half their tables.
“It’s very hard to tell loyal regulars that ‘your time is up and you have to vacate the table’,” the spokeswoman said.