LEADING Cork publican Benny McCabe has said he is looking forward to opening his Heritage Pubs next week, but warned he will be “taking no crap” and barring anyone who breaks the Covid-19 rules.
Mr McCabe, who owns Rising Sons Brewery, Bodega, Crane Lane, Mutton Lane, The Oval, The Vicarstown Bar and Sin É, among others, said “Christmas Day and Paddy’s Day behaviour will not be tolerated” when his establishments reopen.
Currently, pubs serving a "substantial meal" can accept customers but all bars are expected to reopen from next week.
Mr McCabe said he knew a lot of his regular customers were looking forward to going for a pint instead of a meal and said he just hoped “no one will act the maggot.”
He will be following the Government guidelines but insists he will also be maintaining the heritage of his pubs.
“We have to balance the requirement with the fact that these pubs are old and listed.
"You have to do your very best by the buildings but at the same time, the health issues are paramount at the minute.
“We haven’t managed to do too much in terms of butchering, a few tasty partitions and some nice woodwork and the minimum perspex,” Mr McCabe said.
He said there will be signage in his pubs going forward.
“We will do what we have to do, there will be signs on doors, house rules clearly printed and anyone who attempts to ruin it for everyone else will be barred.
"We are not taking any crap. Our customers just want to get back on our stools.”
Despite the renovations, Mr McCabe said he was confident in maintaining the integrity of the heritage pubs as well as being safe and viable going forward.
“We are very lucky in that our pubs are small but constantly busy. We are busy in the day, we don’t depend on the big Friday or Saturday night, we don’t need to have the big Friday and Saturday night, we just need to be tipping away all week. We are lucky in that way.”
Mr Mccabe said the impact on his pubs isn’t as severe as people who are surviving on three hours on a Saturday night, but he said his one fear is that a small minority will ruin it for the rest.
Reflecting on some scenes outside Dublin bars, he said: “To be punished for that behaviour by not being allowed to open would be cruel and unjust.
“Of course, taking heed of the health crisis is important.
“It came as a surprise to me that some people are not able to behave because that is not our way. Our regulars are well able to behave.
"We love what we do, we love our customers, our pubs and what they stand for and 99.9% of people behave appropriately.”
Gardaí have continued a blitz on bars to ensure Covid-19 guidelines are being adhered to.
A statement from gardaí said: "The vast majority of licensed premises operating were found to be in compliance with regulations and licensing laws.
"But in a small number of cases Gardaí found potential breaches of the health regulations or licensing laws even after providing the premises with the opportunity to rectify the situation. Files will now be prepared for the DPP in each of these cases.
"In many of these cases, Gardaí found customers consuming alcohol, but no evidence of food also being consumed and no evidence of receipts to show that food had been sold."
Meanwhile, the current reopening of bars serving food has created a new outdoors culture on Cork city streets, with many praising a new vibe in the city.