Dublin Square is an establishment with a dual personality. It is both a pub-style restaurant and a college town bar. Late night weekends draw a student crowd, but during regular dining hours it is a family friendly spot with handsome décor, featuring Irish-themed food and an extensive draft beer and Guinness drink menu (Black and Tan, Black and Blue, Black and Gold, etc.).
Two of my dinner partners opted for soup to begin our dinner. The creamy New England Clam Chowder, included with dinner, won rave reviews. It was thick, but not too heavy, and had a good balance of clams and potatoes. Potato Leek Soup with Bacon is a menu standard, available for $3.49 a cup. It tasted good, but was a little heavy on the potatoes.
The light eater in our group wanted to try their version of a French Dip, the Irish Beef Dip, but could only handle half a sandwich. The server had no problem with this. The savory sandwich consisted of lean shaved certified angus beef on toasted ciabatta bread with cheddar cheese, served with a side of homemade au jus. The beef was tender and plentiful, but not exactly “piled high,” as the menu described. The sandwich came with a large helping of homemade seasoned kettle chips, and they were crispy, delicious and addictive.
My other dinner partner loves good Fish and Chips, and Dublin Square really prepared this right. The North Atlantic cod is dipped in their famous Guinness beer batter and served with French fries and homemade tartar sauce for $13.49. The large fish filet was flaky and fresh, and the batter was crisp and not greasy.
The Wicklow Turkey and Brie Panini sounded good to me. It consisted of thinly sliced smoked turkey on a pesto oiled toasted ciabatta with melted provolone cheese and Brie spread for $8.49. Soft warm ciabatta bread held turkey that was nice and smoky, with pieces of creamy Brie melted in. I really enjoyed the sandwich, but would have liked a bit more pesto flavor. The sandwiches are served with homemade seasoned kettle chips, but I substituted fries for an additional $1.50. The fries were okay, but after tasting the yummy homemade chips, I wished I had ordered them instead.
Our server was very friendly and sincere, and stopped by several times to see if we needed anything. She was happy to grant the special request for a half sandwich.
The entire interior of the pub, including the hand carved mahogany bar, was built in Dublin, Ireland, then shipped and reassembled in East Lansing. The décor has many artifacts, including contents from the first stout brewery in Ireland and Guinness barrels bound by metal from the actual railroad tracks leading into the brewery. A large patio is open for outdoor dining in warm weather. The only complaints I have are they do not take reservations and parking close to the building is limited. That said, a short walk and a little wait are worth it to enjoy the warm atmosphere in the Pub.
Sandwiches start at $7.99, salads at $9.99 and entrees at $9.99 for pasta, so prices are about the same as similar restaurants in the area. Dublin Square offers several specials. For the early crowd, there is Happy Hour, with drink specials Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., and the later evening crowd can enjoy half off selected appetizers from 9 p.m. to close every day.
Feeling charitable? You can enjoy the food and atmosphere, and support the East Lansing Public Library at the same time! They are holding Second Sunday @ Dublin Square events on April 11 and May 16 (the third Sunday of the month). During these events, Dublin Square will donate 10 percent of the proceeds from 4 to 9 p.m. to the library. The Second Sunday events offer guests a fun way to enjoy a night out while helping the local library.