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Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

Plans revealed for new rooftop cinema and outdoor restaurant in Dublin city


by Sarah Finnan
07th Jul 2021

Getty

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Plans are underway to transform the top floor of a multi-storey car park in Dublin city centre into the capital’s first rooftop cinema and open-air restaurant.

Dublin City Council has approved plans for a new rooftop cinema and open-air restaurant in the capital after temporary planning permission was granted. Set to be built atop a multi-story car park on Trinity Street, it’s hoped that the venue will help to draw people back to the area after a decline in visitor numbers over the past 18 months. 

Spearheaded by Derry-born chef Niall Davidson of Table21, many will recognise the name as being the man behind the hugely popular Allta restaurant and wine bar on Setanta Place. Seeking permission for a change of use of the upper storeys of the car park, he was granted temporary planning permission for a maximum period of three years.

Appealing to the council prior to recent government announcements regarding hospitality, the Irish Times reports that he did so as he didn’t believe indoor dining would be allowed to return before the autumn. Closing his Dublin restaurant to relocate to the Boyne Valley, he’s currently busy operating a pop-up summer house on the grounds of Slane Castle. 

Attaching a number of caveats to their approval, DCC has stipulated that the premises’  use be limited to a gallery, licensed outdoor restaurant, and cinema which must close to the public between midnight and 8 am daily. Separate plans to include an outdoor cocktail bar were denied.  

It comes after Pawnbeach, owners of the nearby 4 Dame Lane, raised concerns that the venue could “easily morph into a full rooftop cocktail bar with only a small element of restaurant”. 

Worried about the potential impact the venue would have on their own business, consultants acting for Pawnbeach criticised Table21’s application as being scant on specifics. Noting that there was more emphasis placed on the outdoor cinema/cocktail bar rather than on the workings of a functioning restaurant, they questioned the feasibility of such a project – expressing doubts over whether the proposed kitchen facilities could support an almost 200-seater restaurant. 

Meanwhile, Bashview, the owners of the Trinity Street car park, said that the proposed development would provide a “unique attraction to combat the decline in visitor numbers witnessed over the past 18 months”. Previously announcing intentions to demolish the building, Bashview confirmed that the temporary planning permission would not impact this decision.

Expected to operate on Sundays and early weeknights, it has not yet been confirmed when the rooftop cinema and restaurant will officially open to the public. 

Not the first ones to suggest such an addition to the city’s arts and culture sector, brand agency Outset announced plans for a series of pop-up cinema screenings on the top floor of the Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre back in 2018. Those plans were ultimately scuppered when it was revealed that the venue was not an exempted development and would require planning permission.

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