“Right about here is where go-go boys used to dance” my friend remarked one Friday evening about our table’s location as we sipped bourbon cosmos at M&R Bar. He was referring to the last occupants—the Slide—an infamous gay watering hole where free shots were given out to courageous topless imbibers. Since June, this downstairs space has been reincarnated into the new home of the M&R Bar, a popular place that used to exist a few years back on Elizabeth Street. Owners Michael Howett and Richard Bach hope to entice old and new patrons once again with an extensive wine list and select food menu. Warm boudoir-red hues, nude paintings, and wrought iron details have helped draw people back as this intimate casualness provides welcome relief to the Bowery’s meatpacking-ization. M&R’s interior coziness, not to mention strong drinks, quickly melted me into the weekend, making the bourbon cosmo well worth the $11. After finishing that aperitif, exotic plates, such as caramelized onions and figs ($4), merlot-infused Irish cheddar and Parmesan Reggiano ($9), and tapas-esque dishes ($5) fueled my salty snack addiction. Thankfully the second drink I ordered, the Fuzzy Valencia ($11), an inspired-whiskey concoction, had enough V.O. shaken into it to make me not mind the extensive Red Hot Chili Peppers songs that made the bar feel less speakeasy and more circa 1993. But as my friend remarked, thankfully no one was shirtless.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 18, 2006