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Fire-ravaged pub to reopen in September.

Byline: Abby Alford Chief Reporter

AN historic pub that was destroyed in a blaze which brought chaos to the capital will reopen in the autumn.

The owners of O'Neill's have told the Echo the Irish-themed bar will be restored to its former glory and should be welcoming customers again by late September.

T raders across Cardiff city centre were left facing a bill running into hundreds of thousands of pound safter the Trinity Street pub was engulfed in flames last month. Smoke closed shops, pubs, restaurants and Cardiff Market and damaged stock.

Firefighters had been called to the Victorian building, which was formerly known as the New Market Tavern and was the birthplace of singer Olivia Newton-John's father, at around noon on Tuesday, June 3. At the time the pub was being looked after by staff from the company's St Mary Street branch as regular workers were on an away-day at Alton Towers.

Today Andrew Roache, spokesman for O'Neill's owners Mitchells & Butlers, confirmed the blaze was started by a grill fire in the pub's kitchen.

He said: "O'Neill's on Trinity Street is a much-loved pub and we're aiming to restore all of the character of the original building.

"We are currently liaising with the local planning department ahead of restoration and refurbishment work taking place.

"Our plans include relocating the kitchen to increase trading space on the first floor, as well as improvements to the toilets.

"We will also redecorate the interior of the pub, including new furniture, and this will be very much in keeping with the traditional feel of O'Neill's.

"It is anticipated that the pub will reopen for trading in late September."

Scaffolding has gone up around the pub ahead of the start of restoration work and staff will work at O'Neill's in St Mary Street until completion.

City centre manager Paul Williams said the announcement was good news for the capital.

"The restoration of the pub is key to that historic part of the city and I welcome it wholeheartedly," he said.

abby.alford@mediawales.co.uk

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MAJOR BLAZE: Smoke billows from O'Neills during the fire last month PICTURE: Rob Browne
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 17, 2008
Words:357
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