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Brown Thomas could be getting a full pub license

The Grafton Street store is currently refurbishing its third floor restaurant.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

CUSTOMERS IN ONE of Ireland’s leading stores will be able to have a drink before receiving their shopping bill, a judge was told today.

Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke was told this was part of the plan of Brown Thomas in Dublin’s Grafton Street in its application for a legal facility that will ensure it has a full pub license when plans to refurbish its third floor restaurant are completed.

Constance Cassidy SC, counsel for Brown Thomas, said the store had been operating a wine license in its restaurant for the last 40 years and wished to improve matters for their customers and in particular for partners and spouses who had to wait around while the shopping list was completed.

Ms Cassidy, who appeared with barrister Nicola-Jane Andrews and Compton Solicitors, said Brown Thomas & Co Ltd had bought out a full pub license from Falcon Irish Pubs Limited which owned Ned McKnights in Main Street, Cappamore, Co Limerick.

The extinguishing of an existing pub license is a legal necessity for the granting of a new license elsewhere. Brown Thomas had asked the Circuit Licensing Court for a Declaratory Order which, if plans are completed in accordance with planning permission, will guarantee the refurbished restaurant obtaining a full pub licence.

Full drinks menu

Lorraine Bedford, health and safety compliance manager with Brown Thomas, told the court the store wished to make a full drinks menu, including beer and spirits, available to customers and those who, at the moment, just had to sit around while their money was being spent.

Frank Kenny, of Kenny Kane architects, designers, planning consultants and licensing specialists, produced historical maps showing developments at the Grafton Street-Wicklow Street development over the last 300 years.

He said that since the early 1700’s maps showed various developments up to the acquisition by drapers Switzer & Co of sites for development in the area. Switzers had been taken over by Brown Thomas.

Mr Kenny told Ms Cassidy it was clear from the sequence of historical maps that the individual buildings, which included two old pub licenses, in Wicklow Street had been demolished to facilitate construction of the Switzer block.

He said planning permission had been granted for a new kitchen and carvery area, dry goods and refrigerated storage areas, dining areas and staff facilities.

Judge Groarke, who was told by Ms Cassidy that those in waiting could at least slightly anaesthetise themselves against what spouses and partners would spend, granted the store a Declaratory Order.

Read: Brown Thomas is now selling personalised Nutella jars >

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Ray Managh

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