Boomtime hangout Lillie’s Bordello to shut in new year

Irish ‘celebrity’ haunt had a regular bar as well as a ‘library’ that required a special key

There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth among Ireland’s minor celebrity set this weekend after news broke that Lillie’s Bordello is to close its doors early in the new year.

Declaring it the "End of an Era" in a Facebook post, the nightclub which has played host to all manner of well known people including Bono, Mick Jagger, Rhianna, Ross O'Carroll Kelly and Eamon Dunphy – to pick five entirely at random – announced it will be closing for ever on January 19th.

“We’d like to thank you all for the many years of custom and support, and we hope you’ll join us in celebrating with us at the iconic venue over the festive season,” the statement said.

The club, which is owned by the Porterhouse Group said it had "exciting plans coming down the tracks" although people will have to wait until the spring to find out what is going to become of the venue.


Lillie’ s first opened its doors in the early 1990s and its plush Victorian-style red velvet decor gave it a lush and decadent edge that chimed with the times.

There was a regular club where the regular people went to drink and dance and an exclusive “library” where the reading material was limited to the cocktail menu.

Virtually all the big name musicians who played in Ireland – or their entourages – and many of those who found themselves on the Late Late Show couch ended up in the Library where they rubbed shoulders with homegrown celebs and people who had recurring roles on Fair City.

In order to get access to the stellar Library, locals who were deemed sufficiently worthy but who did not have a sufficiently recognisable face were given a golden key.

In the early part of the 21st century, Renards, the other celeb hang-out in the city centre, lost out in the wake of the introduction of the smoking ban and the migration of much of its clientele to the swankier and newer clubs in the Harcourt St area, but Lillies always appeared able to hold its own.

While news that the venue is closing will be a cause of some dismay among a certain cohort, it does not appear that the decision has been taken because the venue has fallen on hard times.

The most recent accounts for the company that owns and operates Lillie’s were published early this year and suggested the company was in rude health.

Noyfield Ltd, which trades as Lillie's Bordello, recorded profits of €2.8 million for the 12 months to the end of February 2017 and accumulated profits rose to €4.43 million from €1.63 million a year earlier.

The company’s cash pile more than doubled to €5.1 million from €2.4 million. Noyfield employed 48 people during the period with staff costs totalling €1.69 million.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast