No-Frills Bar Where You Can Just Drink, Now That's Refreshing

Keeping it simple
Keeping it simple


35 Canal
212 475-5505
The Lower East Side is so stuffed with places to drink that bars are steadily trickling south of Delancey and into the chic redevelopment of once nightlife-less streets where the L.E.S. and Chinatown converge. And with area destinations like East Side Company, King Size, and Good World holding their own, that trickle's likely to become a flood. Clandestino, a new addition to the area, shouldn't be dismissed as another hidden hot spot with a mixologist-designed cocktail list. On a recent evening, when asked about specialty drinks, the bartender recommended a Guinness ($5) and a shot of Powers whiskey ($4). Like the drinks, the space is no-frills. There's a mahogany bar, votives sit on the few tables near the front windows and sweep slivers of candlelight around the room, and patrons are welcome to tinker around on a piano tucked into a corner. Drink choices have a casual simplicity. Beers, featuring ale-snob favorites like Chimay and Hoegaarden, range from $5 to $6. Wine options are handwritten on a chalkboard with Idiot's Guide frankness: Red is listed from light to full, white from sweet to dry, and all under $9. The picnicish food menu is minimal, featuring only bread with Brie, Comté, Roquefort, pâté, or ham priced from $3 to $7. From its affordable prices and affectless decor, it's clear that Clandestino is an ode to the neighborhood bar. Amid upscale venues stretching throughout the neighborhood, it's a comforting option for a down-to-earth evening.