Rugby stars convert The Bridge 1859 pub investment into solid earner

The flagship Dublin pub co-owned by Irish rugby international stars Jamie Heaslip, Seán O’Brien and brothers Rob and Dave Kearney enjoyed bumper profits last year, newly-filed accounts show.

The four Leinster and Ireland players joined with publican Noel Anderson in driving business forward at The Bridge 1859 pub in Ballsbridge, which formerly went under the name Bellamy’s prior to the consortium purchasing it for €1.35m two years ago.

The new accounts — for the consortium’s Herbert Inns Ltd vehicle — show that the Bridge 1859 pub generated profits of €287,865 for the 12 months to the end of last February.

That marked a four-fold increase on the €68,242 profit generated in the relaunched pub’s first year of business.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Anderson said “the business is going very well. It is going from strength to strength”.

He added the rugby stars are playing “a big role” in the running of the pub and are seen regularly on the premises.

“[It’s a] bigger role than I thought they would have at the start, to be honest, but they are very involved and I think it gives them a good ‘out’ from rugby.

“It takes their mind off the game and they can see that we are on to a winner here,” he said.

The players’ exploits on the rugby field did business no harm with Mr Anderson noting the pub enjoyed record revenues on the day of the recent Ireland v New Zealand match at the Aviva Stadium.

The success of the pub resulted in the business purchasing the restaurant next door and extending into it to form a sizeable area for eating.

“The extra capacity we now have for match days is key,” said Mr Anderson, adding he has high hopes for 2017 with the Aviva due to host — as well as two of Ireland’s Six Nations fixtures — two very high profile music concerts by Justin Bieber and Robbie Williams.

“Ballsbridge is the gift that keeps on giving,” said Mr Anderson.

Numbers employed by the pub last year totalled 24, with staff costs amounting to €539,585

The success of The Bridge led the consortium to open a second pub, in Dublin city centre, in the summer. Lemon & Duke — located close to Grafton Street and taking its name from two adjoining streets — is, in essence, an overhaul of The Grafton Lounge, which was also owned by Mr Anderson.

Mr Anderson said yesterday that its early performance has been more than promising.

“It is trading out of its skin. I am very happy with it.”


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