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New lease of life for former Bewley's site

The historic Bewley's coffee emporium on Westmoreland Street got a new lease of life when it reopened today -- as a Starbucks store.

It's a new era for the building which has been empty since 2005 and was always one of the most popular cafes in Dublin city.

The cafe has a new mezzanine floor and seats for more than 100 customers on both levels.

Former councillor Damien Cassidy, founder of the Save Bewley's campaign, who has been critical of the neglect of the site, said he was "really pleased" with the development.

Thom Breslin, design director with Starbucks, said: "We have worked hard to bring the site back to life in a way that reflects and maintains the character of a building which is part of Dublin life.

"We've retained the original ornate facade and hope we can build on a great tradition of coffee in the city."



Garish

American food chain TGI Friday's will open to the rear later this week, with an entrance from Fleet Street.

The two multinationals will be operating out of the famous address where coffee was served for more than a century.

The move is being seen by Dublin City Council as a positive development for the street, which has come in for criticism over its garish shopfronts.

In June last year the building was bought by hotel operators the Windward Group, which has run the upper floors as the Fleet Street Hotel since November.

Famous stained glass windows from the building were previously removed and are in safe storage.

One of the works, thought to date back to the late 19th century, is owned by the Bewley family and will not be reinstalled.

It is the work of Joshua Clarke, the father of Harry Clarke who made the stained-glass windows in Bewley's on Grafton Street.

hnews@herald.ie


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