Restaurants across Dublin’s city centre are suffering as a lack of tourists and corporate business leaves the area “dead”, say owners.
Speaking to the Irish Times, Restaurateur Eamonn O’Reilly has explained the situation, painting a pretty grim picture after just two weeks of being open again post-lockdown. “Dublin city centre is an absolute disaster. It’s a tumbleweed situation, especially after 6pm when businesses close. Last night we did 16 people, and the restaurant can hold 110. Tonight, we’ve got 10 booked. It’s really scary”, says the businessman.
O’Reilly owns One Pico on Molesworth Place – which he launched 23 years and has already re-opened – and the two Michelin Star restaurant The Green House, which is set to re-open next month.
“Everyone seems to be gone down the country, understandably so, they want to get away, but no one is coming to Dublin,” O’Reilly adds. “There needs to be a marketing plan for Dublin city centre to get people back in the city.”
Across popular tourist areas such as Temple Bar, lots of hospitality businesses have been boarded up, creating an unwelcoming atmosphere for visitors which may be contributing the problem. Among the causalities of Covid-19 is Boxty House, which has closed indefinitely after 32 years of trading due to a dramatically slowed level of business. Typically, on a Friday night it is thought the restaurant would do around 400 covers, with a recent weekend evening seeing the kitchen cook for just six guests across the whole night.
Elsewhere other owners join O’Reilly in his sentiment, with Gina Murphy (owner of Hugo’s on Merrion Row) saying “the streets are empty”. The solution? Well, Murphy thinks it’s time to get people back into offices at an attempt to resume normality, saying, “we need to get people back to their places of work and get this economy moving again.”
Looking to get out and about again? These are the best Temple Bar restaurants to try