Thursday, January 18, 2007
Bewley's famous and much-loved cafe on Grafton Street is once again facing closure, this time due to a lawsuit threatened by the property's landlords.
The cafe, which closed briefly two years ago to the dismay of all Dubliners and those who visit the capital, was reprieved after it was bought over (with the famous name retained.)
It was deemed back then to be uneconomic to retain such a large cafe with such high overheads in one of the most expensive rental streets in Europe. However, current management Cafe Bar Deli have proved that to be wrong.
The threat this time around comes from the actual owners of the premises, the controversial and notoriously litigious Treasury Holdings. Because of their penchant for aggressively pursuing court cases, I am sadly not in a position to express my true feelings about the way they conduct their business.
But I hope I am safe in suggesting that Treasury would be only delighted to force the forfeiture of Cafe Bar Deli's lease on the beloved old cafe, as it would enable them to either develop the site or rent it for a higher price to a tenant likely to renovate it for retail use, which would put an end to the 80 year history of Dublin's favourite cafe.
Their predatory eye has clearly been on the site for some time, given the revelation that they sought to buy out the lease for €6 million only two years ago.
Treasury have been censured in the past by the likes of An Taisce for their bully-boy tactics, producing potentially dangerous developments and riding roughshod over local communities.
Anyone with a love of Dublin's cafe culture and the unique atmosphere of Bewley's in Grafton Street can only hope that Treasury's latest attempt to get their own way through bullying litigation is unsuccessful.