South Dublin publicans are spending big on renovations to their premises in the hope of increasing turnover.

In a bid to attract a more sophisticated customer, major renovations are taking place in numerous South County Dublin pubs, however a large turnover is required to recoup the initial investment.

Time was that an Irish bar was judged not by the colour of its decor but by the quality of its pint.

Pub clientele are growing more discerning and are just as likely to be concerned about where they drink as to what they drink.

With this in mind, The Orchard pub in Stillorgan, County Dublin is undergoing a major face-lift. It’s old slate roof has been removed and it is being replaced with a traditional thatch roof.

Owner David Lavin is spending over a quarter of a million pounds on the renovation, but says investment on this scale is not unusual in Dublin.

P McCormack and Sons in Monkstown was bought for £450,000 and Kielys of Donnybrook sold for £875,000. Between purchasing and renovations, a total investment of £1.5 million was made on The Goat in Goatstown.

It’s now show business really.

David Lavin reckons the South County Dublin is the toughest market and he calculates £10 million has been spent on revamping pubs in the area in the last three years.

If the investment pays off a well run bar can make gross profit margins between 35% to 38%.However turning a profit is becoming more difficult as renovations are becoming more expensive and so has the cost of buying a pub.

Clearly those making six figure investments need a large turnover but,

If you know the trade and you want to work hard at it, then you’ll succeed.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 13 October 1988. The reporter is Bryan Dobson.