The Ginger Man
Taps: 72 / Bottles: 160
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 255 | Reviews: 212 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Kendo:
4.16/5 rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Was in NYC on business last week and stopped in for the first time after reading about it here. . . . Near the entrance they've got a window/glass display area with all sorts of books on beer (including at least one of Michael Jackson's), so I thought "OK, they take beer seriously here." Nice space -- high ceiling, not a dingy dive bar at all, but rather an upscale place where beer is the centerpiece -- certainly not the food. I did see a couple people eating sandwiches at the bar and there seemed to be something going on in the back food-wise, but I didn't get too close to that. Very crowded (on a Wednesday) with the midtown after-work clientele filling up the area around the bar and towards the back, so I didn't want to lose my spot at the bar once I got situated. Saw lots of Amex gold cards starting tabs, which would've been helpful to have myself, as there were many pricey options. . . . It took me awhile to (1) make up my mind from the beer menu -- I believe there are at least 50 - 60 taps; and (2) get the attention of one of the 3 bartenders who were running themselves ragged trying to keep on top of things. Then the first beer I asked for (Fortitude) they were out of and I scrambled to come up with an alternative. Settled quickly on Goose Island's Honker, which in my opinion was only OK, but anyhow this is a review of the place, not the beer. . . .
Lots of Belgian beers but given the number of taps I've gotta say I was slightly disappointed with the overall variety. Only a limited number of stouts, for example, and nothing exotic (I did end the night with the Sixpoint Black Soul Porter, which was a nice find, but the selection of porters and stouts was very limited). I shook my head in bewilderment when two groups in a row ordered Bud and Bud Light, but. . . their loss. I didn't see any casks, either on the menu or along the wall of taps. But then, the bar was way crowded and I didn't move around, so maybe they were there and I just missed them. . . .
I used to work in NYC, so I expected midtown prices. Most beers are $6.00 for a 20 oz pint, but many have "special" prices increasing up to $8.00 per pint. Rogue Dead Guy was either $6.50 or $7.00 a pint and I noted to someone I was talking to briefly that up in Albany, I'd be paying $2.00 per pint during Happy Hour for that same beer. But like I said, for midtown the regular prices weren't horrible, especially when you consider the 20 oz pints. If you're a tourist from Peoria you may have a bit of sticker shock, however, especially if you want to order one of the "special" beers that costs more (oh and I should note that many of the Belgians were served in appropriate-style glasses, which is good but you're not getting 20 oz for your $ there). . . .
All in all I liked the place. It's definitely about the beer and if you're a fan of Belgian-style beer, it's a great place. The variety otherwise was slightly disappointing, but given the sheer number of taps (and I assume they rotate plenty of them), I hope to be able to come back to sample things soon.
Edit: was back this weekend (December 2008) and once again it was busy but this time I was more impressed with the selection. Only one cask was still going (RCH Old Slug Porter), but they had Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, which was thoroughly enjoyable, and plenty of other options you don't see everyday. Prices seem to have gone up, with plenty of $8 and $9 options, but so it goes. It is midtown and you are paying in many cases for some rare, strong beers. . . .
03-10-2006 16:03:56 | More by Kendo
More User Reviews:
The Ginger Man in New York, NY
94 out of 100 based on 255 ratings.