DIGS Gastropub beer tent dominates downtown Marquette

DIGS Gastropub beer tent dominates downtown Marquette

Liz Trueblood

Sleet and snow didn’t stop Marquette citizens and NMU students alike from taking Washington Street by storm from 2 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 17 for the inaugural DIGS Bash.

The Bash, meant to be a promotional event and St. Patrick’s Day party for the newly renovated DIGS Gastropub which opened Tuesday on Washington did not disappoint patrons with its entertainment or its fare.

The block party shut down traffic on Washington between Third and Front streets, but the sidewalks were still thronging with people—in pride-of-place in front of DIGS was a large white party tent with heaters, food and booze flowing freely inside.

Earlier in the afternoon the party was pretty mellow—an older crowd of primarily community members gathered around cups of green Pabst Blue Ribbon to enjoy live music from a local band as well as the excitement of a mechanical bull.

“The food smelled amazing and the atmosphere was really laid-back but upbeat at the same time,” said Hanna Shemke, a senior English writing major who attended the Bash earlier in the afternoon. “I felt like I was hanging out with a bunch of friends.”

The tent pulsed with energy, muted but excited—the kind that can only come from a St. Patrick’s Day party that’s on its way to being something great.

Festivities were not limited exclusively to the party tent; DIGS’s actual pub was open as well, for patrons to enter, explore and enjoy a quieter bite to eat. For those who remember the space as it was prior to closing for renovations back in December, the new interior of DIGS was like a breath of fresh air.

Gone is the oversized bar that dominated the space when it was still The Doghouse Pub, replaced instead by a smaller, more refined setup that hugs the eastern wall of the pub, allowing for more seating space for patrons. A rich leather bench is set in the wall opposite the bar, accompanied by high and low tabletops, built from wood that was reminiscent of that which made up the bar. The walls, relatively unremarkable before, are now covered in multicolored tiles that pull all the elements of the space together, giving it a comfortable, rustic, homey feel.

In general the conversation inside DIGS centered around these renovations, with many community members commenting on the evolution of the bar and how excited they were for the new changes.

As the sun went down, the party picked up—around 5:30 p.m. DIGS co-owner Patrick Digneit hopped on the sound system in the party tent to pump up the crowd with some exciting words and Celtic rock, promising the impending entertainment of Dueling Pianos, who were setting up for their performance.

At 8:30 p.m. the tent was wall-to-wall packed with people enjoying said Dueling Pianos, sipping Irish whiskey and Guinness and singing along to “Benny and the Jets.”

When the party shut down at 10:00 p.m., many of the St. Patty’s revelers from the DIGS Bash went on to party and drink the night away at other establishments along Washington, but DIGS definitely set the tone for this St. Patrick’s Day.

“We feel like it was a huge success, and we’re really glad by the reception of the community and the attendance of all different kinds of people from young to old,” said DIGS co-owner Bill Digneit.

“We definitely enjoyed the experience and will come back next year bigger and better.”

The DIGS Bash was only a soft opening for Marquette’s newest pub. On Saturday, the restaurant was closed to the public for a private dinner service exclusively for DIGS employees’ friends and families who helped with the renovation process.

On Sunday they were open to first-come, first-serve reservations, but it wasn’t until Tuesday that DIGS reopened to the public for good, once again welcoming Marquette into an open, fun atmosphere that’s sure to thrive on the Marquette restaurant scene.

DIGS Gastropub has arrived with a bang on Washington Street; here’s hoping it’s here to stay.