AT YOUR SERVICE: Kelly Ann McSweeney is ready to greet customers after reopening her restaurant this week for the first time since March. Photo: Grigoriy Geniyevskiy
By Sean Moriarty
The McSweeney family business reopened their Sandtrap Grill on Wednesday for the first time since March.
The Sandtrap is part and parcel of the landmark McSweeney Arms Hotel on College St but is a key part of its official title is missing.
The Sandtrap Bar and Grill has reopened as restaurant only after third-generation proprietor Kelly Ann McSweeney, following months of governmental indecisiveness, said she just could not wait any longer.
While the Sandtrap Bar and Grill is renowned for its high-quality bar food it is first and foremost a local’s bar and Kelly Ann’s loyalty to her long-term customers meant she was not willing to open her bar for food only until this week.
Simply, she felt uncomfortable charging her locals €9, for the so-called substantial meal.
“These people came to my 21st and danced the night the way,” she told the Killarney Advertiser. “They gave me fivers when I made my First Communion. They are family friends.”
However, constant changes by the Government, and without decisive opening dates set for the reopening of pubs, she changed her stance and reopened the Sandtrap – but only as a restaurant and not as a bar that happens to serve food too.
“We are open as a sit down restaurant,” she added. “Even the televisions will be turned off.”
The Sandtrap Bar and Grill is a renowned sports bar and is particularly popular with horse racing fans and Dr Croke’s supporters.
Kelly Ann and her parents, Tony and Pauline, have introduced a range of measures to ensure they more than comply with the COVID-19 regulations.
They are encouraging people to pre-book and credit card details will be taken at booking time, all to comply with the contract tracing rules and limited waiting times when people arrive.
“All our favourite dishes are on the menu. I will greet you at the door, we have an automatic sanitisation station at the door,” she said. “We are opening in September so hopefully I will know everyone. We were fully booked on Wednesday night – mainly locals.”
As the accommodation portion of the hotel will not reopen until March next year, she was able rearrange the hotel’s foyer and breakfast room to accommodate more diners.
“It is very exciting to be back but it tugs my heart that I cannot open my bar as a bar, as my grandfather Christy did 70 years ago this year,” she added. “He is the reason I do what I do.”