Sunday 1 February 2015

Rugby stars build 'Bridge' in new bar business

Published 03/09/2014 | 02:30

NO REPRO FEE 02/09/2014 Bellamy's becomes The Bridge 1859. Pictured are Ireland and Leinster Rugby players (l to r) Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip, Dave Kearney and Rob Kearney. After months of speculation, The Bridge 1859 was officially announced today as the name of the Ballsbridge bar formerly known as Bellamy's. Recently acquired by Noel Anderson of The Grafton Lounge alongside Ireland and Leinster Rugby stars Jamie Heaslip, Sean O'Brien and brothers Rob and Dave Kearney, The Bridge 1859 looks forward to welcoming a scrum of customers from the end of September! See for more information. Photo Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
Bellamy's becomes The Bridge 1859. Pictured are its new owners, Ireland and Leinster Rugby players Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip, Rob Kearney and Dave Kearney. Photo Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Rugby star Sean O'Brien will teach trainee bartenders how to pull the perfect pint when he throws open the doors of his new pub The Bridge 1859.

O'Brien, known as the Tullow Tank, and his Leinster team-mates Rob and Dave Kearney and Jamie Heaslip acquired the old Bellamy's bar earlier this year for a reported €1.35m.

They are now on the hunt for experienced bartenders and lounge staff.

O'Brien previously worked in the hospitality industry and "can't wait to get behind the bar to pull a few pints" when the establishment opens on September 25.

"I've always been interested in owning a pub and now that has become a reality," he said.

The rugby-playing consortium and their business partner Noel Anderson christened the establishment, a stone's throw from the RDS and Lansdowne Road, The Bridge 1859 as it "pays homage" to both the history of the building and Ballsbridge itself.

"We also wanted a name that was easy to roll off the tongue standing in the RDS or the Aviva - 'let's go to The Bridge for one'," Heaslip added.

The bar is undergoing extensive renovation ahead of the big opening.

"I think people are going to be really surprised at how the place has been transformed," Rob Kearney said. "We are thrilled with how it's looking."

The watering hole will feature an extended bar counter and a back bar which will serve whiskey and ice-cold cocktails.

Under the guidance of Grafton Lounge owner Mr Anderson, The Bridge should become a firm favourite with rugby set.

"Teaming up with Noel Anderson was a no-brainer," Dave Kearney said. "He has made a huge success of The Grafton Lounge, and we're positive that we can do the same."

It is not the first time Ireland's rugby set have ventured into the hospitality business; Gordon D'Arcy is the co-owner of The Exchequer and Heaslip co-owns restaurant Bear.

Irish Independent

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