In 2015 Michael was awarded ‘Business Person of the Year 2013‘ at the Fingal Business Excellence Awards. As a former board member of the Licensed Vintners Association – the foremost national lobby and industry representative group – he is a key player and influencer in the licensed hospitality industry.
Michael JF Wright is a member of the famous Wrights of Howth family, which operates a thriving national and international fish and seafood business. In his youth Michael worked closely with his father on all aspects of the family business. Independently, Michael has established himself over the past twenty years as a highly successful entrepreneur in the hospitality sector.
In the 1980’s Michael left his hometown of Dublin and worked in various bars in New York learning the hospitality trade and gathering ideas. Fast-forward to 1995, Wright returned to Ireland with new found knowledge and opened Wrights Bloody Stream in Howth. He took a derelict train station and transformed it into one of the most stylish and successful bars in the country.
In 1998 Michael acquired a lonely roadside bar in the idyllic Strawberry Beds near Chaplizod on the River Liffey, and using his expertise he transformed it into the bustling Gastro Pub, Wrights Anglers Rest. Despite its relatively remote location The Anglers Rest this boutique pub is not only a highly sought after wedding venue, it has enjoyed a bustling local and tourist trade over the past number of years.
Since then Michael has gone on to develop a number of other pubs and late night venues. His disciplined approach and strong work ethic, which he inherited from his parents, has attributed to his ongoing success and the growth and development of the Michael JF Wright Hospitality Group. Michael’s philosophy in life is – “Dream it, believe it, achieve it.”
In 2001 Michael spotted a gap in the market and opened a premier late night bar in Swords village, Wrights Café Bar Michael’s innovative approach has resulted in loyal and new customers frequenting the bar over its fifteen years in operation. In 2005 Michael developed the old St Lawrence Hotel which overlooks Howth Harbour and Wrights Findlater Howth was born. This is a very beautiful three storey building with a variety of areas to eat, drink, relax and party. He recently developed the second floor of the unit to include Diep Howth, a Thai Food restaurant offering customers a taste of the Orient.
2008 saw the first of the Gilbert and Wright chain open in Swords. This was a uniquely different concept on the social entertainment scene; an eclectic mix of 70/80’s music, memorabilia and drinks, these bars have proven yet again that Michael has his finger on the pulse and a keen eye for what the market wants.
In 2006 Michael was granted planning permission for an 120,000 square foot entertainment centre in Dublin which is now home to the international award winning The Wright Venue. After an extensive fact finding mission to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Beijing, New York, Miami and Ibiza, Michael created The Wright Venue, one of the most advanced and theatrical night club experiences available anywhere. Opened in 2009, it comprises seven bars and five luxuriously styled VIP rooms spread over three floors. The entertainment centre also boasts TGI Friday’s, Flyefit – a state of the art gym over 24,000 sq ft, O’Briens, In Touch Beauty Salon, Pizza Dog, and a multi-million euro Penthouse Casino. In December 2013, Michael filled the last remaining unit and launched Hogs and Heifers which is now a thriving American style restaurant and party venue. Wright has plans to develop this brand into other locations in Ireland and the UK. In late 2016, using his expertise in the entertainment and hospitality industry, Michael brought a new supper club experience to Dublin’s City Centre with Number Twenty Two, a hidden gem located just off Grafton Street, joining an already impressive list of venues scattered across Dublin.
While the pubs and clubs have thrived Michael went back to his roots and family heritage and came up with the concept of Marqette. Airport dining is a highly competitive industry and being a frequent traveller and lover of good simple organic food, Michael sought to improve the food offering at Dublin Airport. Food provenance and authenticity were top of agenda as he sought to deliver Irish culinary delights with exceptional customer service to airport passengers. The on-site bakery producing fresh bread and pastries, street food, crepes and omelettes cooked via a converted 1960’s Citroen Van aptly named “The Hatch” and a range of signature takeaway “Food on the Fly” products, are all unique features of this market inspired unit. Marqette is a wonderful ambassador for Irish food in airports, and Michael is certain that Marqette will remain a key player in maintaining Ireland’s enviable reputation on an international stage after recently winning Airport Food Hall of the Year (2017) at this year’sFAB Awards in Toronto. A FAB Award accreditation has the highest recognition amongst international consumers and airport F& B players making Marqette number one in the world.
‘Disrupting Norms, Breaking Boundaries, Creating Unique Experiences’
Michael is currently working on new projects to grow and expand Marqette in airports throughout Ireland, the UK and the US. This unique and hugely successful business has consistently grown and expanded over the past 15 years in spite of the downturn in the economy and continues to go from strength to strength. Michael believes that the participation of his carefully chosen staff – all of whom share his ethos of fun and hard work – combined with his talent for understanding future trends, are just a couple of the factors that set the Group apart.
- Airport Food Hall of the Year 2017 – Airport Food & Beverage (FAB) Awards
- Airport Hospitality Provider of the Year 2016 – The Irish Aviation Awards
- Best Start Up/New Business 2016 – Fingal Dublin Chamber Awards
- Best Food & Beverage Concession 2016 – DAA Service Excellence Programme
- Highly Commended rating at the Airport Food & Beverage (FAB) Awards 2016
The Bloody Stream
- Best Pub Lunch BIM seafood circle 2005
- Best Bar Food – Dining Pub Guide Awards 2004
- James Joyce Award – Best Bar and Best Pint
Wrights Anglers Rest
- Restaurant Venue of the year weddings online awards 2016
- Best Eating establishment Fingal Excellence awards 2014
- One Fab Day Top 100 wedding venues 2013-2016
- Best Bar Food at the Irish Hospitality Awards
- D15 Best Restaurant of the business district
- Membership of the elite BIM (Bord Iascaigh Mhara) Seafood Circle – BIM is The Irish Sea Fisheries Board.
Wrights Café Bar
- Best Customer Service at the Bar of the Year Awards 2013
- Black and White Scotch Whiskey National Pub of the Year
- Best Licensed Premises in the Fingal Area 2013
- Best Seafood Restaurant Overall 2016
- Good Eating Guide 2016 – Best Seafood Restaurant
- Good Eating Guide 2013 – Best Seafood Restaurant
- Most Beautiful Restaurant – London theme awards 2005
Gilbert and Wright Malahide
- 2014 was awarded Fingal Pub of the Year at the Fingal Chamber Business Awards
- Fingal Pub of the year Award 2016
The Wright Venue
- Best Nightclub Interior Design at the New York Boutique Awards in 2010
- Top 20 in Red Bull’s Clubs of the World
- Best Irish Nightclub in the Irish National Hospitality Awards for the last 7 years from 2009 -2016.