208 East 5th Street (at Cooper Square)
In Irish slang, when you tell someone that you're "going to the scratcher," it means you're going to bed. Although the Scratcher won't put you to sleep, you may pass out if you aren't keeping track of all the pints you're sampling, because they have they not only have Guinness and Bass on tap, but Boddington's the cream of Manchester as well. Plus, they recently scored their liquor license, and they make a stiff rum and coke. Saturday and Wednesday nights are the best evenings to go; they're the prime days for Irish musicfests, and you are guaranteed to hear them play the Smiths and the Cocteau Twins at least once throughout the evening. Useless yet fun fact: Karl Geary, actor in "Nadja", and model in Madonna's book, "Sex," owns this bar (along with Anseo and The Lab). He keeps the place a family affair, too his brother Mark bartends a few nights a week.
Commentary by Shana Skaletsky, Wednesday, May 20, 1998.