Benny McCabe: Pana ban boosting after-work pub culture

Benny McCabe: Pana ban boosting after-work pub culture
Benny McCabe Picture: Des Barry.

THE controversial ban on private cars on Patrick Street may be hurting retailers but publicans say it’s driving large numbers of people towards a roaring after-work pub trade.

Leading publican Benny McCabe has said the so-called ‘Pana Ban’ — a ban on private cars on Patrick Street between 3pm and 6.30pm daily — has resulted in a new after-work pub culture that has boosted local bars.

Mr McCabe, who owns 11 pubs in the city, including The Oval, Mutton Lane, Crane Lane and The Vicarstown, said that there has been an unintended benefit of the Pana Ban that more people are taking the bus and having a pint after work.

The publican said: “Now you have pubs on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, seeing an after tea/after work drinking environment that we never had in the city before.

“Cork never had an after-work drinks thing, now it has.”

Fellow publican Ernest Cantillon, who runs Electric and Sober Lane, agreed that trading hours have certainly gotten busier earlier and that 6pm to 10pm are now a lot more popular than 10pm to 2am.

“Public transport has made a lot of difference to Dublin, for example, pubs that are on the Luas are busier.”

Mr Cantillon said that the earlier hours were more personable, more social and created more opportunities for business owners such as himself.

“If someone goes out and spends a €100 in a nightclub, on a lash of Red Bulls, they have been a very profitable customer for one night, but the next morning they are there saying ‘never again.’

“But if you have someone who spends €30 on a pizza and a pitcher and then they say ‘see you next week for the match,’ it is more sustainable.”

Mr Cantillon said while some people view change as bad, he saw it as an opportunity.

“For us, if people are changing the way they socialise, in a way that makes it more personable for us and for employees, that’s great.

“We get our business done earlier in the day.”

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