It looks like being a good year for the Dublin pub trade.
A survey by the Licensed Vintners Association finds two out of three Dublin pubs are expecting growth, most expect to hire additional staff, and 60% are planning to expand their food business.
LVA Chief Executive Donal O'Keeffe says their survey shows the outlook for Dublin is positive.
“Our survey shows that the outlook for the Dublin pub trade is very positive for the year ahead. Most Dublin pubs expect to see their main business and their food business grow over the course of 2019. We can also expect to see the level of staffing in Dublin pubs continue to increase, with five additional employees (two full-time, three part-time) being added on average to the roster," he said.
"That is an encouraging development and one that again highlights the importance of the trade as a significant employer in this city."
However, the survey data is further evidence of a growing ‘two-tier’ outlook in the tourism and hospitality industries between Dublin and the rest of the country, Mr O'Keeffe acknowledged.
“This optimism would seem to confirm the growing discrepancy throughout the tourism and hospitality sector, with a two-tier system developing. Tourism and hospitality businesses in Dublin are thriving, while widespread reports would suggest the conditions in other parts of the country are more difficult for all businesses in this sector."
Among the challenges facing pubs in the capital are staffing issues, Brexit and the rising cost of insurance.
“While the situation is more positive in the capital, it also has to be acknowledged that there are still challenges facing Dublin pubs. There are serious concerns about staffing, with pubs finding it hard to get the right staff and to keep them.
"This is also putting pressure on wages throughout the sector. While the 50% jump in insurance costs and the difficulty in tackling insurance fraud is another key concern.
"The majority of Dublin publicans are also worried about Brexit and what impact that will have on the tourism trade," Mr O'Keeffe outlined.
"The decision to hike the hospitality VAT rate is deeply worrying in terms our tourism competitiveness."