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Walnut Creek Magazine

Cheers to Oakland’s New Authentic Irish Pub - Sláinte

May 12, 2017 10:27AM ● By Fran Miller

Photo: Peter Lyons

One would never know that Sláinte is a recent addition to Oakland’s Jack London district. The Irish Pub’s aura is that of a decades old establishment – one of comfort and camaraderie, where friends, colleagues, and neighborhood locals gather for a game of darts and a pint of Guinness. Proprietors Jackie Gallanagh and Jenny Schwarz were thrilled when the 2nd and Broadway site of a former Indian restaurant revealed itself during the remodel to be an exposed-brick masterpiece. The addition of a wrap-around oak bar, built-in bench seating, comfy armchairs, a cozy central fireplace, and a veritable library of Irish literature complete the picture of authenticity.

Photo: Peter Lyons

That authenticity brings tears to the eyes of the Irish expats who enter – especially moving seems to be the display of Taytos crisps that hang by the bar. Gallanagh imports the ‘only-in-Ireland’ product and underestimated their emotional impact. Equally affecting are the Irish-born Gallanagh’s house made traditional Irish dishes. While emphasis is decidedly on the bar, the concise menu and its offerings are the real deal. Every recipe is reflective of Gallanagh’s upbringing, and every ingredient is sourced when possible from the motherland:

Fish & Chips (battered cod & thick cut crispy chips, served with malted vinegar, natch)

Shepherd’s Pie (a classic dish of lamb, veg and potatoes baked in individual dishes)

Sausage Roll (pork sausage & fresh sage wrapped with a fresh flakey pastry)

Daily Soup 

Soda Bread Plate (served with Irish cheese and Kerrygold Irish butter)

Chips & Curry Sauce (add homemade coleslaw for an extra experience)

Irish Breakfast (two fried eggs, beans, roasted tomato, black and white pudding, bacon, Irish sausage, buttered soda bread, and boxty - a potato pancake)

For dessert: Guinness Ginger Cake with whiskey spiked whipped cream

While Gallanagh oversees the kitchen, Schwarz (of Oakland’s popular Hopscotch) covers the bar. She’s created a program that focuses on Imported Irish beer, cider and whiskey, such as Guinness Stout, Smithwick’s Ale, and Magner’s Cider. A well-stocked selection of whiskey and other spirits is available in addition to classic cocktails such as a Whiskey Sour, Gin Ricky, Red O’Hanlon, and a Gibson Martini. Don’t miss the Irish Coffee with its layer of sweet cream – reportedly the best in the East Bay according to those in the Irish Coffee-know.

Photo: Peter Lyons

Sláinte, pronounced ‘slahn-cha,’ means ‘good health or Cheers’ in Irish Gaelic. Raise your glass in salute to any of the number of Irish arts icons adorning the walls: Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Sinead O’Connor, and Bono to name a few. Enjoy an unplugged musical performance by local musicians who’ve gathered organically in the corner. Or watch a sporting event on one of several televisions that might be tuned-in to either rugby, soccer, or Warrior games. Silence your phone, and partake in the conviviality. Sláinte is the sort of place where everyone will soon know your name.

Sláinte: 131 Broadway, Oakland, CA


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