The iconic Bewley's café on Grafton Street in Dublin has announced it will close permanently, with the loss of over 100 jobs.
Many have worried that the Covid-19 pandemic will cause the loss of many of our favourite bars, cafés and restaurants, and the first high-profile victim has come in the form of the much-loved Bewley's café on Dublin's Grafton street.
It was announced last night that the café, which is probably the best-known in Dublin, will close permanently with the loss of 110 jobs. The closure has been blamed on the coronavirus pandemic and its associated lockdown, as well as the extremely high rent on the building, which is €1.5 million annually.
Dubliners have been without their iconic café before: it was closed for more than two years between 2015 and 2017 for an extensive refurbishment that cost an astounding €12 million. It was also closed in 2004, yet it has been a presence on Grafton street since 1927, and its loss is already being mourned by Irish people everywhere.
Many childhood memories on grafton street- the diceman, Santa coming to switzers, dad giving me a couple of 20ps to put in my fave buskers’ cases- all centres around a trip to Bewleys for a cream bun. A real Dublin landmark. Please don’t reopen as another faceless store.🙄🤞🏼 https://t.co/tN8RfrcFUT
— Sarah-Jayne Tobin (@TheSJTobin) May 6, 2020
You'd hope the building and any significant interiors are under some form of protection and required to remain in place.
I'm not normally sentimental about this kind of thing but Bewleys is different. https://t.co/NkyoN4T0uI
— Killian Byrne (@killianbyrne) May 6, 2020
With the closure of Bewleys on Grafton St it’s vital that the Harry Clarke Windows are confiscated by the state before they are damaged or sold abroad. Given government monies handed over, over the decades, its mad they don’t belong to the National Gallery as part of our heritage pic.twitter.com/kyBzL4vnFq
— Dr Robert Bohan Artist (@RobertBohan) May 6, 2020
The café was beloved not just for its prime position on Grafton Street, but its unique interiors, including stained glass windows by Irish artist Harry Clarke, marble-topped tables and mahogany panelling.
As well as its huge rent costs, the social distancing measures that would be required when the café was allowed to reopen were cited as a reason why the business was no longer viable by owner Paddy Campbell. It is thought this would prevent them running at enough capacity to cover costs.
The Irish Times reported that Bewley’s has not paid its rent for the second quarter of the year. This has led to it receiving a 21-day statutory demand from the landlord threatening to close the company for non-payment.
It is not yet known what will happen to the iconic building, but it will be hard for anything that takes its place to be so widely well-loved as Bewley's was.
Featured image: Bewley's
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