The Long History Behind The Bankers Bar
The Bankers Bar sits in the heart of Dublin City at the corner of Trinity Street and Dame Lane. The area has in recent years become one of the city’s most popular destinations for the night out and is home to a disparate selection of quality establishments such as The Bankers, The Stag’s Head, the Mercantile, 4 Dame Lane and many others. The Bankers has plenty of history and we took a few minutes to catch up with its owner Alan Campbell to find out a bit more.
As it’s the centenary year of the 1916 Rising we wanted to know what the pub was like a hundred years ago. It was indeed a public house back in 1916 and was owned by Simon Tormey from Mullagh Co. Cavan who ran it with his brother. At the time it was known as the Trinity Bar and was apparently a popular watering hole with the students of that famous university. The bar escaped damage during the Rising but Simon did receive £28 in damages to other property in Aldborough Sq and North Strand. Simon Tormey died on the 23rd December 1927 aged 66 leaving the pub to his nephews and nieces and he was buried in his native Mullagh Co. Cavan.
If we go further back in history there are some clues to the current name of the bar as it was originally used as a bank and still has old, unused safes and vaults in the depths of the building. The bar itself when it opened was one of the smallest in the city, occupying only the smaller front part of the old Georgian building. Over time the bar was extended to include yards at the side of the building and today features an elegant first floor dining room in addition to the ground floor bar.
One other historic connection is with Whiskey. These days the bar serves almost 70 Irish Whiskeys but back in 1779 it was home to Kinihan Whiskey which became one of the most popular whiskey brands during the 19th Century and was exported to Britain and North America. After disappearing from the market in 1988 Kinihan’s returned recently and are even back in Trinity Street where they began.
The bar changed hands on a number of occasions during the 20th Century, at one stage it became known as Dick Purcell’s and was bought again in 1985 by which time it was the Bankers. Alan, the current owner, became manager of the Bankers in 1997 and bought the pub over in 2004 and can often be found behind the bar himself.