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Hub of social scene played host to celebs, actors and presidents

IT was 'the' place to hang out on Saturday afternoons.

The place where the "movers and shakers" of the worlds of politics, law, theatre and media mingled to see and be seen.

Long before the arrival of the social media revolution, the fashionable and fabled Unicorn restaurant was the hub of Dublin's social scene.

Former US President Bill Clinton and U2 frontman Bono were among its customers, along with a host of well-known celebs that included actors, diplomats, politicians and developers.

Other high-profile visitors included Liam Neeson and his late wife Natasha Richardson and former BBC bosses Michael Grade and John Birt.

"People spoke freely and you could be sure of some sort of a story to pick up. It was a port of call for all these people," recalled one regular customer.

Gate Theatre director Michael Colgan described the restaurant's closure as a "very sad" day for him.

He once famously marked Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter's 75th birthday with a party bash in the restaurant in 2005.

He recalled that apart from its importance as a place for big social gatherings, a lot of "serious work" was done there.

"It was the only place in Dublin where I was very happy to walk into and know I'd be sitting talking to somebody. It was the only club I know that didn't have a membership fee. It was the social hub of Dublin.

"Giorgio and his wife Noreen were wonderful and they were terribly generous to me and to the Gate Theatre," he said.

Former justice minister Michael McDowell said it was a very good social place on a Saturday in particular and a place where he enjoyed visiting, especially on Christmas Eve.

Irish Independent