Wednesday 20 September 2017

Bewley's gets new shot of life -- as a Starbucks

Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

A FAMOUS Bewley's cafe yesterday reopened as a Starbucks.

Damien Cassidy, a heritage campaigner from Howth, was the last person to purchase coffee at Bewley's on Westmoreland Street in Dublin when it closed its doors over seven years ago.

And yesterday he became the first person to sip the Starbucks version.

The new Starbucks features a grand mezzanine floor and seats for more than 100 customers on both levels.

A feature of Dublin since Victorian times, Bewley's management blamed changes in dietary habits, increased rents, and the smoking ban as reasons for its demise.

''When I was here on its last day I bought a cherry bun and a white coffee. Needless to say, I ordered exactly the same this morning. I walked through those doors at exactly 12am and it was the most incredible feeling. All these emotions came flooding back," Mr Cassidy (70) said.

"I am 56 years working on Westmoreland Street and the architecture dates back 100 years to when the Bewley family established the business. They had their own farm. They opened shops in Georges Street, Grafton Street and Westmoreland Street and they would bring in their own dairy products to the cafes."

And while the name has changed, some familiar smells and decor have lasted the test of time to make Mr Cassidy feel right at home.

"The seating is slightly different but much of the decor and fittings are the same. The Bewley's premises is a heritage property; what we wanted was for it to be completely restored, and it has been restored. All the windows are protected -- they have done a brilliant job," Mr Cassidy added.

Irish Independent

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