Tir na nÓg Irish bar, located in the centre of Aarhus in Denmark, is “the perfect blend of Irish charm and Danish cosiness”.
The bar houses multiple rooms for customers to enjoy; The Tap Room (a traditional Irish pub), The Merchant Room (a modern-style Irish bar), The Whiskey Room (a V.I.P. hideaway) and the newest addition to the family; FLUX (a cosy lounge-bar).
As a leading example of an Irish bar that has pivoted and diversified its business since the onset of the pandemic, we caught up with Manager, Dylan Taylor, to find out more about Tir na nÓg’s journey from March to present.
Beginning with the moment the news of the rapidly spreading pandemic broke last March in Denmark, Dylan says: “The easiest way to describe it would be, uncertainty. From the owner, the Tir na nÓg team and for all of our customers. It definitely wasn’t the best timing with it happening the week before St Patricks Day.”
Tir na nÓg was forced to close it’s doors due to lockdown on 12th March, but was luckily allowed to reopen just over two months later on 18th May.
Speaking about the initial operating guidelines after reopening, Dylan says: “Our initial guidelines were one person per 2m squared and we needed to close before midnight. Seating only, 1 metre in between groups, appropriate signage and we provided hand sanitiser and have a put up a plastic barrier at the bar. We have 600m2 so we were permitted 300 customers.”
On how Tir na nÓg has diversified throughout the year, Dylan shares the main changes that have been implemented in the pub so far: “We purchased the restaurant next door and transformed it into another bar, offering gastro pub food across all four rooms. Tir na nÓg now has four different rooms; Tap Room, Merchant Room, Whiskey Room and Flux.”
The team has also implemented an online ordering system and table service, which Dylan says has two main advantages: “The customer enjoys their experience at Tir na nÓg and it keeps crowds away from the bar.
“We renovated the bar and upgraded whilst we were closed. We implemented an online reservation system for our new bar, Flux.
“We established a Customer Loyalty Program – a new initiative with offers/deals for events/drinks and we are able to communicate directly with customers through our newsletter.
“With QR code registration at the front door and on menus, we recommend customers to register and we are able to account for everyone visiting the bar. In case of an incident occurring, we would be able to pass on the details to the authorities.”
Tir na nÓg also applied for a larger outdoor seating area, doubling the capacity of it’s outdoor seating from 50 to 100 people.
As with all great pubs, the entire team are the backbone of the operation, and the Tir na nÓg team were quick to pull together and do what was necessary to get through the uncertain times and keep the business going. “We are fortunate to have over 20 staff, who are all passionate about our bar and are always willing to go above and beyond. We have been able to overcome many challenges, which has been the number one reason we have been able adapt to the environment and push forward. I cannot say enough about our team and how grateful I am to work with them. We have focused on the aspects of the business we can control.”
Regarding how customers of the pub have reacted to the evolving operating guidelines, Dylan says: “Our customers have been very understanding and supportive. Customer tendencies have changed slightly from late night drinking to coming out earlier and enjoying our new food menu with family/friends.”
Looking to the remainder of the year and into the future, Dylan states: “Despite the uncertainty for the hospitality industry in 2020, we feel we have genuinely improved the overall business and what we offer to our customers. This year has allowed us to draw upon the skills of our staff and adapt to overcome the many challenges bar owners face at the moment.
“Our mission is to provide our customers with an experience that is the perfect blend of Irish charm and Danish cosiness. Our focus is on friendly customer service, quality products and the very best Gastro Pub Food that can be enjoyed with friends and family.”