The White Moose Café: A look back at the Northside’s most online café as it closes its doors

The White Moose Café will be remembered for its brazen tongue in cheek and a string of memorable and viral moments, as the owner closes its doors.

The White Moose Café officially closed its doors on February 7, as Paul Stenson sold his hotel, the Charleville Lodge, on the North Circular Road in Phibsboro.

The Charleville Lodge and the White Moose Café in Phibsboro, Dublin. Credit: @paulvstenson

The new owners of the Charleville Lodge had no interest in continuing the popular café, leading to its closure.

The Charleville Lodge was bought by Stenson’s parents in 1994, with him joining the family business 20 years ago.

Paul Stenson and his parents. Credit: @paulvstenson

The decision to sell the hotel came in light of Stenson’s parents’ retirement along with Stenson’s wishes to branch away from hospitality and Dublin.

In his announcement on social media, Stenson said, “My folks are getting to a point in their lives that they would like to retire and I have no interest in being in Dublin anymore.

“I am now at a point in my life where I think my days working in food are over. I was never really cut out for working in hospitality. My strengths are in entertainment/writing/acting the clown,” he went on to say in the post.

The White Moose Café branded itself as Ireland’s ‘most quirky brunch and breakfast style café’.

Stenson adopted an entertaining and unique marketing strategy for the café, which led to it always going viral on social media.

The Charleville Lodge and the White Moose Café. Credit: @paulvstenson

In light of the café’s closure, let’s take a look back at some of the things that went viral and got people talking about one of Dublin 7’s hottest spots.

Restaurant signage:

The White Moose Café was well known for its alternative take on hospitality.

The ‘No Assholes’ sign at the café’s entrance. Credit: @paulvstenson

The restaurant was filled with signage and posters that one could only call cheeky, yet hilariously iconic.

A framed tweet poking fun at bad publicity. Credit: @paulvstenson

The satirical take on hospitality was never a dull moment for customers going to the White Moose Café for a bite to eat as the signage and posters deliberately looked professional, yet had a plausible and comedic effect.

‘Moose Terrace’ screens with comedic statements. Credit: @paulvstenson

Tip jar theft:

In 2022, the White Moose Café had their tip jar stolen by a woman from the coffee counter in the café.

Stenson having CCTV footage of the incident, announced on social media that their tip jar had been stolen and if not returned by the culprit, the footage would be released on social media for all to see. 

He said on social media, “The lady who stole the tip jar from our coffee counter in Phibsboro today has one hour to return it.

“Failure to return the money to our team will result in my sharing of CCTV footage of the incident. The clock is ticking,” he added.

Stenson released the video of the woman stealing the tip jar after it wasn’t returned within the hour and it quickly went viral.

The woman stealing the tip jar. Credit: The White Moose Café


In 2018, Elle Darby, a YouTube blogger emailed the Charleville Lodge and asked if she could stay for free in the hotel with publicity on her social medias in return. 

Elle Darby’s email to Paul Stenson. Credit: The White Moose Café

Stenson, not impressed with the content creator’s attempt to get a “freebie” released a statement on social media calling out the request.

In the Facebook post responding to Darby’s email (which he didn’t reveal the blogger’s identity, rather social media users connected the dots), he said, “If I let you stay here in return for a feature in your video, who is going to pay the staff who look after you? Who is going to pay the housekeepers who clean your room?”

Paul Stenson’s response to the email. Credit: The White Moose Café

Darby received backlash for her attempt at offering publicity on her social medias for a free stay at the Charleville Lodge – with Stenson even jokingly sending her an invoice for all the publicity she received as a result of his Facebook post.

Stenson also received a mix response with some people supporting the blogger saying publicity blogging is a part of modern business while some people backed Stenson – claiming social media ‘influencers’ are just trying to get freebies.

Following ‘bloggergate’, Stenson announced a ban on bloggers from the business after a number of negative reviews in support of blogger, Darby.

One of the ‘Moose Terrace’ screens. Credit: @paulvstenson

If anything, Stenson’s response to Darby got him a lot of publicity that didn’t require letting a blogger stay in his hotel – free of charge.

Parking for ‘free’ in the Charleville Lodge/White Moose Café car park:

In 2020, Stenson and the Charleville Lodge noticed the same man using their car park on a regular basis, but not being a guest or customer of their hotel and café. 

The man in question would park his car in the morning and come back in the evening – not paying a single cent to use the hotel and café’s private car park.

Stenson did give the man the chance to pay by leaving letters on his car windscreen and door that asked him to pay a trip to the reception desk to discuss the parking situation.

The letter Paul Stenson left on the man’s car. Credit: @paulvstenson

Not confident that the letter or the traffic cone placed in front of the car would stop the man, Stenson decided to block the car park’s exit with his jeep in case the man decided to make a quick getaway.

The man trying to exit the car park. Credit: @paulvstenson

The driver, attempting to exit the car park was confronted by Stenson, who said, “You might want to pay a visit to reception if you don’t mind.”

The driver, who went to the reception, said he didn’t know he had to pay to park in the car park, despite a sign saying, ‘CAR PARK TO BE USED STRICTLY BY RESIDENTS ONLY’.

Vegan war:

In 2015, the White Moose Café had one of its first viral marketing moments when it declared war with vegans in a Facebook post. 

The café said, “Please do not waltz into our café with no advance notice and look at us as if we have ten heads when you realise there aren’t 50,000 items on our menu that suit your idiosyncratic dietary requirements.”

The café’s Facebook post FAO vegans. Credit: The White Moose Café

Vegans started leaving one-star reviews online resulting in Stenson declaring a ban on vegans in the café.

In a later Facebook post, the café said, “All vegans are barred from our café. Given the torrent of abuse and unjustified negative reviews we have been receiving from the vegan population over the past 24 hours, all vegans are now barred.

“Any vegan attempting to enter the café will be shot dead at point blank range. While we wouldn’t usually kill any of our customers, as you say yourselves, ‘meat is murder’, so it’s fair game if we murder humans as well as animals. There is clearly no difference,” the post also said.

The café’s tribute jars to the viral controversies. Credit: @whitemoosecafe

Pandemic unemployment payment comments:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw the majority of hospitality workers unable to work and claiming the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

In 2021, Stenson and the café made noise on social media as the sector reopened, with a recruitment advertisement written, in typical Paul Stenson fashion.

A statement in the vacancy included, “Why would anyone want to work in this industry when they can get a sizable Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) for sitting on their holes watching Netflix?”

His statement included job vacancies in the White Moose Café with an hourly rate reasonably higher than the 2021 minimum wage.

A sign outside the White Moose Café referencing the job vacancy advertisement. Credit: The White Moose Café

The White Moose Café was inundated with applications from potential workers looking for work in the aftermath of COVID-19 lockdowns.

Deedee’s Doggy Park:

One of Stenson’s quite wholesome additions to the Charleville Lodge and the White Moose Café was Deedee’s Doggy Park, a fenced area for dogs to play in the front garden of the Charleville Lodge.

Deedee’s Doggy Park. Credit: @whitemoosecafe

Stenson, through the help of DSPCA, Dogs in Distress and Wicklow SPCA, held dog adoption events in Deedee’s Doggy Park and garnered a lot of attention.

A dog adoption event at Deedee’s Doggy Park. Credit: @whitemoosecafe

Unfortunately, the doggy park had to be removed in August 2021, following an enforcement order after a complaint from a neighbour to Dublin City Council.

Stenson reassured customers that furry friends were still welcome regardless of the doggy park being removed.

He said in a White Moose Café social media post, “While the physical structure will be no more, this does not mean we no longer welcome your furry friends in the White Moose.”


Many White Moose Café regulars will miss the colourfully marketed breakfast spot but Stenson said he would give someone the opportunity to continue the café’s legacy if he thinks they’re the right fit. 

He said in his announcement post, “I am willing to sell the White Moose brand to anyone mad enough to carry it on. I will only sell it to someone who will be able to continue the White Moose story well into the future and keep our customers smiling.”

Paul Stenson with his dogs Renko and Rocky. Credit: @paulvstenson

Paul is currently living in Achill Island, Co Mayo and is running a portable sauna business, Sabhna – Wild Atlantic Saunas at Keel Beach.

You can keep up with Paul Stenson and his endeavours on his Instagram – @paulvstenson.

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