A prosecution alleging that Dublin's Bad Ass Cafe has been operating as a pub was adjourned today pending legal argument.
Dublin City Council brought a prosecution against Benqueues Ltd trading as ‘Bad Ass Cafe, Temple Bar’ for failing to comply with an enforcement notice issued on 14 July last year stating the premises was in breach of its planning permission.
Council planning inspector Paddy Keogh told Dublin District Court that following a complaint he went to the premises on 25 April last year and sat at the bar. He was asked if he wanted food and said no and asked for a glass of Guinness, which was served. He said there were 20 patrons in the bar area, some seated at the bar and about half of all the customers were drinking and not eating.
He went again on 13 February last and ordered alcohol and was not asked if he wanted food. Mr Keogh said on this occasion there were about 70 patrons and about 90% were drinking and not eating.
Under cross examination Mr Keogh said if someone went into the premises and ordered a glass of wine without ordering food they should not be served.
The court heard the premises, described as the oldest restaurant in Temple Bar, had been granted a pub licence by the Circuit Court in February 2014, but its planning permission stated the serving of alcohol was to be "strictly ancillary" to its "primary use" of serving food.
The Bad Ass Cafe was represented by Constance Cassidy SC and Michael O'Donnell BL who pointed out the enforcement notice issued by the city council stated the serving of alcohol was only permitted "in ancillary to and in conjunction with" the serving of food.
Mr O'Donnell said the council had added the term "in conjunction with", which was not in the planning permission.
He said this was a nonsensical requirement, which meant if there were eight people having a meal one could be asked to leave if they ordered a glass of wine without ordering food.
He added his clients had been charged with something the planning permission did not require.
Mr O'Donnell said his client’s primary use remained being a restaurant.
Judge John O'Neill refused an application to dismiss the charge and the Bad Ass Cafe's legal team asked for an adjournment to prepare legal argument.
The case has been put in for mention in three weeks' time.
It is understood the defence is planning a case stated to the High Court.