Monday 26 February 2018

Landlord to open booze-free pubs on Good Friday

Aine de Paor

They are the pubs with no beer: one of the country's best-known publicans yesterday announced that he will open a number of his pubs this Friday in a challenge to the traditional Good Friday trading ban.

Charlie Chawke's string of bars in the capital, in Co Kildare and the Co Limerick village of Adare will open for business on Friday -- but with one big difference. They won't be serving any alcoholic drinks.

Mr Chawke said his decision to open the premises is not a breach of the law because no alcohol will be served. The eight bars will offer food and soft drinks for Leinster fans keen to watch the Magners League rugby clash.

That game prompted the court ruling last week that will allow bars in Limerick to open on Good Friday night. Now Mr Chawke is challenging the ban by opening his bars in areas not covered by the court order.

The millionaire publican said that he will be acting within the law when he opens and explained that bar owners have until now been held back by confusion over the licensing laws. "There was a bit of an ignorance about it," he said. "Good Friday licensing dates back to 1927 and if you look it up you'll see section four where pubs cannot open.

"But that was superseded by the 2000 act which states that you can open your premises as long as you are only carrying out non-licence business. So people didn't really read into that but it has come to light now and that's part of the new act.

"Publicans can open their premises but they cannot have drink for display and they cannot allow it to be consumed on the premises."

The Dublin pubs open on Good Friday are: The Dropping Well in Milltown; The Goat Bar and Grill in Goatstown; The Orchard in Rathfarnham; The Oval and The Bank in the city centre. In Lucan The Lord Lucan will be trading and in Adare, Bill Chawke's and Aunty Lena's will be open.

This is the first time that pubs will trade on Good Friday, and Mr Chawke said his pubs will be open from 9am until 11pm.

Irish Independent

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