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The right L'Atitude

Wednesday, 7th August, 2019 5:00pm

A popular Cork wine bar which was badly damaged in a fire on St Patrick’s Day could reopen as early as October.

L’Atitude 51 on Union Quay has been closed since a large fire destroyed the upper offices of the premises on the morning of 17 March.

The lower section of the wine bar was subsequently subject to water damage following the efforts of the fire brigade to get the blaze under control.

Speaking to the Cork Independent, Owner Beverly Mathews said: “The first day was a bit of a haze. I just couldn't comprehend it. It was really tough. I couldn't even look in there. I was looking but not seeing.

“The same place I had been the night before doing my VAT returns into the small hours, and then eight hours later, it's just gone. That was particularly tough.”

The alarm was raised by a cleaner at approximately 8am on the morning of Patrick’s Day.

Due to L’Atitude 51’s close proximity to the Cork City Fire Brigade on the adjoining Anglesea Street, fire fighters were able to attend the scene immediately.

“We're not 100 per cent sure but it looks like the fire was electrical. Most people would think it started in the kitchen, but it actually started up in the office,” said Beverly.

“The fire brigade was under pressure to get the flames under control before the parade started. It only took them 45 minutes which was amazing. They had to cut a hole in the floor to stop it from collapsing from the weight of the water,” she added.

Since the fire Beverly has strived to keep the L’Atitude name alive and well, while the premises at 1 Union Quay undergoes extensive repairs.

Temporarily labelling L’Atitude a “nomadic wine bar”, Beverly has partnered with well-known cafés and restaurants around the city such as Ali’s Kitchen on Paul Street and the Idaho Café on Caroline Street, bringing L’Atitude 51’s own style and flavour to the table.

“What kept me going were the good wishes. There were about 40 businesses around the city that said 'use our place',” said Beverly.

She continued: “I thought if we keep the events going, then we can keep the name going. I couldn't believe the amount of goodwill that was out there. It gave me the strength to keep on going. In Cork the food and wine community are just so generous.”

Early estimates suggest that the premises will be fit for business by late autumn but Beverly is keeping an optimistic outlook.

“I had hoped to be open for October. I'm hoping that once they get in there things will go faster than originally estimated,” she said.

Beverly, who is the sole owner of L’Atitude 51, had some words of advice and encouragement for any business owners that might face similar misfortunes in the future.

“Don't give up, don't lose heart, don't be afraid to ask for help, and take all the advice you can get,” she said.

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