'We have almost doubled our seating capacity': Cork restaurant owners excited ahead of indoor dining return

'We have almost doubled our seating capacity': Cork restaurant owners excited ahead of indoor dining return

Paul Montgomery, proprietor at the roof top restaurant in Clancy's on Princes street. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

EXCITEMENT is mounting in some venues across Cork City as indoor dining is set to be permitted next week.

Chris Weldon, who runs Dwyer’s of Washington St, said it is another step towards normality and he is looking forward to welcoming people into his establishment.

“We have been a long, long time without indoor dining, seven or eight months; there is an excitement about getting back to normal,” said Mr Weldon.

He said during the pandemic, Dwyer’s invested heavily in outdoor seating.

“It’s fantastic, we have almost doubled our seating capacity. We can have 120 people indoors and we also have up to 80 people outside as well.”

This increased capacity has meant an increased demand on the kitchen so Mr Weldon said they made the decision to strip back the menu to the most popular items.

While many pubs and restaurants had to chop and change their layout during the pandemic, Mr Weldon said Dwyer’s was already set up to be largely Covid-compliant.

“Dwyer’s was always laid out in lots of little booths and we always worked off a booking system, with little walk-in space,” he said.

The pub manager said, over the past few months, it has been tough not using the venue to its full potential.

“It has been heartbreaking at times seeing the space not being used and there are things we have done, things we have changed, and we can’t wait for people to see.”

Clancy’s on Princes St is also geared up to open its doors to hungry and thirsty patrons.

“We will be seating about 200 people in Clancy’s from Monday,” said publican Paul Montgomery.

“We are catering for about 200 people outdoors at the moment between Princes St and the rooftop garden, so we will have to temper the crowds to manage the kitchen pressure.”

Mr Montgomery, who also runs Atlas on Marlboro St, Conways Yard on Oliver Plunkett St, as well as Kings on Princes St, said it was fantastic to be able to welcome people indoors once more.

“We have managed the outdoor dining for about seven weeks now and it has gone well, but it will be great to offer people the choice and also there will be great relief that we are not counting on the weather to bring in a day or night’s trade.”

While Mr Montgomery is looking forward to opening his doors, he emphasised that this was just another phase on the road to full recovery.

“There are still restrictions and our capacity is still reduced by 50%, we are not close to full numbers and we won’t be until Covid is completely gone.”

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