Slainte Irish Pub 33 Bowen Street

In keeping with our pub month theme, there was no question that we had to pay a visit to one of the city’s most popular and well-established pubs (and Hamilton’s only gastropub), Slainte. Kristin and I felt like getting our Irish on before St. Patrick’s Day and knew Slainte was the perfect spot to do so. Seeing as it had been on our list for quite a while, it was only fitting to check it out on the eve before grand St. Patty’s, especially since the word slainte means cheers. And there was certainly good cheer all around that evening!

Originally a stable dating back to the mid-1800s, Slainte maintains that historic feel evidenced when you first walk in. Most of the furniture is made of wood, which has a rich, warm feel to it and we took a venture upstairs to check out the second floor, an area where private parties are held. From the beer barrels lining the walls to the old fashioned, candle holding chandeliers (with a lei of clovers drapped around them, a nice modern touch), Slainte effortlessly incorporates historic pieces, adding that element of “back in the day” and making it feel like you’re back in the 1800s, going out for a pint on the town. Once thing I’ve really grown to appreciate is the decor in each place we’ve visited and the amount of detail gone into the decor really enhances the overall experience. Even the sign outside reminds me of one you’d see at a pub back in the day.

Living up to its reputation, the place was PACKED when Kristin and I arrived. As we waited for a table, we headed over to the bar area. The bartender, upon noticing there weren’t any empty stools, kindly found some for us and we sat, perusing the menu. So began the indecisiveness, with so many drinks to choose from! We learned that there was a special on martinis that night and the feature martini was the Cake martini. Kristin had told me about a new Cake vodka that’d come out recently and we were both curious to try it. The decision was made! And in record time, no less. Another feat for A&K, go us! While not a typical pub drink, it fit well with the festiveness surrounding St. Patty’s.

We didn’t have to wait too long for a table and after perusing the food menu some more, we decided on some delicious Blarney chips (Kristin and I giggled over the name) – waffle chips topped with cheese, green onions, tomatoes and jalapenos, with sour cream and salsa. A dish I would recommend and a perfect mix of Irish fanfare and fiesta. Kristin and I nodded in approval as we munched away and had a much needed chinwag (Irish slang for chat) about all things Tour related.

Slainte has live entertainment throughout the week featuring local music, ranging from acoustic to blues as well as dance music on Friday and Saturday. With a wide selection of drinks and food, Slainte is the perfect spot for a night out on the town with friends to enjoy some Irish pub food, music and a wee bit of chinwag.


xoxo Avi

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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