A red auction sign points to the now vacant Dublin’s Pub building. The pub closed and its contents were auctioned off on February 9, 2019. (Photo: Polo Orta)
LAS CRUCES – On Saturday morning, a crowd of more than 60 people arrived for one last rush at Dublin’s Street Pub and Grill, but not for beer, burgers or an order of fish and chips.
On Saturday morning, the restaurant’s equipment and furnishings were sold off at an auction that began promptly at 10 a.m. and carried on for several hours.
With a headset microphone remotely connected to a small speaker, auctioneer Neal Waxman gave instructions in the lobby of the restaurant as buyers signed in with a name, address and phone number. No checks would be accepted, but card transactions could be negotiated. “Cash is always better,” Waxman said.
Waxman then led everyone to the back of the restaurant, through a kitchen that looked as though staff had simply walked away after closing for the last time early in the morning Feb. 4. Remnants of charred hamburger and batter remained on some grill surfaces, and scraps of food still sat in a sink used for rinsing off plates before they went into a commercial dishwasher. An icemaker remained loaded with ice cubes.
Neil Waxman of Auctions Unlimited, with arm outstretched, conducting the auction of Dublin’s Street Pub and Grill’s contents on Saturday, February 9, 2019. (Photo: Polo Orta)
‘The smell is free’
“It’s going to be a long day,” Waxman warned before opening bids on metal racks from a rear storage room. Briskly, with frequent jokes to lighten the mood and loosen up buyers, Waxman auctioned off furniture and lots of office supplies before making his way into the back kitchen where buyers crowded around looking for bargains on second-hand equipment.
A large Ninja blender sold for $85, while a smaller one went for $22.50. A pair of refrigerators went for $55 apiece. Other buyers who were more interested in bar decorations, glassware and dining room furniture bided their time in the front area of the dimly lit restaurant, where the sun shone through copper-toned window blinds.
“The smell is free,” Waxman joked as buyers examining fryolators and other appliances explored the kitchen, which smelled stale after being closed and unattended for nearly a week.
“Before I did auctions, I was a buyer,” Waxman said in a brief interlude between sales. After briefly turning on a meat slicer to see if the power worked, he said, “You always assume things don’t work. If it works, that’s a bonus.”
The slicer sold for $440.
Some buyers were business owners, restaurateurs and bar managers. Some were looking for scrap metal or cookware that could be restored. One man who declined to identify himself said he was looking for items for his home, and wondered if the decorative brass rails that were part of the bar’s Irish pub decor would be sold.
Throughout the restaurant, items waiting to be sold had yellow stickers, which the auctioneer would mark with a buyer’s identification number after they were sold.
Hours later, the action moved to the front of the restaurant as trailers parked outside began to fill up with tables and kitchen equipment. The bar situated in the middle of the restaurant was stacked with boxes full of glasses and mugs, opened bottles of beverage mixers, salt and pepper shakers that were still full, and various utensils.
Prior to the restaurant’s re-branding as Dublin’s in 2008, the pub — a popular college hangout — had been part of the Bennigan’s chain, and there were still lampshades and a marquee sign with the Bennigan’s logo. Memorabilia with the Dublin’s logo was mostly limited to green ticket books and a few T-shirts.
Speculation continues over what business might move into the building at 1745 E. University Ave. Many buyers spoke of the Albuquerque-based Weck’s restaurant chain’s rumored plans to open here as if it were a done deal.
Weck’s owner Art Kaplan had previously confirmed to Albuquerque Business First that his company planned to purchase a location in Las Cruces, but last week reporters from both the Sun-News and the NMSU Round Up were unable to get a clear answer from Weck’s about whether brunch will soon served in the old Dublin’s.
Some of the most competitive bidding Saturday took place over booth seating-and-table sets, with the first two matching pairs of booths selling for $260 and $280 apiece with many more tables, chairs and barstools ready to go.
As the afternoon wore on, buyers moved out of the way for one another as ladders were moved around the bar area to unscrew the large wooden pub signs and flat screen televisions mounted overhead, as well as ceiling fans and decorations still hanging from the walls.
In time, just about all of the building’s contents were sold, including, yes, the proverbial kitchen sink, as when an L-shaped sink under the bar went for $300.
Algernon D’Ammassa can be reached at 575-541-5451, email@example.com or @AlgernonActor on Twitter.
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