Guinness pours €16m into extending Gravity bar
The Guinness Storehouse is aiming high with a €16m plan to double the size of its Gravity Bar.
The St James's Gate brewery is seeking planning permission to increase the capacity of Dublin's highest bar from 250 to 550 people.
If permission is given, work will start early next year and reach completion in 2019, just ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Guinness Storehouse - Ireland's top tourist attraction.
Since it opened in 2000, 16.5 million tourists have visited the Storehouse.
Deputy general manager Joe Higgins said the Storehouse will remain open while the bar is extended.
He said the brewery wanted to expand the panoramic Gravity Bar because it was becoming too cramped during peak periods.
"Comfort levels in the bar were becoming a concern," he said
"Since the Storehouse opened in 2000, right up until this year, we have invested in the region of €28m.
"As a result, every area of the building has been revitalised. Having invested in every other area internally, the extension of the Gravity Bar was an obvious one to focus on.
"In essence, we will be able to double the footprint and host in comfort 500 to 550 visitors.
"The dwell-time can go up and all of our visitors can take in even better and more spectacular panoramic views of the city."
He said the Dublin 8 area has received considerable investment in recent times, including the opening of the nearby Teeling Whiskey Distillery.
The impressive Gravity Bar extension plans were unveiled yesterday morning by Guinness Storehouse managing director Paul Carty.
Last night, local residents were invited in to look at the plans and offer feedback, with Mr Carty saying that he hoped there would not be any objections.
"We would like to think we've been good neighbours over the years and have behaved responsibly," he said.
"We're 17 years in business, we've had 16 million people through the doors. I think we've been very good, but you never can tell and you never know.
"I'm hoping that people will work with it because it's for the betterment of the area."