Best New Downtown Bar (2000)
Slainte (pronounced "SLAWN-cha") is a Gaelic drinking toast, which translates roughly to "Cheers!" Stools are situated around a big black barrel of Jameson whiskey, a James Joyce quote is on the wall, and Lord of the Dance music fills the air. You can order a blarney burger, Irish lamb stew, corned beef and cabbage or chicken strips fried in Harp. You can sit around the cozy tables and down a pint of Guinness or a shot with your friends. It's a place where you can hear your friends when they talk. In the back of the bar, there's some sort of rock wall that we don't really understand. Maybe it has to do with the Blarney Stone. Maybe it's supposed to conjure the far and away rocks along the Irish shore. Or maybe you're supposed to feel like you're entering a cave with green and burgundy booths and old Celtic art on the wall. Upstairs is a darker, undecorated room, with leather couches and Barnes & Noble-type cushy chairs. There's an outside balcony that lets you look out at the street, make fun of the strange outfits people are wearing and watch the rickshaw driver pant up and down the street. Don't worry if you can't read the writing on the walls. You're not that smashed -- it's Gaelic.