Tuesday, September 25, 2012

IFI20: Dancing, eating and drinking at the IFI Café Bar

I started working at the IFI Café Bar shortly after it opened. After a little while I left but was asked to come back in shortly afterwards as Manager and I’ve been here ever since. When I started the place was struggling to get established so we had to concentrate on getting people through the door. We made some changes to the décor to make it a little warmer and more welcoming and concentrated on getting the food up to scratch. We also did a lot of late night trade with performance nights, jazz bands, all sorts of nights as there weren’t the same number of clubs and pubs all around us as there are now. The 1994 World Cup in USA didn’t do us any harm either – we got the matches up on big screens and we were suddenly packed with Jackie’s Army.

Of course back then the IFI Café Bar was a much smaller affair with only about 10 staff on our books, now we have nearly 40, which shows how much our trade has expanded. We’ve been a successful because we’ve always tried to be a welcoming oasis of calm in the middle of Temple Bar whether or not you’re seeing a film. And we didn’t lose the run of ourselves either- even during the Celtic Tiger years when some people had money to burn we focused on providing a really good value option in the City Centre with main courses priced around €10 in today’s terms - so there’s a huge amount of loyalty to the place.

IFI Open Day BBQ 

I love to travel myself, I get over to France a couple of times a year and that’s where I get my love of food and wine from; I’ve been wine tasting all over the world. Temple Bar is now an international destination and it is great to see people coming from all over so I try to match the same hospitality I see when I go away here at the IFI.  

Bert Donlon
IFI Café Bar Manager

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