Personal Space: On the Bowery, It's Cool to Drink Alone

An Irish bar that's livin' large
photo: Cary Conover

Sláinte (pronounced slahn-chuh) is an Irish pub for those untempted by close-quartered, begrimed joints where the intimate tangle of wined breaths and sweat declares itself in now smokeless air. But exterior hints of bourgieness are quickly dispelled by the realization that it's just new and clean. Sláinte's owners have preserved essentials—the mahogany bar (nearly 30 feet), the high-backed booths, tables appointed with squat stools, exposed brick—and left enough space to mingle, or walk to the toilet without spilling half your Carlsberg on that Lacoste polo. A two-for-one happy hour from 12 to 8 makes it the perfect place for a postprandial pint (well, two). Even if you don't drink Guinness—and if you don't, you should try theirs (it's one of the better pours around)—there are some 15 beers on draft (including Smithwick's, Boddington's, and Hefeweizen, $5 to $5.50) and another 16 bottled. Jameson will run you $6, and top-top-shelf liquor's a quasi-reasonable $8. But as at all good pubs, the real attraction's the unassuming social scene (don't be afraid to drink alone), here infused with a bit of "class" even Terry Malloy wouldn't shrink from.

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