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23rd Jul 2020

Whelan’s announce reopening date with reduced capacity and other safety measures

James Fenton

Whelan’s have confirmed that they will be reopening as a bar and music venue on August 10.

As things stand, pubs that don’t serve food will be allowed to open on this date and that’s what Whelan’s are planning to do. The iconic Wexford Street music venue has issued an update this morning with a number of new measures in place. However, they stress that this is not the ‘new normal’ – it’s the ‘temporary finding your feet normal’.

Given the current situation though, visitors to Whelan’s in August will notice some changes to what they are used to. The venue states that: ‘Whelan’s is delighted to be returning, to be coming out of musical hibernation, after our Covid winter. But we haven’t been sleeping, we’ve been planning on how to make the venue safe for everyone who has the live music bug. We’ve also been working to make sure that we can run shows with safety at the forefront. For the staff, the performers and of course our music-nut customers who need their sonic fix.’

This morning’s statement goes on to outline these safety measures by saying: ‘In the short term, at least, we need to limit our capacity and are only running shows in our main venue. This means that a capacity of 450 has become 88 with all shows being seated. Sales will be by the table, so 2,4 or 6 people at a table.’

Some music genres that are synonymous with Whelan’s will be withdrawn for a while as the statement continues: ‘It seems prudent to limit the number of people performing and the genres of music we can cater for as well. So for the first few weeks of gigs it will be more acoustic or electronic in nature. We can’t expect people to stay routed to a seat when an eight piece rock band is tearing up the stage. We’re all human after all. It’s hard to fight the urge to join in when a band is in full flow.’

Whelan’s do have some new ideas up their sleeve on how to keep their loyal clientele satisfied and they are outlined as follows: ‘Expect more solo acoustic acts and trad and folk. Expect up and coming comedy shows. And even the odd (possibly in every sense of the word) table quiz. But the main thing is we are open for creativity. For people creating magic on our stage.’

Safety measure for visitors to Whelan’s include:

  • Assigned Seating at tables only
  • Temperature checks at the entry
  • Disinfectant hand rub at entry and throughout venue
  • Table service only
  • Advance booking only
  • Lead contact details taken

And for the bands performing at Whelan’s…

  • No sharing of vocal mics
  • Vocal mics disinfected after use and not used for at least 3 days later
  • Vocal mics using pop shields
  • Mic stands and leads also disinfected after use
  • Socially distanced dressingroom
  • No more than 3 or 4 on stage at any one time
  • Safe distance between band and front of audience

As Whelan’s have said, these measures will hopefully only be temporary and the main thing is that Dublin gig-goers will soon be able to return to one of the city’s most loved music venues.

The full Whlean’s statement can be read here.