herald

Wednesday 15 August 2018

We'll be back with a Bang, vows Kerr after restaurant fire

BUSINESSMAN Bobby Kerr has said that Bang Cafe will reopen "with a bang" despite the extensive fire at the restaurant.

The exclusive venue on Merrion Row in Dublin was hit by a fire yesterday, closing down part of the city centre street.

But the owner and Dragons' Den star said that damage was minimal and praised the quick reaction of Dublin Fire Brigade.

"The fire was in the upper floor which is mainly in the staff changing room, toilets and laundry area," he told the Herald. "The fire brigade were there in a couple of minutes.

Cleaning

"It looks like it was an electrical fault. Thankfully there were very few people in there at the time -- no customers -- everyone is fine."

Eyewitnesses described how the entire street was engulfed with smoke within minutes.

Bang Cafe was once owned by the Stokes brothers, Simon and Christian, before it was closed in 2010 with debts of more than €2m.

But new owners Bobby Kerr, Anne Barrett and Aislin Barrett reopened the venue, which has a strong celebrity clientele.

The entrepreneur and businessman, who presents Down To Business on Newstalk, said that they were refurbishing.

He said that the fire would push back the date of opening by a few days.

But he was thankful that there was little additional work to do on the building after what could have been a devastating blaze.

"We were in there last night, bit of cleaning up to do. I'd say that we will be ready to open in about four or five days," he said.

"The builders are already in there -- we have been refurbishing the basement. We just have a bit of more work to do.

"It's a remodelling of the existing room -- we'll be opening 'with a bang', as they say."

Mr Kerr sold his Insomnia Coffee chain, of which he owned 51pc, to an Icelandic consortium for €16m in 2008.

He purchased the Bang Cafe from the liquidator in 2010.

clairemurphy@herald.ie

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