Bertie Mooney’s opens in Dundee

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Dundee publican Jimmy Marr’s City Centre Pub Company has just opened Bertie Mooney’s which is the new name for his former Nicholls pub on Commercial Street.

The pub doesn’t just have a new name it is has also undergone a substantial refurbishment which has seen the bar move position, a new stage created, tank beer put in, and the ground floor space in the pub opened up.

The transformation into a live music venue and eatery now gives his family-owned company, Jimmy believes, one of the best pubs in Dundee, and the only live music venue.

He first bought the pub in 2002 turned it into a sports bar before selling it to Scottish Brewers. He then bought the pub back eight years ago and re-opened it as Nicholls, but following the pandemic, Jimmy decided to re-launch the pub with a fresh look and a new name following a meeting with a brewer who suggested he put in tank beer.

The name is actually the name of his father-in-law. Says wife Karen, “Jimmy said to me he wanted to give the pub a new name and I suggested Bertie Mooney’s which was my dad’s name. I always thought his name was quite catchy. Jimmy agreed, and when he ran the name past a few friends they agreed too, and Bertie Mooney’s it became.

Karen didn’t just suggest the name she has also been very much involved with the interiors of the new-look pub. She worked alongside designer Alan Beaton. Says Jimmy, “After I decided to do a complete refurbishment I brought in Alan Beaton. He is a well known local interior designer and we worked with him on The Caird. However, we did have considerable input ourselves and the good thing about Alan is he listens. He is a good guy to work with.”

Explains Karen, “When Jimmy decides to do something he usually has quite a clear idea of what he wants to do. We don’t really need an architect but we do need the knowledge that the designer has when it comes to the detail such as the wallpaper and colours and the design knowledge.”

Bertie Mooney’s primary colours are blue and mustard. The pub is a former bank and its original cornicing is intact. Says Jimmy, “The ceiling was remaining the same colour so we picked the colours to compliment it.”

Karen adds, “We have mixed and matched the chairs – so we have mustard, and blue in most areas.”

The wallpaper is a mix of broad grey stripes and a quirky bold design featuring lots of circles – it has a bit of an 80’s vibe and adds a real sense of drama to the venue.

It is not just the colours that have changed some walls have been knocked down to created to open the bar up and the bar itself has been moved to the right-hand side of the venue, whereas before it was facing you as you came into the bar.

Says Karen, “We have opened the area up and now we have a proper Bertie Mooney reception desk and our new stage is where the bar was. We also have an area where we can offer private dining for 16 to 20 people. Upstairs still takes about 50 people and we also do a lot of functions up there like small weddings.”

She continues, “Nicholls was always a very busy bar for food – at the weekend we’d have queues waiting to get in. We are hoping Bertie Mooney’s will be more wet-led, and I think the emphasis on live music will help that naturally.”

The new bar and back bar created by local Dundee company Ostlers also acts as a frame for the tank beer containers which have been placed above the bar.

The pub has various display cabinets. One of which showcases a collection of old whisky decanters. Jimmy smiles, “These decanters are mine, I have had them for ages. But Alan suggested we gave the interiors of the cabinets a colour, and the result means that the displays really pop out. The other display cabinet s a variety of teapots – these were my mums.”

The bar also has more than a couple of large items which Jimmy had in storage. One is a large painting that hangs just as you come in the door. Jimmy grins, “I’ve been storing this painting for an old Dundee publican Frank Henry for about 20 years. I’m now storing it on the wall!”

He has also brought out an old McEwan’s mirror from storage. Says Jimmy, “I don’t throw away anything. I have a huge storage unit – and it is a bit like an Aladdin’s cave.”

I mention to him a Noddy car that once sat in his office. He grins, ‘I’ve still got it, I might bring it in here too.”

Something else that brings a smile to his face, and to everyone that sees it – is the wall transfers in the toilets. It is an idea the couple saw in Spain. Let’s just say one of the ladies has a magnifying glass in her hand above the men’s urinals… I am sure you get the picture. It is a little bit of light relief.

Also looking for some light relief in the days ahead is Jimmy. He tells me he is trying to take a step back from the business. He says, “My son Peter and son-in-law Gerry are taking more of a role in the business, and I am trying to step back. They work very well together. It really is a family effort.”

All I can say is if this is Jimmy stepping back, I would hate to see him full on! Perhaps now that Bertie Mooney’s is open we will see him on the dance floor rather than working the floor?

Category: Bar & Pub
Tags: Bertie Mooney's, Dundee, Jimmy Marr, Nicholls