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'We're being thrown under bus', insists boozy brunch bar owner


The Berlin Bar on Dame Street. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The Berlin Bar on Dame Street. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The Berlin Bar on Dame Street. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Restaurateur Jay Bourke has defended footage from his Dublin bar which showed a barman pouring drinks into dancing punters' mouths, saying it "looked terrible, but ain't that terrible".

The 'Baked Brunch' event, which took place in Berlin D2 bar and restaurant in Dublin's Dame Lane on Saturday afternoon, kicked off at 1pm and ended at around 5pm.

Mr Bourke, said he was "embarrassed" about the clip but added that he is annoyed by calls for the venue to lose its alcohol licence.

He said that he "understands" coronavirus because he had it himself.

"I was appalled at the video, very unhappy indeed. Embarrassed, actually," he said.

He said he interviewed staff and reviewed CCTV footage of the four-hour long event yesterday and has been to the gardaí.

"Unfortunately at 3.50pm one of my barmen decided to jump on the bar, pour some whiskey into four people's mouths and it looked absolutely horrific.

"It looked as if it was gone bananas.

"In fact, when you look at the CCTV footage of the whole premises, it was pretty well controlled.

"That footage does not reflect what went on that day at all," he told RTÉ Radio One's Morning Ireland. "It looks terrible, but it ain't that terrible."

The Licensed Vintners Association denounced the scenes. "This is outrageous and appalling. That business should be shut down immediately," it said.

Mr Bourke said it's not up to the LVA or the Restaurants Association of Ireland to decide the future of the premises "on the basis of a 20-second clip".

"I understand Covid because I had it and I don't want anyone to get it.

"So for them to throw us under the bus, to me, is something they said without any information and I'm a little bit annoyed about it frankly."

He said 51 people attended the premises and all PPE and contact-tracing guidelines were adhered to and that a HSE inspection took place on Wednesday.

Footage on social media shows groups of people at separate tables and enjoying meals at the beginning of the event.

They were asked to stay in boxes which were marked by tape on the floor, however revellers were dancing together towards the end of the event.

He said it was a "very controlled environment".

"I'm not excusing that video or what that particular barman did, but I have to be objective about my own position as an operator and say, 'What did we do wrong?' and how we're never going to let that happen again.

"It was just a mad moment and unfortunately we're trying to pick up the pieces and get everyone back to work."

He said the barman pouring spirits into the mouths of revellers was "naughty".

"The barman, you know, was naughty but he's young and they got excited and the customers are young and it was a moment of exuberance, I suppose.

"It's my job as an operator of clubs and pubs and all that kind of thing to keep the exuberance of the young under control and under normal circumstances, I do," he said.


"Is it appropriate for young people to have fun?" he answered when asked if the brunch was appropriate in the middle of a pandemic.

"We regret putting the brunch on, we wish we hadn't because we are in a maelstrom of media and people have gotten death threats through social media and we're being hung out to dry.

"But from my own point of view, I am happy, except for that moment, that it was properly run and socially distanced and professionally run."

Dr Gabriel Scally, last night told the Herald the State must act legally against any businesses aiding the spread of the virus through neglect, after the concerning "trend" of spread in every county.

Dr Scally said: "The Government needs to take extremely strong action when anyone is putting others at risk, as this is verging on criminal activity because lives are at stake.

"The State can alter the law, pass emergency legislation to take away people's licences, close businesses that are not protecting public health, including pubs."

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the footage showed "reckless actions".