Food Review

Dining at Dublin Square?


Dublin Square photo courtesy of http://chewjersey.wordpress.org/

January 9th was my wife’s birthday, so to celebrate, we planned on getting a babysitter to watch the kids so that we could go to Philly for a Friday night dinner at either Barbuzzo or Adsum. This was a slight change from our traditional birthday celebration, since we usually go out to dinner mid-week in order to avoid the weekend crowds. Wednesday and Thursday night dining equals better service and a much more enjoyable dining experience.

When you have kids, plans can change rather quickly, and on the Saturday morning before my wife’s birthday, our oldest son decided that he wanted to take his Mommy out to a Japanese restaurant for dinner. Dining with two boys under 6 years old can be challenging, but thankfully, the boys were very well behaved, the restaurant was very accommodating (Yokohama in Maple Shade, NJ), and we actually had a very nice family dinner.

Since Saturday night’s dinner was a bit more expensive than we’d originally planned, the wife decided to scrap our Friday night plans in an attempt to save a few dollars. I was looking forward to our Friday night outing, so I suggested that we still go out, but stay local instead of going in to Philly. By Thursday night, we had a babysitter scheduled, so all we had to do was pick a place to eat. After a brief debate, we decided to try Dublin Square, a new Irish pub in Cherry Hill, NJ that opened in the beginning of January.

Things were looking good once Friday night finally arrived. I was home from work by 5:45, the babysitter arrived at 6:40, and by 7:10, we were out the door. Dublin Square is less than two miles from our house, so we were pulling into the parking lot by 7:20.  The parking lot was packed, and the snowfall from earlier in the week made an already small parking lot even smaller. When we finally made it inside, the host told us that there would be a 60 to 90 minute wait for a table. We decided to stay since going anywhere else would result in a similar situation.

When you first enter Dublin Square, you’re greeted by a very large rectangular bar with ample space for sitting or standing. There are also seating and dining areas on either side of the bar, as well as another bar and dining room on the second floor. After a few minutes of jockeying for position, and a dirty look or two from a woman that wouldn’t get out of my way, I managed to order a Magner’s Irish Cider for the wife and a Guinness for myself. We eventually found a couple of seats at one end of the bar which gave us a very good view for people watching. We nursed our drinks while we waited and were eventually seated by 8:40.

Our hostess lead us up to the second floor dining room and sat us at the most unstable table that I have ever seen. Rather than complain and ask for a different table, we decided to keep our mouths shut and order food as quickly as possible since 9PM was fast approaching and we were getting very hungry. They sat us against a wall which was situated between the second floor bar and the main dining area. Although we once again had a great view, we also went unnoticed by the wait staff for at least 10 minutes. Watching the waiters deliver entrees was like watching a Keystone Kops film from the early 1900s. They were in complete disarray and had no clue who ordered what. This would prove to be a very bad omen of what was to come.

Once we finally flagged down our server, we ignored his “Would you like anything from the bar?” question and immediately ordered our food and drinks. About two minutes after receiving our beverages, the fire alarm started going off. Everyone ignored the shrieking siren and continued eating and drinking as if nothing unusual was happening. When the fire alarm eventually stopped, we thought the worst was over, and that our food would arrive shortly. We were so wrong. About a minute after the alarm stopped, we were informed that the Cherry Hill Fire Department was on their way, and that the bar and restaurant would need to be evacuated.

Rather than sit outside and wait, we decided to cut our losses and find somewhere else to eat. We eventually wound up at Kaminski’s. We were seated immediately and had food on the table within 15 minutes. We both had roast beef sandwiches and french fries. Tender and juicy roast beef, a fresh roll, and hot, crisp fries. We simply couldn’t ask for anything more.

It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get to eat at Dublin Square. Although the menu wasn’t very adventurous, it did cover all of the standard Irish Pub fare which I usually enjoy, and the overall atmosphere and decor was very warm and inviting. They also had an extensive selection of Irish whiskies, and a wide variety of Irish, English, and American craft beers. Since Dublin Square has only been open for a few weeks, I’ll assume that they’re just going through some growing pains. If I do decide to go back, I will most likely skip Friday or Saturday nights. Here’s hoping that I have better luck next time.

Slainte!

7 replies »

  1. Sorry to hear that you had service that I would find most typical. Perhaps, in the course of all of our lunches, some my “luck” has rubbed off on you.

    After the novelty has worn off (or maybe as a Sunday alternative to the Pourhouse), might I suggest we give Dublin Square another try.

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    • I would definitely give it a second chance. It’s really nice inside and I’m sure you would be pleased with the beverage selections. Not as good as The Pourhouse, but not bad either. You know where to find me!

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  2. I’m sorry to say I have had similar experiences. Poor service with little or no management involvement. As someone who runs a restaurant for a living I am wondering who is running this place? Seems like the staff to me. Kind of a shame, beautiful building and decor, but we definitely will never return after 3 poor experiences in 5 weeks. Too bad this place will probably follow Swanky Bubbles into obscurity in 12-18 months.

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    • Steve, I am not sure you are dining at the same restaurant we are dining at. I am sorry you have had bad experiences but G-lo’s experience noted in this post was more a result of bad luck and bad timing than bad management. If you run a restaurant you’ll agree that some bumps are always expected with the opening of a new restaurant.

      Since G-lo’s experience all of the authors on this blog and several readers have been back and had great experiences. For my part I have been to Dub Sq three times (for a weekday lunch, weekend lunch, and weekday dinner) and have had a great experience each time. The service was the best part of my trips with speedy service from the waitstaff and noticeable presence directing the show from the management/ownership.

      My concerns about Dub Sq stem more from the parking issues that will arise as this place increases in popularity than any service or management issues but it sounds like you have made up your mind and we won’t have to worry about your car.

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    • While my first visit was a complete disaster (except for the drinking by the bar part), subsequent visits have been much better. I was there for lunch on a Saturday with the wife, kids, and in-laws, and we were all very pleased. Good food, great beer, and a very nice waitress. Last night’s visit with the wife and kids was very good too. It was family night, so the kids ate for $1 each since the wife and I ordered entrees. There was also a balloon guy (the kids loved him!). Oh… and they also had a Wii going, so my oldest (he’s 6) was loving that. Once again, good waitress, good food. I think good experiences boil down to when you go. Since it’s still new, Friday and Saturday night visits will be just for the bar, or maybe late night snacks. Tough to expect things to go smoothly when it’s 4 deep at the bar. I think they will do very well since there really aren’t many bars in the surrounding area.

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