The South Strand – New Wetherspoon Pub Opens in Dublin

The British chain of pubs, JD Wetherspoon has opened a third Dublin City Centre bar and restaurant in Grand Canal Docks. The new premises are located in the former HQ Restaurant and Gastro Bar and the Nutbutter premises at Hanover Quay and Forbes St.

As the last-minute touches were being done travel2ireland paid a visit to the South Strand yesterday to see the progress. The place was a hive of activity with bar staff stocking the shelves with drinks and glasses, workmen erecting the signs and the vacuum cleaner being kept busy. The kitchen was ready to go, just waiting for customers. 

It seemed that everything was under control for today’s opening, a two-day delay on the original opening date of 7 December. JD Wetherspoon acquired these premises in 2019 but postponed the €4million redevelopment until now. 

The premises are set over two floors, with extensive outdoor seating on two sides. The lower ground floor bar is designed in the style of a library and has the feel of a mahogany-clad library of old. Clever light wells in the ceiling bring natural light into this space. 

On the ground floor, the layout is in an L-shape with wood-panelled booths, high tables and a bright area overlooking a leafy courtyard of the nearby residential building. Over the bar is a metal installation to evoke the steam-driven cranes that were a regular feature on the docks in days gone by. 

As is the usual Weatherspoon style, the bespoke carpet design, with overlays of dark and warm colours and patterns, aims to evoke familiar memories of 19th-century Dublin city. Custom-made column lighting provides a modern take on the traditional style dockside pub.  

There are reclaimed pieces of panelling, cast ironwork, maritime memorabilia and ceiling tiles. Beer barrels have been repurposed into stools with padded leather seats. There is packaging from the old Raleigh Bicycle factory now revived as table tops. The walls have lots of interesting art with historical references to this area of Dublin.

The South Strand will be managed by Galwayman Luke Mannion who has spent 12 years with JD Wetherspoon in the UK. Mr. Mannion was happy to be back in Ireland nine of the initial staff of 85. Staff numbers are expected to rise to more than 125 in 2022. 

Craft and World Beers

The new pub name refers to the history of its location on the south dock, once a large area of ‘marshland, sprinkled with an occasional apple tree’. On one of the earliest maps of the city of Dublin, drawn by De Gomme in 1673, there are no buildings marked on the south side of the River Liffey. This marshy riverside area is named on De Gomme’s map as South Strand. 

The South Strand will specialise in real ales, as well as craft and world beers, serving a wide range of different draught ales, as well as bottled beers, including those from local and regional brewers. There are some special beers for the festive season.


There will be a capacity for more than 400 guests in this new premises. It will be open for family dining, with children, accompanied by an adult, welcome in the pub up until 9pm, through the week.  There is step-free access and a specially adapted accessible toilet for customers with disabilities. Opening hours will be from 8 am until 11.30 pm Monday to Thursday and 8am until 12.30am on Friday and Saturday and 8 am until 11 pm on Sunday.Food will be served throughout the day, from opening until 11 p.m., every day. 

The South Strand is bound to become a local for the many IT industry specialists that work in this area for Google, Indeed, Hubspot and soon TikTok. 

See our video here.

Joan Scales
Joan Scales
Award-winning journalist, Joan has been writing about travel and tourism for many years principally for The Irish Times and lately for travel2ireland. Joan has appeared many times on television and radio talking about the business of travel and all its component strands. She is also a public speaker and has appeared at many international conventions and conferences.

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