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Kinahan’s Spirit Grocer

Kinahan’s, a popular spot for a drink in Shaftsbury Square, also had stable facilities to the back of the building in Stable Lane and so became a popular stage coach stop for the returning Dublin to Belfast horse-drawn passenger coach.

In 1854 it is bought by The Kinahan brothers and named Kinahan’s and remains until 1918…


Thomas Lavery Dies

Thomas Lavery (born 1845 in Dromara) is the son of a publican, farmer & magistrate. In 1870 he walked to a burgeoning Belfast to meet his twin sister Mary ‘Ma Guinea’, who had already established her own wholesale business in Cromac Sq. With her help, Thomas began to build his company starting with a pub in a bustling Corporation Sq. His success relied heavily on the shipbuilding industry and shipyard workers were a good customer.

Thomas dies in 1914 bestowing his sons, Charlie & Pat with all his holdings.


Charlie & Pat Lavery buy Kinahan’s Spirit Grocer

One week before the end of WW1 the bank advises the brothers to buy Kinahan’s, mostly for it’s stock of alcohol which was in short supply following years of rationing. Around 15-20 pubs were purchased at this time to guarantee a supply of whiskey for Lavery’s customers.

The Spirit Grocers was not seen as a lucrative investment given there was already a successful pub in Shaftsbury Sq. called Moses Hunter


After owning around 20 pubs & spirit grocers, only 5 remain

Pre-30s The Lavery’s enjoyed a period of affluence, which included buying a famous racehorse ‘Turn of the Tide’, who afforded them a lavish, carefree lifestyle for a time. However before WW2 is declared, Lavery’s pubs, property and holdings are mostly lost due to mismanagement, debts and gambling, even of licensed premises.

The remaining properties were;

  • The Braden Bar (Lower May St.) – now Ronnie Drew’s
  • Mc Grath Tavern (Upper May St.)
  • The Elbow Room (Dublin Rd.)
  • The Tramway Bar (Beersbridge Rd.)
  • The Gin Palace? (name at this time) (Bradbury Pl.) ~ now Lavery’s Bar


Patrick Lavery Senior Dies

Pat has a heart attack on a tram travelling on the Ormeau Rd. The tram is diverted to the hospital but efforts to save him prove to be in vain.

The family incur substantial death duties and are forced to sell The Tramway Bar. The Lavery Limited Company is set up to stop this from happening again.

Pat Lavery Senior’s five sons Tom, Patsy, John, Charlie and Donal become director’s of Lavery Ltd.