Guinness Storehouse unveils €16m plan to double the size of the Gravity Bar
The Guinness Storehouse is planning on pouring €16m into expanding its Gravity Bar in a plan which will see it doubling in size.
The development at the Dublin 8 tourist attraction will see the capacity of the city's highest bar being increased from about 250 people up to 550.
The company hope to start the building work, which is subject to planning permission, early next year and reach completion in 2019, just ahead of its 20th anniversary.
Last year saw 16.5m tourists visiting the attraction and Guinness Storehouse deputy general manager, Joe Higgins, said its doors will remain open throughout the period of construction.
He said the decision was taken to expand the panoramic bar after listening to tourists' feedback, who felt it was getting too cramped during peak periods as it was the last stop in the storehouse tour.
"Since the storehouse opened in 2000, right up until this year, we have invested in the region of €28m so every area of the building has been revitalised," he told independent.ie.
"So taking all that into account and listening to our visitors, the Guinness storehouse Gravity bar in peak periods the comfort levels were becoming a concern.
"Having invested in every other area internally, this was an obvious one to focus on. In essence, we will now be able to double the footprint and go from hosting 250-270 visitors up to 500-550 so we will increase comfort levels. The dwell time can go up and all of our visitors can take in even better panoramic views of the city."
He said the Dublin 8 in general has received considerable investment in recent times, with companies including Teelings whiskey and Alltech opening nearby.
"There's a lovely vibrancy around the area and hopefully long may that continue because it's a lovely neighbourhood, close to the city," he added.
The plan was unveiled by Guinness Storehouse MC Paul Carty this morning and he said the plan showed Diageo's commitment to the Liberties area of Dublin.
Failte Ireland chief executive officer Paul Kelly described it s a "very exciting development for tourism in Dublin" and a great vote of confidence in the future of the tourism sector from the company.