Our story begins in the Heartland of Dublin. Fade Street is at the heart of Dublin and The Market Bar is the heart of Fade Street.
This heart has been beating for more than 300 years, during which the inns, coffee houses, restaurants and pubs of the area have extended hospitality to generations of merchants, tradespeople, students, artists and visitors to Dublin’s Fair City.
It was at the core of the city in the early 18th century when the street was a hive of manufacturing, trading and urban living. Three-storey houses on one side were divided into tenements with families living in a single room. Many of the menfolk crossed the street to work every morning at the silversmiths, the bakery and the abattoir which was located on the site where The Market Bar now stands. If you look closely, you can still spot the grills in the floor through which animal waste was recycled. The abattoir had a short life however and gave way to a factory making famous Dublin sausages. The street was part of Castle Market which also spread over Exchequer, Drury and later South William Streets. It first opened in 1704 and was extended in 1783
The Fade Street of the 1700s was ‘a street that never sleeps’. Long before dawn, revellers returning from the Monto red light district would stop for a final drink at the inns, watching drovers delivering cattle or porters ferrying sides of beef and bacon to the South Dublin Market. The first shoppers arrived before breakfast, and from then until late in the night, the many eating houses and taverns in ‘The Markets’ were buzzing with conversation.
Fade Street was widened in 1880 with the traders installed in new buildings, but a disastrous fire gutted the market in 1892 and it moved to what is now the George’s Street Arcade. Shortly afterwards one of the first electricity generating plants in Dublin was located on the street.
Of the many speciality trades practiced on Fade Sreet in the 19th century, one still remains. Wakeley and Wheeler, a renowned London silversmiths, opened a state-of-the-art factory at Numbers 13 and 14 in 1870, producing ornate silverware for which Dublin was to become famous. The business passed to John Alwright and Jock Marshall in 1929, and continues to create high-end silverware to-day.
Fade Street was a ‘Temple Bar’ of the 18th Century, with its inns, eating houses, shops, market stalls and manufacturers- and like the Temple Bar of 21st Century Dublin, it had its own artistic community. They painted, sculpted and admired artworks in the City Assembly House, just around the corner on South William Street. It housed the first purpose-built exhibition gallery in Ireland or Britain when it opened in 1766 as a home for the Society of Artists of Ireland on land leased from Maurice Coppinger, in whose memory Coppinger Lane is named. It is now the home of the Irish Georgian Society.
Fade Street itself is named after Joseph Francis Fade, a prominent Dublin Banker who sat in his Counting House at 34-36 Thomas Street, accepting deposits and making prudent loans to businesses large and small. He was known for his kindness and honesty and his ‘Last Will and Testament’, dated 1747, which still survives, is a long list of bequests to his heirs, extended family, suppliers and neighbours, including provision for the apprenticeship and education of several children.
A ‘good banker’, who liked nothing better than seeing his neighbours prosper and his city thrive, he would certainly smile kindly on the buzz of Fade Street to-day as he would enjoy the good food and fine beverages of The Market Bar. We like to believe that his entrepreneurial spirit remains with us today.
Don’t look now- but that’s him in the corner- the tall bearded gentleman with the top hat and frock coat, sipping his pint of stout.Browse our gallery and menus or contact us for more information.
The Market Bar is the home of the first baby bottles. In 1889 Powers Whiskey bottled their ‘The Baby Powers’ here and exported them all over the world.