Wednesday 24 October 2018

Liam O'Dwyer


LIAM O'Dwyer and his brother Des practically invented the giant baroque drinking dens that were the most vivid emblems of Celtic Tigerdom.

Pubs were the family business. O'Dwyer's father, Joe, opened a bar on Dublin's Mount Street in the 1960s and the extended family operated pubs in Dublin and their native Tipperary.

Liam and younger brother Des joined the business in the 1980s. They spent millions expanding and refurbishing O'Dwyer's Bar on Mount Street, turning it into the popular after-office haunt, Howl at the Moon.

In 1991 the brothers paid IR£1.7m for Bartley Dunne's bar on Stephen Street and revamped it into Break for The Border.

The superpub empire building continued; the lavish Kasbah-themed Zanzibar and faux art nouveau-interiored Cafe en Seine opened late and served very expensive drinks.

In 1999 a British leisure group paid over €14m for the business, with Liam and Des taking a 46 per cent share of the new company. Capital Bars was then floated on the stock market. However, in 2002 it delisted following a fierce battle that saw the brothers snatch back control of the company for €9m.

In 2009, a receiver was appointed to Cafe en Seine, The George and the original Howl at the Moon. The O'Dwyers continue to operate Break for the Border, the Dragon Bar and two hotels.

Last results filed for O'Dwyer's Toji Holdings showed €6.3m losses. Toji continues to rely on the support of Nama and the IBRC. The brothers have personal guarantees of €8m attached to bank loans. There's also a waste management business called DSD.

Low-profile Liam is a member of the Elm Park Golf Club and also a keen collector of pub memorabilia.

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