Bewley’s | Dublin | 2017

Refreshing the capital’s café.

Established in 1927, Bewley’s Grafton Street is one of the most iconic landmarks on Dublin’s busiest high street. The café has been part of the lives of generations of Irish people, so the goal was to honour that heritage while simultaneously creating a fresh space for today.

Bewley’s Grafton Street is in the heart of Dublin, which presented a host of logistical challenges. Things were further complicated by the fact that it is a listed building, which meant that we had to comply with stricter planning regulations.

The potential for unforeseen issues was high, so to protect the client from the possibility of escalating costs, this project was procured through a design and build contract. The contractor was involved from the outset as part of our team, which meant that it was easier to take preventative measures upfront. It also ensured that we had transparency and clear communication throughout the process.

We carefully restored the unique features of the café, including the famous Harry Clarke stained-glass windows, the banquettes, the open fireplaces and the Egyptian-motifed façades. We also opened up the building to let in more natural light and added design elements including black Carlow oyster limestone and white Carrara marble. An open-concept bakery, where customers can see their buns and pastries being made, adds to Bewley’s famous convivial atmosphere.

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Today, Bewley’s Grafton Street is a totally transformed and modernised café. It has more space and light but still retains the essential characteristics that have made it so beloved. The café’s reopening was warmly greeted, with thousands coming from all around Ireland to admire the remodel. It has been reignited as a space, ensuring that new generations will have the opportunity to make their own memories there.


McCarthy & Associates, Scollard Doyle, Gilligan Architects, Barrett Mahoney Consulting Engineers, Richard Dixon & Associates, Property Concepts