Pantibar pub licence challenged by local residents

In a move that could jeopardise the beloved Dublin LGBTQ+ hotspot, Pantibar, local residents have lodged an objection to the pub's licence.

Pantibar on Capel Street
Image: Pantibar via Facebook

Pantibar is facing challenges from members of a group called Jervis Place Residents, who have objected to the pub’s licence.

The pub owned by Irish LGBTQ+ icon, activist and drag artist, Rory O’Neill (also known as Panti Bliss), is located on Dublin’s Capel Street and is one of Ireland’s best-known hotspots for the queer community.

However, in September of this year, local residents put in an objection concerning Pantibar at Dublin District Court’s annual pub licensing list. Adjourned until yesterday afternoon, November 18, for mention to start case management and have a hearing date allocated by Judge Marie Quirke, reports.

Niki Andrews BL spoke for Pantibar and owner Rory O’Neill, who was not present at court, and called for Judge Quirke to adjourn the case until January so that they could have “opportunity to engage further with the residents” on the license.  Andrews added that “we hope to come to some kind of agreement” on the matter.

Elaine Herbert represented the Jervis Place Residents and told the court of six objectors to the Pantibar licence. Herbert also said that witnesses were representing themselves, although some of them were facing language barriers. Judge Quirke explained that interpreters would be provided by the court to facilitate.


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An adjournment was granted until January 12, when the case will be listed again for mention. According to Judge Quirke, the court would first be dealing with case management issues and then proceed to a full hearing which is set to take place on March 9, 2022.

Self-proclaimed “gender discombobulist” and “National F*cking Treasure”, Panti Bliss is the iconic proprietor of Pantibar and is being fiercely supported by fans online.

One Twitter user said, “Pantibar is an institution and one of few safe Queen spaces in the city. This will sure be defeated and the community will do everything they can to support.”

Pantibar owner Rory O’Neill commenting to GCN on the licence challenge had this to say:

In 14 years we’ve never had a single objection to our licence, and all the complaints in the current objection refer to on-street drinking during the summer of a global pandemic when bars were not allowed to have customers indoors, and about people on a public street – most of whom weren’t even our customers! – and includes complaints about the behaviour of people on the street long after Pantibar was closed for the night.

And of course, the situation to which all of the complaints relate entirely ended months ago when indoor socialising was again permitted.

For 14 years Pantibar has been a valued part of the LGBTI+ community and of Capel St, and in all that time has been a considerate neighbour and has always operated diligently within both the letter and the spirit of the relevant licencing regulations and we will vigorously defend ourselves.

I’ll also note that objecting to a pub’s licence is an attempt to permanently close a business and in our case the would mean the loss of thirty jobs, and before choosing this nuclear option, none of the complainants came and spoke to us about it.


© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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