Sunday, 31 October 2010

Sweeney's Bar

I went for my constitutional this morning after breakfast, walking past Sweeney's Bar which has been closed since early summer. It awaits a new licensee, if that's the right term.

I am reliably informed that this premises was formerly the coach-house and stabling for Seaport Lodge, once the Leslies' maritime residence (Leslie of Leslie Hill).

I haven't a clue about catering, though that shan't prevent Timothy Belmont from throwing his tuppence-worth in. Clearly whoever takes on Sweeney's will need to know their market well, because a former licensee now owns the local hotel in the village (which, incidentally, thrives).

If I were them, I shouldn't gut the place out - the owner most likely would forbid this at any rate. Personally I'd feel at home within the hallowed, rarefied ambiance and decor of a London club; and, stately homes excepted, the only place that springs to mind in the Province at present would be the Ulster Reform Club (thick carpeting, rich plasterwork, leather seating, opulence etc).

Realistically, though, the new licensee, or lessee, must know their target market very well indeed, including families with children; unless they believe they could survive and prosper without families.

At the risk of bias, I'd say that the Ramore at Portrush harbour must be one of the most successful of its kind on the Causeway Coast, so any new licensee would do well to study their techniques and form, even emulating them to an extent!

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