The Bernard Shaw is closing… but we’ll always remember the EPIC nights we had there

Dublin’s cultural heart skipped a beat or two earlier this week with the sad news that The Bernard Shaw, the South Richmond Street pub opened by the Bodytonic crew in 2006, is due to close at the end of October.

As Bodytonic said of the impending closure, in a statement on its website, “Dublin is changing, we can all see and feel it but we are going nowhere & we won’t go down without a fight. We’ll start something else, somewhere else [plans are afoot] , and keep fighting the good fight.

There are so many young creative, clever, smart people in Dublin & Ireland at the moment – there’s lots to be optimistic about – but they need the spaces to meet each other, make plans, and make them happen!”

The writing appeared to be somewhat on the wall for the pub/café/art gallery/cultural space earlier this year, when the operators received word from An Bord Pleanála, the Irish planning authority, that they would no longer be able to continue operating the Shaw’s outdoor beer garden and ‘Eatyard’ dining space.

As the authority said in its report, published in May, to grant permission to the bar would be to likely delay or undermine “comprehensive regeneration” in the area, and would be inconsistent with the “emerging pattern of development in the vicinity”.

Last Monday’s announcement that the Shaw is to close outright, however, still took many in the industry aback, and calls have rightly been made (as indeed they were when the Tivoli and Andrews Lane Theatre were demolished) to preserve Dublin’s cultural integrity, which has taken a battering in recent months.

As Una Mulally put it in The Irish Times, “Trying to carve out a life where one’s environment reflects and enables creativity, culture, curiosity, a sense of discovery, vibrancy, and a hint of transgression, feels so difficult in Dublin right now. The walls are closing in, like an Indiana Jones booby-trap, the cranes circling, the student accommodation and hotels and offices flying up like time-lapse videos.

“Do we emancipate ourselves by leaving or giving up, or do we emancipate the city by building an alliance that says: no more, these are our streets and our spots?”

As we prepare to wave goodbye to yet another cultural institution, 909originals recaps five of our best nights spent in the legendary venue.

Theo Parrish, 2 December 2007

[Photo: Resident Advisor]

There was a time around the mid part of the last decade when you couldn’t visit a Dublin nightclub without hearing the familiar strains of Theo Parrish’s Falling Up, and thus it was an unexpected treat when the Washington DC-born house maestro showed up at the Shaw’s all-day Sunday session in December 2007, alongside residents Conor L and Tom Beary.

The fact that this took place the day after 909originals’ birthday made it extra special… did someone say ‘rollover’? 🙂

DJ Derek, 23 May 2009

This one was a little bit special. Having spent the day in Dublin’s city centre watching Leinster win rugby’s Heineken Cup, 909originals wandered into the Shaw for a masterclass in soul, ragga and dancehall, from one of the best in the business.

Dressed like a bingo caller, yet boasting the best Jamaican patois this side of Kingston, DJ Derek absolutely rocked the place. RIP to a true maestro… “now WIND ya body, gal..!”

Dave Clarke, 27 January 2019

Following the closure of the Tivoli the previous night (“I’m not crying, you’re crying…”), a free electro set from the mighty Dave Clarke was just the tonic to head into the working week.

And the Baron did not disappoint, with a storming set that incorporated Eric B and Rakim, The Advent, Depeche Mode, Front 242, The Fall, Killing Joke and even Jimi Hendrix. It wasn’t the first time Clarke had treated Shaw regulars either, with the techno don having also played the venue in 2013.

Horse Meat Disco, 24 June 2012

James Hillard, Jim Stanton, Luke Howard and Severino, otherwise known as Horse Meat Disco, are very much a household name these days, with the touring schedule to prove it.

But the disco revivalists, famed for their residency at The Eagle in Vauxhall, London, owe a lot to their regular visits to Ireland at the start of the decade, including this stormer of a summer set in June 2012, again for one of The Bernard Shaw’s legendary Sunday sessions.

The video above is actually of the boys doing the business at the same venue in 2018, but you get the idea… 🙂

Daniel Wang B2B with Conor L, 1 February 2009

It’s hard not to warm to Daniel Wang’s blend of disco-infused house – and relentless enthusiasm behind the decks – and when he had the chance to team up with Bodytonic’s own disconaut Conor L, it was always going to be epic.

The duo’s set (thankfully uploaded for posterity) features tracks from Giorgio Moroder, Kat Mandu, Cory Daye, Gary Criss, Dan Hartman, The Salsoul Orchestra and much more. Tops OFF! 🙂

Feel free to share your favourite nights in the comments below. Long live the Shaw!

[Main picture from The Bernard Shaw Facebook page]

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