The Dubliner Pub [CLOSED]
2046 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
Spirit in North Cambridge was one of those places that had a bit of an identity issue, as it was part Irish pub, part sports bar, part slightly upscale fern bar, part neighborhood joint, part comfort food restaurant, and, well, you get the picture. And the place went from being this kind of spot to more of an authentic Irish pub before reverting back to a watering hole that was a bit Irish pub and a bit American bar, with a section of its menu even being dedicated to Mexican fare. Well, the dining and drinking spot was recently reconcepted, and it is now more of an authentic Irish pub, presumably for keeps, though it still has a slightly split personality, with the place continuing to have a very slight sports bar vibe as well.
Because there is so little parking in the immediate area, and also because it is located about midway between Davis and Porter Squares, The Dubliner Pub--much like the former Spirit bar--is not a place that sees the type of foot traffic that some of the more popular pubs in the Boston area get. The new spot does have more of an attention-grabbing exterior, than its predecessor, however, so those who drive past it will more likely notice the place, especially at night when it is all lit up. The interior of The Dubliner Pub looks somewhat like the old Spirit, though with a bit more of a traditional look, with lots of dark woods, dim lights, and signs broadcasting popular beers from Ireland. Tables include a mix of high-top bar tables and regular tables, and an attractive bar takes up most of the right side of the space. A large TV remains in front and to the right, allowing diners to catch their favorite games.
The menu at The Dubliner Pub is somewhat different from that of Spirit, as the Mexican dishes are gone and there is more of an emphasis on Irish food. Their excellent curry fries have been brought back as well as their steamed mussels with a side of dense and slightly sweet brown bread, and the menu also brings back their excellent shepherd's pie with a mix of lamb and beef as well as the crispy chicken curry. The popular fish and chips are also offered here, and now there are new fish options, including a rich and savory plate of smoked cod and chips (a dish known well in Ireland but not so much here) and bangers and mash. Other new items include a thick and creamy leek and potato soup and a vegetarian plate that features a veggie burger and salad, and for those who yearn for pub grub, the eatery also continues to feature some outstanding wings (and similarly good Buffalo tenders) as well as juicy burgers with a variety of toppings. Drinks at The Dubliner Pub include Guinness and Smithwicks, and there are also a mix of craft beers and more familiar brews, with whiskeys, martinis, and an array of classic and modern cocktails also available. Brunch is served in Saturdays and Sundays here, with a traditional Irish breakfast being one option.
The Dubliner Pub might not be the type of place you travel miles to get to, but much like the old Spirit bar, it is a solid pub that is bound to be a favorite among North Cambridge and Arlington locals. And because The Dubliner Pub isn't a trendy hotspot as many new or reconcepted places are, chances are, you should be able to get a seat here on any given night (especially on weeknights). As far as Boston-area Irish pubs go, this one definitely gets a thumbs-up for its decent food and nice atmosphere.
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