Gucci and Guinness ... Brown Thomas hoping to open an in-store pub

Brown Thomas has applied for a full pub licence

Ray Managh

Most men would do almost anything to swap an afternoon's shopping for a few hours in the pub - now luxury department store Brown Thomas might just have the answer.

The Grafton Street store is applying for a full pub licence as part of its plans to refurbish its third-floor restaurant, a court has heard.

The Circuit Licensing Court was told that those waiting could "anaesthetise" themselves against the impending shopping bill.

Counsel for Brown Thomas, Constance Cassidy SC said the store had been operating a wine license in its restaurant for the last 40 years.

Ms Cassidy said that the store wished to improve matters for customers, and in particular for partners and spouses who had to wait around while the shopping list was completed.

Judge Raymond Groarke, was told by Ms Cassidy that those in waiting could at least "slightly anaesthetise" themselves against what spouses and partners would spend.


Lorraine Bedford, health and safety compliance manager with Brown Thomas, told the court the store wished to make a full drinks menu, including beer and spirits, available to customers and those who, at the moment, just had to sit around while their money was being spent.

Frank Kenny, of Kenny Kane architects, produced historical maps showing developments at the Grafton Street-Wicklow Street development over the last 300 years.

He said that since the early 1700s, maps showed various developments up to the acquisition by drapers Switzer & Co - which was bought out by Brown Thomas - of sites for development in the area.

Mr Kenny told Ms Cassidy it was clear from the sequence of historical maps that the individual buildings, which included two old pub licenses in Wicklow Street had been demolished to facilitate construction of the Switzer block.

He said planning permission had been granted for a new kitchen and carvery area, dry goods and refrigerated storage areas, dining areas and staff facilities.

Ms Cassidy added that Brown Thomas & Co Ltd had bought out an extinguished full pub license from Falcon Irish Pubs Limited, which owned Ned McKnights in Main Street, Cappamore, Co Limerick.

Brown Thomas had asked the Circuit Licensing Court for a Declaratory Order which, if plans are completed in accordance with planning permission, will guarantee the refurbished restaurant obtaining a full pub licence. Judge Groarke granted the store a Declaratory Order.