23 licensed premises sold in Dublin during 2022 with transactions valued at €51.5m as publicans re-emerge as main purchasers – new report from Lisney

  • 2022 Dublin Licenced Premises Property market characterised by return to more ‘normalised trading’


  • Publican purchasers re-emerged as the forerunners of the 2022 market as private equity purchasers reduced from 37% of volume in 2021 to 4% of volume in 2022


  • 11 Dublin licensed premises remained for sale at the end of 2022, with more to launch in Q1 2023


  • Off-market sales accounted for over 70% of market value


€51.5 million was spent on 23 transactions in the Dublin licenced premises market in 2022 with publicans re-emerging as the main purchaser’s, according to a new report today from Lisney (incorporating Morrissey’s), Ireland’s largest independently-owned multi-disciplinary property advisory company.


Transactional activity witnessed throughout the year was more in line with the 10-year average following the exceptional peak witnessed in 2021 (30 transactions with a combined value of €124m) off the back of the emergence of private equity acquisitions. Acquisitions returned to being driven by the traditional base of publican purchasers, reflecting their confidence in the outlook for the trade.


The rise in gas and oil prices exasperated energy costs while the market continued to suffer from labour shortages that were rooted in the large volume of non-domestic staff returning home in recent years and since failing to return.


Overall, the 2022 Dublin Licensed Premises Property market was characterised by a return to more normalised trading witnessing a consistent operator-led appetite to acquire.


The full report can be read here: https://lisney.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/Lisney-Morrisseys-Licensed-Premises-Review-2022-and-Outlook-2023.pdf



The most significant change in the 2022 Dublin market was the reduction in activity of Private Equity (PE) purchasers. Having been extremely active in 2021 and accounting for 37% of volume and 73% of value, PE only factored in one Dublin transaction in 2022.


Notably, Publican purchasers re-emerged as the forerunners of the 2022 market accounting for 48% of volume and 37% of value. This compares to 37% of volume and 15% of value in 2021 and is illustrative of increased operator confidence in the sector.


The Investor category also had a significant uplift with percentage of volume increasing from 10% to 39% and percentage of value rising from 5% to 36% in 2022.


Demand for good city premises remained strong and was illustrated through the recent sales of O’Donoghue’s Suffolk Street, Nancy Hand’s Parkgate Street and The Flowing Tide Middle Abbey Street, all acquired by established publican purchasers.



Activity in the Dublin market remained stable with 23 transactions recorded equating to 3% of the total market realising a combined value of excess €51.48m.


When compared to 2021, activity was down, however, it is important to note that 2021 was an exceptionally strong year which witnessed 30 transactions returning a combined value of excess €124m. Also notable within 2021 was the relatively high proportion of high value sales including premises such as The Brazen Head in Dublin 8, The TP Smith Group and The Camden on Camden Street which accommodated for a large percentage of both volume and value.


Off-market activity has increased steadily in recent years accounting for 57% of total sales completed in 2022, a notable increase from 37% in 2021. In terms of market value, off-market sales accounted for 40% of total market value in 2021 rising to 71% in 2022.


Overall, the licensed premises industry has remained resilient and 2022 witnessed the reopening of a number of pubs post refurbishment and rebranding that had previously remained closed. Moving into 2023, the initial months are expected to remain consistent in terms of assets being made available for sale.



According to Lisney, challenges of 2022 in the licences premises sector included staffing, rising utility costs and the reversal of the temporary VAT reduction. The disruption of the previous two years has significantly reduced availability of staff to bars and restaurants. Staff shortages have had an inflationary impact on labour costs, which is expected to continue in the short term.


The temporary reduction of VAT from 13.5% to 9% on electricity and gas from the 1st May 2022 to the 31st January 2023 has been a welcome measure, however, many businesses remain concerned in respect of the long-term impact of these rising charges on profitability and viability.



Licence values remained stable throughout 2022. Values realised at the close of 2021 had risen from a low of €42,500 in Q1 to €55,000 by year end. Pricing remained relatively flat at an average of €55,000 per licence for the first three quarters of 2022 rising to €60,000 by year end.


Demand remained stable throughout the year with purchasing appetite principally driven by the off-licence sector of the market, which has continued to remain the dominant stimulus of activity.


Lisney predicts that future supply of licences is most likely to emerge from premises located within lesser populated locations where the business would attract limited appeal due to the model being non-viable with little opportunity to sustain any meaningful level of trade. In these circumstances Lisney envisages deliverability of licenses to the market with the vendors ultimately retaining and possibly re-purposing the property for other uses.



2022 remained another quiet year for activity within the provincial market with limited transactions occurring in the cities of Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Kilkenny.


Notable transactions were the former Electric and Halo premises on Abbeygate Street Galway at €4.5m, O’Gorman’s of Portlaoise at €1.0m and Bridgewater Sallins at €900,000.


Demand for leasing remained strong, however, was restricted on the most part to well populated urban districts and established satellite / commuter towns.


Activity outside of the regional cities within the provincial rural market remained depressed and was again characterised by closures of non-viable businesses within sparsely populated rural areas. Lisney predicts that this sector of the provincial market will continue to struggle with limited appetite expressed from outside of the local indigenous community.


The Licensed and Leisure Team at Lisney comment that the outlook for 2023 is strong:

“We are predicting that there will be good market engagement in the opening months of 2023, while the longer term outlook for the year is also positive with many well established urban and suburban business models reporting a return to past volumes of trade, and in certain instances, businesses exceeding the levels of trade they enjoyed in 2019.

Private Equity will feature again in 2023, however, activity from this sector of the market will depend upon the ability to secure the top tier prime assets that meet with their criteria. Lisney expects Private Equity investors to turn their attention to regional cities as the volume of prime Dublin premises that could be purchased has diminished following the strong activity witnessed in 2021.”


For more details about Lisney, visit www.lisney.com

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