News is mixed for the city center this morning, as clothing chain GAP has confirmed it will close its store on Opera Lane – while publican Benny McCabe plans to open two large complexes of bars, restaurants and entertainment in the city center.
McCabe, who runs some of Cork’s most iconic pubs – including The Mutton Lane, The Oval, Bodega and Rising Sons Brewery – will take over the old Pav nightclub on Carey’s Lane, on the site of the old Pavilion cinema.
And his company has also applied for a building permit for the former USIT travel offices at the Grand Parade end of Oliver Plunkett Street, to take what is one of the largest empty premises on the famous Old Street. and transform it into a heritage style bar, retain the best features of the building and create an elegant bar and restaurant.
If it goes ahead, it will be the second new bar to open at the top of Cork’s First Pedestrian Street, with the very stylish Conway’s Yard which has recently brought Grafton Lane back to life with outside seating and a terraced courtyard with balcony.
Both projects – the unnamed McCabe’s Bar and Conway’s – could help revive Oliver Plunkett Street as an all-pedestrian, shopping, strolling, food and entertainment street.
New outdoor facilities on Princes Street and other newly pedestrianized streets such as Maylor, Marlboro and Caroline Streets have seen Oliver Plunkett Street become a magnet for Leesiders and visitors to the city in these times of travel restrictions.
Well-established pubs in the area, including the much-loved pair of Canty’s and Counihans, have made a major effort in outdoor seating and new facilities to operate now and in the future.
McCabe’s Pav project will bring a stylish European-style bar, restaurant and entertainment complex to Carey’s Lane – with the possibility of a cinema / performance space in the large vaulted hall upstairs – which housed the Pav nightclub and more recently Dali.
His project to revive two large premises that are currently empty, in the heart of the city, will represent an investment of several millions. The announced price of the Pav was 1.3 M € while major works including a new entrance and a total renovation are planned for the old USIT office.
But in the morning, we learned that another big retailer on Patrick Street was going to close – that’s a big vote of confidence in the future of downtown.