Vintage Room in Jobstown House proves great success

By Maurice Garvey

JOBSTOWN House is undoubtedly a local landmark – pre-dating as it does, the establishment of the sprawling housing estates in Tallaght.

In 1964, Joseph Kilbride, former owner of Thomas Street House in the city centre, moved his family out to Tallaght, taking over Clarke’s, a farmer’s grocer shop at the site of what would become Jobstown House, located at a prime N81 location.

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Jobstown House

Gradually over time, as more houses were built in the area, demand for farmer’s stock decreased, and with Joseph’s son John (Snr) at the helm, the premises became a good old-fashioned public boozer.

John Snr retired 10 or so years ago, but his son John Jnr became the third generation of the Kilbride family to operate Jobstown House.

To respond to “changing social habits”, John Jnr knew they had to offer customers more.

Last year, he invested significantly to create a new restaurant the ‘Vintage Room’, which is located separately from the bar and lounge at the front, to the rear of the building.

The mostly local team of staff, was increased significantly from 12 to 26, to facilitate the addition of this new business venture, but feedback in the community has been positive.

The sheer scale and size of the premises, which is even bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside, enabled an almost seamless expansion.

“Up to September last year, it was 100 per cent wet sales,” admitted John Jnr.

“We gave it a good deal of consideration last June, the way the pub trade was going there was a demand for food. We wanted to give the local community another food option.

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John Kilbride of the Jobstown House

“We rebranded the lounge as the Vintage Room, which has its own identity away from the bar, and can be accessed directly by customers via the entrance from the car park at the back.”

A big coup for the business was enticing Head Chef Robert Gallagher from Searson’s on Baggot Street, which he ran for seven years.

John Jnr continued: “We are lucky to have Robert as our Head Chef. He has a wealth of experience, is a local lad from Killinarden, and is coming from an award-winning food pub. I spoke to him about our plans for this place and he was really keen to jump on board. He knows the neighbours, so he has a vested interest in serving good quality food.

“Anyone who comes in here, knows we pride ourselves on our freshly cooked food. It is not left under a hot plate. It takes a bit of time, but people don’t mind waiting a few minutes. Robert sees the potential in what we are trying to do, and wanted as a local person and a chef to be involved.”

Importantly for John, the restaurant has not impeded the bread-and-butter business of the bar.

“Our loyal customers at the front are massively important to us,” he said.

“We wanted the restaurant separate – if someone is having a pint and reading their paper, do they want to sit beside someone eating a chicken curry?”

The restaurant has also led to some new customers dropping by, but John acknowledges that without his staff, this would not have been possible.

“It’s all very good catering for new changes, but not if you don’t have the right staff,” he said.

“We have a core staff – two waitresses have been here for 25 years each, starting when they were 16. Our barman has been here for 30 years. We have great experience and loyalty. Whether you are here short-term or long-term, people buy into the place.”

Even though he is retired, John Snr pops by now and again, “more in the last six months than he did in the last six years,” according to John Jnr.

The old-school feel to the bar is adorned by pictures of local landmarks, former staff members and conjures up images of the old Blessington Steam Tram.

This is in sharp contrast to the modern décor of the restaurant accompanied by a fancy bar, that boasts an array of high end whiskeys and gins, not readily available at your average neighbourhood boozer.

Jobstown House is far from average these days – fusing the old with the new.

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