How To Open A Pub? – John Mahon Lucky’s and The Circular

Posted 5 months ago in More

Taphouse september 2019

We have the answers to some of your questions as we ask a selection of insiders to offer their advice, tips and insights gleaned from their experiences in their chosen creative field. Here’s John Mahon of Lucky’s and The Circular on How To Open A Pub.

Thanks to outdated Irish licensing laws, opening a pub in Dublin is hard. You need patience, perseverance, imagination and a plan. Some money helps too, although maybe not as much as you think.

Begin the hunt early, be open-minded, be creative in your approach. Figure out where you want to fit into the local and wider pub context.

Once you get the doors open, catch your breath and knuckle down. Running a seven day a week hospitality business is going to draw on every bit of your resourcefulness. There’s no sitting back. However, when you get it right, and people start to come – and come back with pals – that’s a great feeling.

You need to really want to run a pub. The sexy bit is only 5-10% of the time if you are lucky. If you have doubts, read Setting the Table by Danny Meyer.

It’s about his restaurants but all his well-articulated hospitality principals equally apply to pubs. If it resonates with you, if you feel excited at the end of the book, then open a pub.

John Mahon

Co-owner of Lucky’s and The Circular


Pay attention and gift your knowledge too! We’ll run How Two, a second instalment of this guide, later in the year so let us know what you’d like to learn about by mailing


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