SlainteI imagine that it’s the exact language that this place trades on that ruins its chances to be a serious destination for pub-seeking Americans. With a city full of names like McSorley’s, KinsaleO’Flanagan’s and Paddy Maguires, why is someone going to risk phoning up his buddies and telling them to meet at Slaint? It’s just easier to skip it. It’s like being a teacher with that Siobhan girl in your class; no matter how many times you see her name on the attendance sheet, you’re going to just call her Miss O’Connell or whatever because the letters make about as much sense as Krzyzewski. And, yes, I know what Gaelic is, so shut up. That said, I’m glad I risked embarrassment by suggesting the place, as everything it lacked in name recognition it made up for in cheeseburger. Granted, I could have eaten the gum off the underside of a toilet seat at a leather club by the time I sat down in this cavernous, non-traditional Irish pub. Not that I had any great desire to ingest a communicable disease, but I was just that hungry–and hungry specifically for a burger. I was a little too fixated on my meat to get a great sense of the place, but it certainly seemed more adult than most of the joints in the neighborhood. It could have been the early bird-ish hour we were there, but it certainly seemed, judging by the higher end decor (and by higher end I mean sans teeth marks and splash stains), dim lighting, and friendly service (read: waitress with an amazingly abundant amount of heaving cleavage), that they were making the attempt that other kiddie bars, or old, slobbering drunk guy pubs don’t seem to put forth. It’s not as if I work anywhere near this neighborhood, but I could see it as one of those good after work places that has lots of beer, a good amount of room and burgers worth writing irritating reviews over. Too bad I’ll never suggest it out loud. [MF]

304 Bowery