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09th Aug 2018

Publican Liam LaHart on the derelict site in Temple Bar that became a haven for beer lovers

Tony Cuddihy

Temple Bar

Owner Liam LaHart explains why the Porterhouse in Temple Bar ushered in a new kind of pub in Dublin.

It may not have been easy, and they may have encountered some dirty tricks on the way, but Porterhouse Co-Founder Liam LaHart will count the decision to open the Porterhouse on Parliament Street in Dublin as one of the best of his life so far.

“The reason we were able to put a brew pub into Temple Bar was because it was a derelict site and a small bar there,” he says of the decision to open up in 1996.

Speaking on The Architects of Business, in partnership with EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™, he added: “The timing was good. I remember that year we opened, Ireland got the EU presidency and City Hall (just up the road) is where a lot was happening, so there were a lot of journalists and EU people coming over. Parliament Street became a great street and people were into change.

“You have to bear in mind there was a drought of beers in Dublin at that stage, even in ’96 we were well ahead of our times.”

When asked by host Tadhg Enright if he felt proud of what he’d built – along with his cousin and late business partner Oliver Hughes – with the Porterhouse on Parliament Street, Liam said that he was but that he may have also created a rod for his own back.

“We were an oasis in the middle of the desert (at that time in the mid-to-late ’90s),” he reveals. “People had to come and seek us out. Now everyone (is selling craft beer) and in some way we have to reinvent ourselves. We have to prove we’re not the old boys, that we’re still making different beers.”

Liam also explains why it is now the perfect time to be a publican at a good location in Ireland, given how tough bigger breweries are finding it to get their taps on counters.

Listen to the full show here…

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