It’s ‘last orders’ for well known Dublin night venues, Rí-Rá nightclub and The Globe bar.
Dublin City Council has approved plans for a major expansion of the Central Hotel on South Great George’s Street and Dame Court into a new 6,554 sq m five-storey hotel, with 125 bedrooms and a rooftop.
In the revamp, the Rí-Rá night-club space is to become a ‘speak-easy’, while the space occupied by The Globe bar is to be transformed into a retail outlet.
As part of the application by Exchequer Developments Ltd, the existing Library bar is going to be reduced to make way for additional bedrooms.
Labour senator Ivana Bacik was one of a number of politicians to object. She told the city council that a petition opposing the development had collected over 1,000 signatures in a week.
In her objection, Senator Bacik stated that Rí-Rá, the Globe and the Library bar have become “iconic institutions” in Dublin.
Senator Bacik said: “I am not opposed to the development of hotels in principle, but I have grave concerns about the closure of cultural and recreational institutions to facilitate these developments.”
Cllr Daragh Moriarty (Lab) told the council that Dublin’s “cultural fabric is being eroded one new hotel at a time” and it is vitally important that the City Council takes action to stop and reverse it.
In a separate objection, Cllr Claire Byrne (Green Party) told the council: “We have already witnessed an excessive erosion of our club culture in the city in particular over the past few years, mostly to make way for hotels and student accommodation.”
Cllr Byrne stated: “We are running out of places to dance.”
The Council planning report, which recommended planning permission, acknowledged that a number of the third-party submissions highlighted the loss of night-time activity.
The report states: “The proposal retains a night-time use in the basement, retains the Library Bar and provide new nighttime options on the ground floor.”
The report concluded that “the range of uses proposed will ensure a balance between shopping, leisure and cultural, and that non-retail uses will not dominate this section of South Great George’s Street”.
The report recommended a grant of permission after stating that the proposal “would not injure the amenity of property in the vicinity and accords with both the City Development Plan and the proper planning and sustainable development of the area”.
Senator Bacik stated on Thursday: “I am disappointed at the granting of permission but I am glad to see that a range of conditions has been attached to the grant of permission, which I will look into and consider more thoroughly over coming days.”
A report lodged with the planning application stated that the intention of the proposal “is to create a cultural hub for the local community and offer guests an experience unique to Dublin – offering the warmth of Irish hospitality combined with the vibrancy of the local arts and music scene”.
Partners in the venture BCP Capital earlier this year stated that the overall scheme would result in a significant net increase in bar and restaurant space.
A BCP spokesman stated at the time that the current Rí-Rá nightclub space would remain as a bar/nightclub, “and the much-cherished Library Bar will also remain a core part of the hotel and its identity”.
Third parties now have the option to appeal the Council decision to An Bord Pleanála.