The trip was made for Comic Con. Well, technically it was to loiter around outside Comic Con, since tickets were nowhere to be had. Well, that and to check out The Sheleighly’s, an Irish Folk Rock Awesome band based out of the Ridgecrest area. Dublin Square has been a pub that so many of the So Cal bands have hit in the normal circuits, that curiosity had been peaked for awhile.
The journey began in the San Fernando Valley on a Saturday, and 4 or 5 hours later (at one point, the time just started blending together in traffic), rolled into San Diego. Excitement was building as a moderately priced parking lot that allowed overnight was located, since we were roughing it by camping in the car that night. Sadly, since we got into town so late, we didn’t have time to dress for the Comic Con loiterings, which involved piratical shenanigans. We opted for normal clothed shenanigans in the company of our pirate accomplices. Side note, loitering outside Comic Con is amazing within itself.
And then we started feeling peckish.
A few blocks from the Convention Center, Dublin Square is well within walking distance*. The pub front façade gives off an air of the architecture and bustling atmosphere reminiscent of Dublin city. With the talents of O’Sullivan Interiors, Ireland’s most authentic pub design company and based out of Waterford, Tynan’s Pub was recreated for San Diego. It couldn’t have been more spot-on for that authentic feel if they had actually broken down Tynan’s Pub and shipped the lot of it to San Diego. From the warm solid Irish oak, down to the moldings, panels, and hand carvings, every detail had been painstakingly reproduced. This attention to detail has created an amazingly inviting pub.
Happy to report that the food is just as amazing as the pub. While the Guinness pints appeared to have been poured in a rush, we opted to switch to Smithwick’s (because who doesn’t love an Irish red?), which was a lighter choice, and accompanied the meat laden dinners nicely.
Our dinner included soup and entrees:
- Harp Beer Cheese Soup (in a bread bowl): It’s cheesy deliciousness combining Parmesan, Cheddar, and Jack, and has strong undertones of the Lager. As a bit of a bread and carb snob, the bread bowl wasn’t as fresh as one would hope for it to be. The entrees ended up coming out fairly quickly, so after a few tastes of the soup, it was put aside to keep as something to hold us over through the evening’s music. The soup itself actually kept decently well, and even cold, was welcoming in between the pints of beer.
- Guinness Braised Beef: The beef was incredibly tender, and just shy of melting off of the fork. The sauce/gravy was flavorful and deep. The mashed potatoes weren’t anything to scream about, but they were palatable. While not the star attraction in a plate with Guinness Braised Beef, what blew me away were the seasonal veggies. On the menu, it appeared to be just an added on side to balance out the mashed potatoes. Ever wary but accepting of the fact that they might not be eaten, the veggies, more often than not, usually end up being flavorless and limp. Not so in this case. It was actually the first thing completely consumed from the plate. They were well seasoned and properly cooked to keep a bit of the crisp.
- Guinness Meat Pie: Slightly different from the Guinness Braised Beef, this dish brings a bit of a higher level to the whole “meat pie” world. This is not something to eat with your hands. It comes as Guinness braised sirloin tips (again, just about tender to the touch) and sandwiched between two flaky pastry pieces. Accompanying it was a standard dinner salad. A bit of lackluster plating for a directly off-the-menu option, but the meat pie was definitely filling and hit that comfort food spot.
While seriously hoping to have enough room for dessert, even with the remaining hours spent at the pub dancing, laughing, and tipping back the pints, we weren’t able to partake in any of them. Perhaps a future trip will involve a dessert run to sample the Irish Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce, Bailey’s Crème Brulee, the Whiskey Cake, or Irish Sundae (“Warm Irish Whiskey Brownie, vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and Bailey’s”).
The dinner service was prompt and quick. Our drinks usually didn’t stay empty for too long, and the wait staff we encountered were friendly. As the evening progressed, the pub started picking up a bit more momentum as Comic Con attendees started venturing out looking for a good time, and as the band started prepping for their set. It was at this point that we had started having to hunt down our waitress for more drinks and water refills. It’s completely understandable, but at one point, after a rather vigorous jig, the water glasses stayed empty for about 10 minutes after we had asked for it.
All in all, Dublin Square mixed with The Sheleighly’s and Comic Con presented an amazing weekend experience. The Ceili & Craic tastebuds hope to be venturing back in the future.