Cobh's small town bistro with global clientele

Gilbert’s in Cobh central location puts it in prime position to capitalise on the growing cruise liner trade, reports Catherine Shanahan
Cobh's small town bistro with global clientele

Gilbert’s in Cobh central location puts it in prime position to capitalise on the growing cruise liner trade, reports Catherine Shanahan

Gilbert’s Bistro and Townhouse in Pearse Square, Cobh, has a 60-seater ground floor restaurant with modern kitchen, overhead bedrooms and top floor penthouse.
Gilbert’s Bistro and Townhouse in Pearse Square, Cobh, has a 60-seater ground floor restaurant with modern kitchen, overhead bedrooms and top floor penthouse.

It’s been a popular part of Cobh’s foodscape for almost a decade and as the current tenancy expires, Gilbert’s Bistro and Townhouse comes to market at an annual rent of circa €45,000.

The ready-for-occupancy premises at 11 Pearse Square includes a 60-seater ground floor restaurant with state-of-the-art kitchen and stylish bedrooms overhead, including a top floor penthouse.

Centrally located in one of Cobh’s two historic squares, Gilbert’s is in pole position to capitalise on the growing cruise liner trade, with 120 cruise liners expected to dock at the seaport between March and November this year, coronavirus permitting.

Ann Daly, who managed the Fáilte Ireland-approved bistro from 2009-2015, says the premises, with its basement office and overhead accommodation, is ideally suited to owner management. “It’s a small town restaurant conducive to an owner/manager. Everything can be done on site. You are not running from the office to the business.

“If a chef was interested, they could have their own accommodation overhead in the penthouse,” Ms Daly says of the c 4,000 sq ft property.

The bistro is divided into four sections, and can be scaled up or down if desired, with 26-30 seats in the section fronting on to Pearse Square — with the possibility of adding additional tables outside in clement weather. Towards the rear, seating is divided between three sections and Table 15, a round table that can take 10 people, is a firm customer favourite, Ms Daly says.

The kitchen area is also subdivided into the chef’s main area, and a galley divided for food preparation/washing up/baking. The restaurant has a ground floor toilet for customers with reduced mobility, as well other WCs and office.

The four bedrooms on the first and second floors are ensuite doubles, with the option of twin beds, while the top floor self-contained penthouse is also a double with separate bathroom, a spacious sitting room, and an open-plan kitchen.

During Ms Daly’s time in charge, Gilbert’s hosted a number of notable events, including a celebration in 2012 to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, whose last port of the call was Queenstown, now Cobh.

The fully-licensed premises also has a licence to host civil weddings, and has done so in the past.

Ms Daly and auctioneer Johanna Murphy of Johanna Murphy & Sons said they are hopeful that whoever takes over the premises will maintain “the townhouse ethos” and continue to offer “affordable dining in classy surroundings”.

Ms Murphy, incoming president of Cobh and Harbour Chamber of Commerce, said the building had been “sympathetically restored, but with a contemporary edge” prior to its opening in 2009..

The premises has been unoccupied since October and is ready for new tenants, with the rent negotiable, Ms Murphy said, adding that they are “open to proposals”.

Ms Daly said the restaurant had, in the past, lent itself as an exhibition space for homegrown and overseas artists, including the famous Murdo Macleod photograph of Roy Keane holding a raven’s head, which now hangs in the Crawford Art Gallery.

Details: Johanna Murphy 0862626026 or johannamurphy.com

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