It’s early evening and you’re in the Financial District looking for a place to chill with your friends. You spy Clinton Hall and see that there is plenty of seating and a nice crowd. Should you pay a visit? Nope. Why? We have 87.7 reasons why you should avoid Clinton Hall (with a proviso below). Which is sad, really, because Clinton Hall has the potential to be a good bar option as it has a very good beer list and tasty snacks. But a good beer list and tasty snacks cannot make up for a punishing noise level.
We were seated inside during our visit and wondered if the noise level might be more tolerable sitting outside during the warmer months, but we were advised by someone familiar with the place that it is just as loud outside as it was inside. So what was the culprit? The usual, very loud music. And once again it was very loud bland, nondescript music. We didn’t recognize a song–it was nonstop forgettable corporate pop drivel. Why do places do this? If they are going to bombard their guests with loud music, they should at least have the decency to play something interesting. But we shouldn’t have been surprised as Clinton Hall smells like it’s owned by one of those hospitality partnerships. That said, it has the potential to be a mostly fun place as they have lots board games, including some oversized games meant for groups, and plenty of seating inside and out. That is, It could be fun if one could hear one’s companions, but it was really difficult to do so during our visit.
We must note that within minutes of turning off the decibel meter the music volume dropped off dramatically. Why? It was 10:00 p.m. and we assume that they were observing the New York City Noise Code rules governing places that play music. Good for them for being observant. One hopes they eventually recognize that the bar becomes comfortable only after the music volume is lowered. And yes, it was actually comfortable once the volume was lowered.
Generally we would advise you to avoid a place with a decibel reading this high, but the Financial District has few real options and there are ways you could negotiate a visit to Clinton Hall. Long and short, we advise that you visit only if the temperature is warm enough to allow you to sit outside, you aim for a table furthest away from the indoor space, and the place is fairly empty. Or you could stop by after 10:00 p.m.
NOTE: Our visit occurred before the scaffolding appeared. With the scaffolding there could be a difference in noise level, certainly for the outdoor seating. Proceed with caution.
Sunday through Wednesday: 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.
Thursday through Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.
90 Washington Street (betw. Rector and Joseph P. Ward Streets), New York, NY 10006