Cork eateries prepare for reopening

Cork eateries prepare for reopening

Chris Weldon and Rory Murphy of O'Dwyers of Cork in one of their new outdoor pods.

Final preparations are underway at pubs serving food and restaurants across Cork ahead of their reopening at the weekend following the second lockdown.

Chris Weldon of O’Dwyers of Cork said that bookings have been ‘non-stop’ since the reopening was announced.

“It’s a lot busier than the first lockdown. It’s massive, it’s Christmastime, people are coming out of the second lockdown and they kinda know what to expect, they know they have to book.”

The pub has invested in five wooden outdoor pods to house customers who want to experience outdoor dining this Christmas.

The pods, which are covered over, fully heated and lit, have proved popular online already with people requesting them, but Chris said while they will be taking reservations indoors the outdoor pods will be for walk-ins only.

“The outdoor seating is a big bonus to us. Look around the city, the whole city is going outdoor dining. With Covid and the way things are going, the culture of society is changing, people are booking and people are enjoying the outdoor dining.” 

Mr Weldon said the pods cost around €2,000 each but said they were a worthwhile investment that would pay for itself in time.

“We have been closed for five and a half months of the year, it is time to make something back over Christmas. This isn’t a four-week project this is for next year as well and we might even develop this a bit more if we can with the city council."

Mr Weldon said he had big plans for Little Cross Street, which is currently pedestrianised, alongside O’Dwyers of Cork.

“We will be painting the pods and we would like to make it a little bit more permanent, creating an atmosphere. We have big plans for this street. We like the old street style and were thinking of old street lamps and develop more of an old quarter.

Opening for Christmas, Chris said O’Dwyers has a whole new evening menu ready for guests along with a new cocktail menu.

“We have teamed up with Linehan Sweets and with some of the cocktails you actually get a little bag of sweets with your cocktail,” Chris said.

In terms of the Covid guidelines, Mr Weldon said that they always do table service anyway and with all the nooks and crannies of the pub, they are well set up for opening during the pandemic.

“It’s our bread and butter, we were doing table service anyway.” 

Cork City Vintners Federation of Ireland representative Michael O’Donovan said while he was happy for his colleagues that were reopening, he was disappointed for the traditional pubs that could not.

“Christmas time, you would always have people home from abroad, from Australia to the Arab Emirates and they would pop in for a drink and you would get a sense of how they were getting on. We will miss that, miss meeting the people.” 

Mr O’Donovan said there would be plenty of family time this Christmas and said last Friday night was the first time he got to watch The Late Late Toy Show with his oldest son, who is now 14 years old.

“The family time is great, but from a business perspective, you would always look forward to Christmas Eve in the pub.”

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