Saturday 19 October 2019

Louis Fitzgerald buys rock pub Bruxelles

Publican and hotelier Louis Fitzgerald
Publican and hotelier Louis Fitzgerald

Fearghal O'Connor

Louis Fitzgerald has bought Dublin pub Bruxelles - a favourite haunt of rock music lovers for generations - adding to his growing portfolio of iconic city centre hostelries.

The deal - believed to have been for about €10m - came about after Fitzgerald approached Bruxelles' long-time owner, and friend, Dave Egan, who has run the pub since the 1970s.

Fitzgerald, who is 50 years in the business, had made an unsuccessful bid for two nearby pubs, the Old Stand and Davy Byrnes. His son Eddie, who works closely with his father, suggested they look at Bruxelles even though it was not for sale.

"We turned the key on Wednesday," said Fitzgerald (73). "This is an iconic type of property just off Grafton Street that does not come up for sale too often. We were looking to purchase a pub in this area because of how successful Kehoes and the Stag's Head have been for us."

The Tipperary-born hospitality veteran and his family now own 21 pubs - also including the Gin Palace, the Quays in both Temple Bar and Galway, and a number of suburban venues - as well as two hotels.

"When I first approached Dave he said no, but I told him to think about it and give me a call, which he did. We've done a very good deal and we are very happy with the business that has run here for a long number of years. The food is something we might look at and we have a new head chef coming in. But it's a pub that fits."

Fitzgerald ruled out putting a bid in for nearby Copper Face Jacks, which owner Cathal Jackson has put on the market for €40m.

"Cathal is a friend of mine for many, many years and I talk to him regularly. I wish him well, but it is not something we would be after now. It's maybe for somebody else, not for us," he said.

But Fitzgerald does have an appetite for more acquisitions in the city centre.

"If a premises as iconic as Bruxelles were to come up again we'd be contenders for it. I love this business. Every morning I get up I want to go to work. Age doesn't matter."

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