Plans lodged to convert rooftop of multi-storey car park into restaurant

If approved, the multi-storey car park, located on Trinity Street in Dublin, would also host an art space, cinema and concert venue.
Plans lodged to convert rooftop of multi-storey car park into restaurant

The Derry-born chef, Niall Davidson, said there was “an appetite for outdoor dining never seen before in Ireland.” File photo: iStock

One multi-storey car park in Dublin city centre is seeking to capitalise on the changed environment brought about by Covid-19 by transforming its rooftop section into an outdoor restaurant and open air cinema.

Plans to alter the upper levels of the Trinity Street car park, which is located behind Dame Street, also include an “immersive art gallery” on the building’s 5th floor.

Table 21 Restaurants, which is owned by chef, Niall Davidson, has applied for a temporary change of use up to a maximum of three years for the top two storeys of the multi-storey car park.

Mr Davidson said he was seeking planning permission for the changes as it was unlikely indoor dining would return in Dublin before the autumn.

The Derry-born chef, who opened Allta restaurant and wine bar on Setanta Place in Dublin in 2019 after returning from a career spent in London, said there was “an appetite for outdoor dining never seen before in Ireland.” 

While Allta was forced to close its doors due to Covid-19, Mr Davidson said he had transformed his business online and was serving around 450 meals per week.

Mr Davidson said he planned to operate the rooftop restaurant and raw bar serving seafood from July to October with opening times of midday to midnight.

“I believe that we can turn Trinity car park into an outdoor space in the heart of Dublin, the like of which has never before existed in the city,” said Mr Davidson.

The chef said the open air restaurant, which will be accessed via the existing pedestrian entrance to the car park on Dame Lane, would be open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Sunday.

“On Monday we will focus on exhibits in the gallery and live socially distant gigs. On Sundays and early week nights there will be an open air cinema,” he revealed.

Mr Davidson said he had obtained legal advice that a special restaurant licence was “achievable.” He said discussions had also been held with Dublin City Fire Brigade which has raised no concerns with the proposed changes to the building.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, all reservations will be managed by prior booking in four-hour time slots for a maximum of six people.

The owners of the Trinity Street car park said the proposed development “specifically addresses the restrictions of social distancing and indoor dining at a time of uncertainty and provides a unique attraction to combat the decline in visitor numbers witnessed over the past 18 months".

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