The Ginger Man
Taps: 72 / Bottles: 160
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 230 | Reviews: 212 | Show All Ratings:
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:
4.31/5 rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5 | food: 3.75 | $$$
I've been to the Ginger Man a handful of times and the reason I love coming back is there huge and constantly rotating craft beer list. Their beer bible is a pleasure to go through and they have enough taps that it would be difficult to get through them all in a single weekend. It's the place I take out of town friends to when they want to go to a craft bar in the city. With that being said it's a well known place and it gets crowded. It can often take a while to get a table especially on the weekends. As expected the service slows but the waitresses always seem to be upbeat and friendly. The food isn't anything to write home about but it is capable of contending the occasional beer munchies.
03-13-2014 02:00:10 | More by KornWallace
3.68/5 rDev -13%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 5 | food: 3.75 | $$
Visited after my girlfriend and I realized we would rather grab a beer and a bite to eat instead of enduring a commute from hell (we work in the area). The place was packed for a Wednesday night. The atmosphere seemed pretty pleasant once I looked past how crowded it was; wood paneling and pretty nice decor. The selection of draught beers was simply enormous. I ordered a Victory Dirtwolf and a Firestone Double Barrel from a more than friendly bartender. After a few moments, half of a table opened up and we seated ourselves.
Probably a full ten minutes later the waitress came by to ask if we wanted anything. We ordered a pastrami reuben sandwich to split. After a few moments I ran out of the Dirtwolf (simply amazing stuff) and decided it would be much quicker to order at the bar than to wait for the waitress to come by again (which it was). I came back to the table with my Habenero Sculpin and waited another ten minutes before the waitress made another pass at our area.
To clarify, I was in no way annoyed that the waitress was taking so long, I would rather be proactive about grabbing my drink from the bar than sit and fume over "slow service." The place was completely packed, so I was sympathetic to her slow rounds. However, I did not appreciate the way I was treated when she rudely and abruptly asked me if I had ordered the drink from the bar myself and proceeded to explain "the system" of ordering solely from her as if I were a child.
We finished the sandwich -- which was pretty good, but probably not $13 good -- and asked for a check when the waitress came by. Unfortunately I spent all of my cash at the bar, otherwise I would have avoided what came next. When I told the waitress I could only pay with a credit card, she again proceeded to give me attitude regarding a $15 minimum despite my being absurdly close to the "limit". While I didn't mention to her that this "limit" was arbitrary, and that it was contractually illegal (most credit card companies require businesses to honor credit like they would cash... i.e. no minimums) I did note that I had just purchased 3 beers in addition to a meal and that I was in no way inclined to buy anything else. She continued to press me and I flat out told her that I wasn't going to buy anything. She finally said she would "talk to her manager" and left. Although I'm sure she made a big show of being accommodating, I gave her a larger than normal tip for her "courtesy" and all the "trouble" she went through.
Long story short, next time I will stick to sitting at the bar if possible. I'll completely avoid the food/seating area if it means not having to feel like justifying my actions every time the waitress comes by.
01-25-2014 20:11:21 | More by KHarz
The Ginger Man in New York, NY
94 out of 100 based on 230 ratings.