The newest drinking establishment in Isla Vista is getting some new friends – Captain Morgan, Johnny Walker, Jose Cuervo and the whole bunch.
Dublin’s Sports Grill, located on the corner of Pardall Road and Embarcadero Del Norte, is in the process of upgrading its beer and wine license to a full service liquor license, which will allow the business to serve hard liquor. This will be only the second business in Isla Vista with such a license. Riccardo Fundament, owner of the Irish-themed pub Dublin’s, said he adopted the current beer and wine license from Rusty’s Pizza, the previous owners of the building.
“I’ve put my life savings into this place. My vision is to have a really nice establishment in Isla Vista like E-Bar or Chili’s,” he said. “I think it’s good for the community to have a more upscale place like this to go.”
Every county has an Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Dept. that controls businesses with any type of liquor license. The ABC only allots a certain number of liquor licenses based on the county’s population. Fundament said he purchased the upgraded license through a broker for $47,000 from a woman who used to own a business in the area.
“Once you’re a licensed establishment — beer and wine license — there are only so many liquor licenses available in the county, so you have to buy the license from a private party,” he said. “I was very fortunate to be able to get a beer and wine license that has been with every business in this building since 1964, the real difficult thing is getting a new license.”
Currently, Study Hall is the only establishment in I.V. that has a full service liquor license. However, Fundament said his goal is not to turn Dublin’s into a dive bar or club, but shift the business into more of a restaurant or pub atmosphere.
“I think with that addition, it will really give a nice feel to a place. If a bunch of people are hanging out here drinking beers and someone wants a margarita, the whole group gets up and leaves,” he said. “I end up losing business because it only takes five minutes to go to places in Goleta.”
Along with the upgraded liquor license, Fundament said he plans on upgrading the food as well. This includes expanding the current menu, which consists of items like hamburgers, fish and chips and a chicken caesar salad to having Shepherd’s Pie, Irish Stew and specials like Pasta Tuesday and Steak Thursday.
“This should all happen immediately after we get the liquor license. The booze is not going to be the center of attention,” he said. “The alcohol promotions will always be around the food. Like our burger deal, instead of a schooner, maybe for an extra $2 more, you can get a margarita.”
Fundament said the process to upgrade is timely and he anticipates the upgrade will be finalized within a month or two.
“There is a lot of paperwork and the ABC comes through and checks the place,” he said. “Everyone in Isla Vista sells beer, I want to be known for my food also. I’m 43 years old, I don’t have a party place in mind, just a nice local place where people can come get a bite to eat and have some drinks.”