What a pleasant surprise we had when we ducked into the Peter McManus Cafe, an Irish pub located in Chelsea, for a quick midweek lunch. The pub, which was founded in 1932, has been in its current location since 1936. We can vouch that it looks like very little has been done to the interior since that time (which we think is a good thing). The cafe has a bar in the front that is lined with stools, with a few tables and two or three flat screen tvs playing the game du jour. In the back there is a dining room that is open to the bar area, but somewhat shielded from bar noise.
When we arrived all the tvs were on in the bar and dining room, but only one tv in the bar had the volume turned on. This was not a problem at all, as it could easily be heard by the patrons sitting at the bar but was merely a background hum in the dining area, where we had our meal. With a decibel reading of 65.3, this was one of the most peaceful lunches we have had in a long time.
There is no question that the place was so quiet because is wasn’t crowded. In fact, the bar was only half full and the dining room was mostly empty. That said, we think lunches generally should be comfortable, particularly in the dining space. Our suspicion was confirmed by our friendly and efficient waitress who said that lunches tend to be quiet unless there was a big game on tv. She noted that the space tends to be louder at dinner, but added that the jukebox in the front did not play in the dining area. And no surprise, she confirmed that the place will be packed and noisy anytime there is a big game.
Peter McManus Cafe felt more like a pub with food than a restaurant, but they turned out a very freshly made and tasty club sandwich. There are at least a dozen beers on tap and another dozen in bottles, plus an extensive list of whiskies from around the world. More importantly, the place felt like a real neighborhood bar, and it was clear that the patrons lining the bar were regulars.
If you want to enjoy a beer and a burger in relative peace, head on over to the Peter McManus Cafe. Neighborhood bars are a real rarity in Manhattan. Enjoy this one while it’s still around (just don’t come during the Superbowl).
Monday through Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 am.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.