Pressing one’s ear to the rim of a beer glass at The Watershed Tavern & Grill’s bar, one can almost hear the small waves lapping against the shores of nearby Lake Lansing. The white Christmas lights strewn across the ceiling similarly evoke the outdoors with their semblance to a starry night sky. The owners of the cozy neighborhood pub didn’t have to look far for the inspirations behind this décor—Lake Lansing Park, with its lush trees and notoriously hungry lake monster, lies just across the street. Additionally, strains of music from live bands and DJs can be heard most evenings, adding to the bar's welcoming atmosphere. Though many visitors stop in thanks to the pub’s proximity to recreation as well as to Michigan State University and downtown Lansing, signature menu items such as the Shed chips ensures a steady stream of regulars. Seasoned, fried, and served with chunky blue-cheese dressing, the homemade sliced russet potatoes remain a staple, as do the home-style chicken Parmesan and spicy buffalo chicken wrap. The all-you-can-eat soup and salad bar is also a crowd-pleaser, offering crisp leafy greens and warming soup pours. High-definition televisions line the pub’s dark hardwood walls, causing draft brews and stacked sandwiches to teeter as Spartans fans slam their tables in celebration of touchdowns and strategic timeouts.
Buddies Pub & Grill’s menu is so diverse that the nachos alone come in four styles. They range from a Southern-style plate of chips crowned with barbecue beef and jalapeños to a meatless plate of garden nachos topped with extra veggies and love letters from local garden gnomes.
For over 15 years, the eatery has sated appetites with a massive menu that includes sandwiches, upscale steaks, and seafood. Assorted burgers and salads round out the menu, along with customizable pizzas with toppings such as pepperoni, Philly cheese steak, and banana peppers.
The restaurant's three locations feature interiors that also emphasize variety, with dining tables that are flanked by flat-screen TVs, pool tables, and high-stool bar tables.
Elk and wild boar make unlikely bar guests, but the stuffed trophies of both are regulars on the walls at Jimmy’s Pub alongside a cadre of vintage portraits. This East Lansing bar—which has the old-fashioned, outdoorsy air of a brick-paved street, complete with antique-style street lamps—has been serving frosty mugs of Fat Tire and Guinness brews for more than a decade. Behind the wooden, horseshoe-shaped bar, bartenders pour drafts and mix specialty martinis such as the Blue Angel, whose vodka, blue curaçao, and crème de cacao come together only when shaken at 7 Gs. A hefty menu of Italian and American bar bites complements the libations with plates of seven-layer lasagna, half-pound burgers, and pretzel-crusted salmon. Fifteen high-definition televisions broadcast sports games throughout the expansive dining space, and a jukebox thrums with peppy tunes.
In 2006, the founders of Dublin Square Irish Pub & Restaurant followed through on their longtime vision of bringing a small piece of their homeland to East Lansing?literally. Much of the pub's interior decor was gathered or built in Ireland then transported some 4,000 miles to its new home in Michigan. That includes the hand-carved mahogany bar, which was reassembled on-site by the same craftsmen who built it across the pond, where the wood would otherwise have toiled in obscurity as an ornate armoire.
Surrounded by these Irish relics, the pub's visitors can truly celebrate the craic?a term for the camaraderie and good cheer that abounds in a welcoming pub. They can also dig into classic Irish dishes, such as bangers and mash, a dish consisting of locally made Irish sausage, crispy haystack onions, and a side of Guinness mustard. The menu honors American favorites, too, including New York strip steaks and pizza. All of these meals come together over rounds of drinks that range from draft beers to international wines.