Featuring an interior that recently emigrated from the Emerald Isle, Dublin Square Irish Pub embodies a genuine Gaelic oasis with two full-service bars, cozy private tables, and a rich menu of traditional pub favorites. Appetizers include the Dublin hush puppies, where Guinness-battered corned beef and potatoes slip into a business-casual shoe of horseradish sauce to perform a lively Riverdance with other starters, such as the parmesan-crusted baked blue crab and brie. The Belfast fillet tips, rich with the flavors of garlic and plum sauce, perch atop a mound of jasmine rice and leeks, and the chicken Ramona—stuffed with spinach, herbs, and cream cheese—luxuriates in mustard cream. Much like a lavish garden wedding, turnips, celery, carrots, and onions revel in a rich sherry sauce within the golden brown crust of the Lanebourough shepherd's pie, officiated by succulent lamb. Nineteen craft beers lurk behind the two full-service bars, and a UN of wines resolve their petty differences with a hearty toast.
Despite the fact that they sell frozen treats, Swirlberry isn't synonymous with sweet—their artisan-made frozen yogurt embraces crisp, refreshing flavors that aren't overloaded with sugar. The machines at each location dispense classic variants such as Greek tart and vanilla, fruity spoonfuls of pomegranate and strawberry, as well as Hershey's ice cream and vanilla custard. Even the flavors that skew toward desserts—birthday cake, for example—are still low-fat and don't overpower the palate.
Every flavor is also kosher, gluten-free, and host to four active live cultures that may aid in digestion. And, Swirlberry's resident yogurt mixologist keeps the menu fresh by inventing seasonal flavors, rather than by combining chocolate with vanilla and calling it "mystery taste." Guests can embellish their yogurt with toppings that run the gamut from fresh fruit and berries to cereal bits and chocolate chips. More decadent non-yogurt treats such as vanilla custard and Hershey's ice cream are also available.
There aren't many restaurants anymore where you can sit in the same booth your parents might have dined in 40 years ago. But such is the case at Beggar's Banquet. The self-proclaimed restaurant and saloon took root in 1973, founded by Bob Adler and named after his favorite Rolling Stones album. The pub-like main dining area remains down-to-earth and casual, welcoming guests with wood-paneled walls and stained-glass windows. The names of "beggulars" are etched on gold plates above the bar, and local families celebrate milestones in an elegant room dedicated to private parties. All of this, coupled with the nostalgic atmosphere and tasty, homestyle dishes, has helped Beggar’s Banquet earn praise as one of Lansing's best restaurants by 10Best.
Twenty ever-changing craft beers on tap and a wine list that ranges from malbecs to piesporters fuel the jovial ambiance. Cooks innovate creative spins on classic comfort food, adding muenster, havarti, and gouda to their baked mac 'n’ cheese and a blueberry compote to char-grilled pork chops. They also serve breakfast until 2 p.m., the time each day when orange juice magically transforms into soda pop.
In an effort to find a healthy alternative to fast food without sacrificing speediness, the creators of Pita Pit began assembling their signature sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night snacks. At each location customers can sample thin pitas that encircle lean, grilled meats and fresh veggies. Sandwich selections span the spectrum from gyro meat and falafel to turkey and prime rib. The staff empowers customers to make healthy choices by displaying nutrition information for its bread and meats, and by offering a selection of healthy sandwiches.
Set among table games, large screens, and a dance floor, The Riv keeps patrons well-fueled for carousal thanks to a straightforward menu of tried-and-true pub platters. Guests predisposed to gnawing museum artifacts can recover by munching buffalo wings ($6.99) and nachos ($7.99); larger appetites are well-served by burgers such as the rodeo burger, lassoed together with barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese, and onion rings ($5.99). Meanwhile, the friendly staff behind the full-service bar serves up cocktails and beer, ably fueling competitive spirits at three pool tables, darts, and arcade games. Feel free to keep up with athletic combat and jersey fashions on any of the three large-screen TVs, or unshackle feet on the dance floor thanks to the rousing beats of the live guest and house DJs.
Crunchy’s takes its beer seriously. Customers can pick from 27 taps at the pub, coming from Michigan breweries such as Bell’s and New Holland, as well as craft breweries including Dogfish Head and Stone. The microbrew-loving staffers regularly host brewers' nights with reps on hand to sample and answer questions, and celebrate the release of seasonal beers such as Bell’s Oberon. Brews come by the pint or in the famous 270-ounce “bucket of beer,” ideal for serving a large party or putting out a dollhouse fire.
To accompany the tap selection, Crunchy’s kitchen serves a menu of pub fare that includes stone-baked calzones, deep-dish pizzas, and half-pound char-grilled burgers. Nine burger-topping combinations, each including a beer-pairing suggestion, range from pineapple and teriyaki sauce to sautéed onions and pepperoncinis.
Crunchy’s cultivates a casual and easygoing atmosphere both inside its taproom and on its front patio. Inside, beer signs and photos plaster the aged wood walls above emerald booths, separated from central tables by illuminated weathered wood arches. Arcade games and dartboards are situated in the front, next to painted white wood where patrons of the past have scrawled their names or TARDIS coordinates. A full events calendar includes karaoke every Thursday–Saturday.
What Up Dawg? Restaurant and Tavern celebrates encased meats by offering 10 different sausage styles. Chili douses natural casing franks for the Coney Dawg, while all-beef franks get Chicago style from bright green relish and sport peppers, rather than a lot of wind. Chicken sausage and meat-free dogs are healthier alternatives, and hot sausages set taste buds ablaze. These dogs pair especially well with local Michigan beers and the Spartans games that flicker on the televisions hanging around the perimeter of forest-green walls.