The Ginger Man is best characterized as a bar with food rather than a restaurant with drinks. Beer is the focus here, and for the beer lover The Ginger Man must be nirvana. We counted at least 50 beers and ciders on tap, and at least as many available in bottles. The long bar and seating areas are meant for some serious drinking, and we suspect that happy hour is fairly raucous.
Fortunately, our visit was at lunch time. We were in that part of town where Murray Hill meets a number of loosely named neighborhoods and needed a quick nosh. Our visit, therefore, cannot be used as a fair measure of what the space would be like during a crowded happy hour, because, among other things, it appeared that only a few customers were drinking. That said, the background music was a bit louder than we would have liked, but earlier that day it was announced that David Bowie had died and The Ginger Man, like most other venues in the city, was playing his music to honor his memory. We will have to return to see what the volume is like on a typical day.
We were seated in the front dining area and it wasn’t crowded, so we could easily manage the music volume. No doubt this was due, at least in part, to the design of the space. Although there was a large glass window in the front, the unfinished wood floor had a couple of large wool rugs strewn about. There also were a few upholstered arm chairs and leather sofas, and several fabric cushions placed around the space. The wood, rugs, and fabric all help to absorb sound and keep it from resounding. It also made the space feel comfortable, like a cross between a pub and a gentlemen’s club.
We wouldn’t go out of our way to have a meal at The Ginger Man, as the food was just adequate pub grub. This is, as noted, a place meant for drinking. That said, the front area, if packed, would probably be difficult to tolerate. We assume that happy hours and evenings later in the week may be difficult to bear. But the hours are long and there are, no doubt, periods when the place is not crowded. Aim for those times, and you should be able to comfortably drink your beer(s) of choice.
There also is a small room in the back of the space, near the restrooms, that seems much quieter. This small room is carpeted with upholstered sofas. There is a bar opposite the room, but it appears to be used as staging for staff. If the front bar is too loud, check out the back room.
Monday through Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.
Saturday: 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.
Sunday: 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
reet (betw. Madison and 5th Avenues), New York, NY 11016