After countless nights of sardine-packed dance floors, grungy dive bars and greasy fast food, I’ve come to expect little more from Street 51 than sloppy, drunken indulgence. When I heard about the new sports joint, aptly named Slur Bar – class wasn’t the first adjective that came to mind. I was wrong.
A little way off the main drag on Street 172, the bar occupies the building that was formerly the Cotton Club, a electronic music venue that closed last year. The new owners have converted the club space into a spacious sports bar with three televisions, one large projection screen and a pool table. As well as the usual football and rugby matches, more obscure sports such as competitive rock climbing are also shown.
Aesthetically, the bar’s most prominent feature is the graffiti artwork by street artists Peap Tarr and Lisa Mam. Their highly intricate designs set a mood that is elegantly urban. The ambience is completed by the bar’s numerous large leather booths, which lend themselves well to lengthy, lazy, group chats.
Despite being billed as a sports bar, the bar’s real selling point is its well-balanced atmosphere – it manages to walk the lines between being hip but not pretentious, edgy but not grimy, and clean but not sterile.
The bar itself offers a wide range of premium beers, with several variants of New Zealand’s Moa brand ($7) offered, as well as many Belgian beers, including Stella Artois ($3), Chimay Red ($6), Chimay Blue ($6.50) and Leffe ($3.50). For drinkers on a budget, the usual Angkor is offered on tap ($1.50 a pint, $12 a tower).
The wine selection is also decent, ranging from the house wine ($3 a glass, $15 a bottle) to Taittinger Brut Champagne ($80 a bottle). The cocktail selection is nothing fancy, but decently priced at $3.50-$4 for the usual mojitos, margaritas and tequila sunrises. Food-wise, I had a simple but decent beef bacon burger ($6). Finger food ($3), including nem cuốn (Vietnamese rice paper rolls), tempura, bacon cheese rolls, pizza, quiche lorraine and salad are also on the menu.
Although the bar has yet to host a major event, plans are in the pipeline to use Slur as a music venue. A fully equipped stage sits at the front of the building, with both Dub Addiction and former Cotton Club event organiser DJ DSN scheduled to perform next month.
Less than a month old, it is difficult to tell what direction the place will take as it develops a regular clientele and finds its rhythm. One thing’s for sure – whatever mark it makes on the neighbourhood will be anything but a slur.