Limerick’s ‘Bank bar’ up for sale at distressed auction

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

A LIMERICK pub opened amid fanfare by the notorious rogue trader Nick Leeson a decade ago, after being bought for €2m, will be up for auction next month – for a fraction of its original value.

A LIMERICK pub opened amid fanfare by the notorious rogue trader Nick Leeson a decade ago, after being bought for €2m, will be up for auction next month – for a fraction of its original value.

The Bank bar and restaurant on O’Connell Street has a reserve of just €395,000. It was previously an AIB branch, and has been up for sale for a number of years since the company that ran it, Abbar Limited, went into receivership.

It is understood that Bank of Scotland had been applying pressure to local receiver Grant Thornton to sell the premises.

A number of offers for undisclosed sums had been made in the past, but none were accepted.

Now, the property is set to go under the hammer at the Allsop Space property auction in the Shelbourne hotel in Dublin on May 3 among 106 lots.

A spokesperson for Allsop Space said the bar, which occupies a key position at 63 O’Connell Street in the city, is the “highlight” of Limerick properties up for sale.

It has already been viewed by a number of interested parties. The Bank premises once featured the Rogue Traders restaurant, along with framed front page reports from The New York Times on the Wall Street crash and other seismic financial events.

It is also the seventh most expensive property in the auction, followed by six-figure price-tag buildings in Dublin, Killarney and Waterford.

However, one local agent said these auctions are setting a “poor benchmark” for property in Limerick, and was disappointed with its “very low” reserve in this auction. “It’s a shame to see the pub the way it has gone. But with the nightclub business and all the pubs being located downtown it lost out. The premises was packed when it started, with fine dining on the first floor and you had to book a week in advance. The place was heaving,” said one businessman.

The premises was bought by Monaleen Michael Costello, now aged 46, who undertook extensive renovations following the purchase.

The Limerick Leader understands he is now living in Lanzarote, where he is said to be “successfully operating” two bars, while his brother Richard runs The Locke Bar in the city. He was also in charge of Rackett Hall, a popular roadside hotel in Roscrea, which was recently for sale for €7m. An application is due to the made to the Circuit Court for the renewal of a license to sell alcohol in The Bank, and is due to be heard on May 8. The entire portfolio of property up for auction equates to €12.2m. Allsop said they are keen to replicate the sale of their last auction in March, which had a 95% success rate.