Benny McCabe plans coffee shop on Cork’s Pembroke St

Further expansion of hospitality venues on the recently pedestrianised street
Benny McCabe plans coffee shop on Cork’s Pembroke St

McCabe’s plans for a coffee shop at No 5 Pembroke St are contained in a planning application just lodged with Cork City Council. Picture Clare Keogh

Publican Benny McCabe is extending his presence on Cork City’s Pembroke St as he seeks permission for a coffee shop at the premises which had operated as Barry’s Photographic Services.

Benny McCabe Picture: Denis Minihane
Benny McCabe Picture: Denis Minihane

Mr McCabe already owns Arthur Mayne’s pharmacy-turned-wine-bar at 7 Pembroke St, two doors up from No 5, the venue proposed for a coffee shop.

The two venues are separated by Canty’s Bar.

Mr McCabe also owns nearby Crane Lane Theatre, a popular bar and live music venue on Phoenix St, book-ended by Pembroke St and Smith St. Barry’s Photographic Services premises backs onto the Crane Lane venue.

Mr McCabe’s plans for a coffee shop at No 5 Pembroke St are contained in a planning application just lodged with Cork City Council. It comes in advance of the “weather proofing” of Pembroke St which the council pedestrianised earlier this year, as part of the pedestrianisation of Oliver Plunkett St and connecting streets, 17 in total, including Phoenix St.

Five Cork City streets received a €1.3m grant from Fáilte Ireland in September under its weatherproofing and dining enhancement scheme to fund the cost of bespoke weatherproofing infrastructure including parasols, awnings, windbreaks, heaters, festoon lighting, and purpose-built planters.

Pembroke Street 
Pembroke Street 

The weatherproofing and upgrade planned for Pembroke St. 	Image: Meitheal Architects
The weatherproofing and upgrade planned for Pembroke St. Image: Meitheal Architects

The results of that funding are due to be unveiled on three city streets — Caroline St, Beasley St, and Union Quay — at the weekend.

However, the Pembroke St weatherproofing has been delayed until the spring of 2022 to allow the Imperial Hotel, which borders one side of the street, carry out works.

The improvements to the city streets — already evident on Princes St — will aid outdoor winter dining.

Mr McCabe owns about a dozen heritage pubs throughout the city, as well as the former Pav nightclub which is undergoing a revamp.

Those pubs include Sin É, The Mutton Lane, The Oval, the Bodega, Rising Sons Brewery, as well as Black Dog Bar and Nightclub on 52/53 North Main St, for which he has just secured retention permission for change of use from café/restaurant to public house with ancillary café/restaurant.

He is also planning to turn the former USIT offices on the Grand Parade end of Oliver Plunkett St into a heritage-style bar.

The 5 Pembroke St photographic service was previously operated by disgraced former scout leader Dave Barry, who was jailed for five years in June for 29 sexual offences committed against 10 boys in Cork over a 22-year period.

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