Since the beginning of May, Rathmines pub Mother Reilly’s have been delivering pints to the doors of customers in the local area. UCD students who reside in parts of South Dublin are among those who can get pints from a keg, straight to their door.
The pint delivery service runs from 4 pm to 9 pm from Thursday to Saturday. The deliverers will pull a fresh pint of Guinness or Heineken out of the back of their car for the price of €5.50. Only a round or at maximum, two rounds of drinks, can be purchased at a time. The pub also has a takeaway food menu and there is a €3 delivery charge for the service.
Customers can be assured that social distancing regulations are kept within this service. David-Owen (right) and Edmund (left) Mahon are the two brothers who own the bar and now have become delivery men. When they deliver the pints, they wear PPE, including face masks and gloves. After each delivery, they change their gloves and also ensure that all the equipment is kept clean.
The customer can choose between a plastic cup or a pint glass. The pint glass does come with a €3 deposit but if a customer chooses to order a delivered pint again in the future, €3 will be taken off that purchase and the glass can be returned then. Otherwise, customers can return the pint glasses when Mother Reilly’s reopens again.
The pub has been delivering mostly to customers in Rathmines, Ranelagh and Rathgar. Since last Monday, there is now the possibility to deliver throughout the whole of Dublin but the brothers are keen to mostly stay within their local area where their regular customers reside. An order can be placed for the service by calling 014975486.
Mother Reilly’s is part of a larger family business, which also includes a 54 bedroom hotel (named Uppercross House Hotel) that is attached to the pub. Ever since the hotel guests emptied out, there had been little work left to do. They felt that “a pint delivery would be something that we could do; that there would be definitely a demand for it”. Fortunately, Edmund had a law degree from UCD, so he discerned how they could deliver this service legally and safely.
They understood that it would be illegal for customers “to consume alcohol within 100 metres of the bar,” that is if it is sold within a closed container like a can or a bottle. Draught beer could be sold instead. They felt that it “would have to be some sort of delivery”. A call and collect service for the pints would not be viable as this could result in “people congregating on the street” near Mother Reilly’s. David-Owen felt that they “wouldn’t really have much way of managing it;” that social distancing measures would inevitably be breached. The brothers also learned that the money would have “to come through on-premises”. This means that they could not accept any cash from customers but instead, the customers would need to phone in the order or pay for it online beforehand.
They have been satisfied with the demand for the service although David-Owen acknowledged they don’t make an “absolute fortune” from it. That was never the main goal for the brothers anyhow. The pint delivery has given them the chance to see the regular customers they had not seen for months. The service also keeps them occupied. “It’s a step up from washing windows I suppose,” David-Owen mused. He views it as a treat for customers, as a slice of normality. Their customers cannot enjoy the many rounds of drinks they might have had during an evening at the pub but their service can capture the memory of those evenings.
The Mahon brothers are not the only people responsible for ensuring the pint delivery service runs smoothly. Laura, a receptionist at Uppercross House Hotel and Edmund’s girlfriend, Franchesca work from reception and liaise with the brothers about the addresses they need to deliver to next. The brothers also have a friend, Sean, who was able to create a rolling system for the boot of their car because of his background in carpentry. Another friend, Murray, who works as a designer, helped to make the setup in the boot look aesthetically pleasing to customers.
There are plans to reopen Mother Reilly’s and because they do have a restaurant license, they hope to open their doors again on the 29th of June. David-Owen admitted that this opening date could be overly optimistic. They will not reopen until they are confident that their staff understand the new guidelines and “everyone is on the same page.” David-Owen feels that if they do not manage to do this by the 29th, “then so be it.” They will take the extra time, whether that is one or two weeks more, if that is what is needed. Mother Reilly’s are fortunate as they recently purchased a garden next to the pub. With this new acquisition of land, they can expand their pub garden. Social distancing will become much easier with this extra space.
The future for Mother Reilly’s will look very different, as will it for every other pub in this country. It will no longer be possible for customers to sit up at the bar, table service only can be offered and all the staff will have to wear PPE. David-Owen recognises that these are necessary precautions in order to stop the “spread of COVID…this terrible disease.” He is looking forward to going back to work but he is conscious that a lot of management will be needed to ensure that not just the customers, but also that the staff in Mother Reilly’s feel safe.
Brigid Molloy – Reporter