Grill Music Venue

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Grill Music Venue
Owner Tinney family
Type Nightclub
Opened 1961 (1961)

The Grill Music Venue, also known as The Grill, formerly The Golden Grill, is an Irish nightclub located in Letterkenny, County Donegal. Regarded as the unofficial Fianna Fáil headquarters,[1] it has hosted everything from Fianna Fáil party conventions to bingo sessions over the years.

The complex houses six bars: Black Bar, VIP members bar and Ocean's Restaurant, Bar and Casino. The other three are located in the Main Room.

DJs and live acts to have performed at the Grill in recent times include Hot Chip, Ash, Shane MacGowan, Dirty Sanchez, Fun Lovin' Criminals, Paul Van Dyk, Judge Jules, Republic of Loose, Ocean Colour Scene and Chuck Berry.


Established by former Fianna Fáil Senator Bernard McGlinchey, the venue first opened in 1961. A key success factor for the complex was its 1,000 car parking spaces. Bellas Club was born in the seventies and the Millionaire Club opened in the eighties.

Forty-six years after it first opened the entertainment complex underwent a major €2 million refurbishment. 21 Spaces, a Dublin-based, Donegal-owned interior design company, designed the newly refurbished complex. The team was also behind the Oceans Restaurant which is incorporated into the Grill facility. After its refurbishment the venue now houses six bars and two smoking areas.[2]

Licence dispute[edit]

In 2004, Bernard McGlinchey revealed to the Donegal News how he was able to license the premises. He stated the law had been against him as, in the 1960s, a licence-holder needed to prove the population of the parish area had increased by 33%.[citation needed] This was disputed, as at the time he was in the Seanad and former Taoiseach Charles Haughey was Minister for Justice and had set about finalising the new Liquor Act and inserted a clause which changed the law for urban areas.[1]

2008 raid[edit]

The Grill Music Venue was raided by the Garda Síochána, on Saturday 29 March 2008. The Gardaí seized drink they believed was being sold without a licence under Section 24 of the 1874 Licensing Act.[3][4]

The management of the venue subsequently renewed their licence and took court action to recover tens of thousands of euros worth of drink seized from the premises by gardaí.[5][6]

Sale of premises[edit]

The Grill remained shut unexpectedly on the weekend of the 2 and 3 August 2008.[7] This is a public holiday in Ireland and is known to be one of the busiest throughout the year. It was later revealed that the business had been placed on the property market after confirmation that it had gone into receivership with debts to the value of €8.2 million. Advertisements announcing the sale of the premises by private treaty appeared in weekend newspapers.[8][9]

The premises re-opened under company name Golden Grill Letterkenny Ltd. after the local Tinney family bought the venue.[10]


The Grill Music Venue has played host to many major international bands and DJs including:


  1. ^ a b "Fianna Fail favourite haunt the Golden Grill 'to reopen'", Irish Independent, 27 September 2008.
  2. ^ "Piping hot Grill set for re-opening", Donegal Democrat, 3 May 2007.
  3. ^ "Gardai use old law to seize up to €200,000 in stock from nightclub", Irish Independent, 31 March 2008.
  4. ^ Cllr says closure of the Grill is “a step too far”, Highland Radio, 31 March 2008.
  5. ^ "Grill wants drink back", Derry Journal, 2 April 2008.
  6. ^ "Three more Letterkenny premises under garda investigation", Donegal News, 4 April 2008.
  7. ^ "Grill closed in Letterkenny", Donegal Democrat, 5 August 2008.
  8. ^ "Famed nightclub closes down", Derry Journal, 8 August 2008
  9. ^ "Grill sold rumours unfounded", Letterkenny Post, 15 August 2008.
  10. ^ "Tinneys to reopen Grill soon", Donegal News, 3 October 2008.
  11. ^ "Alabama 3 to go live and unplugged in Letterkenny", Donegal News, 12 December 2008.

External links[edit]