Our Two Cents
The Merchant is one of Jersey City’s rarities as it’s a solid and consistent performer. The Merchant’s patronage usually slants a bit toward the after work or lunch time professional crowd. Commuters seeking respite from the stifling innards of a summertime PATH train are a common sight as are those dealing with City Hall.
Drink selection is typical for an execu-pub of the Merchant’s caliber. A few good import beers, medium grade to top shelf spirits, and well chosen wines deftly presented by seasoned barkeeps. Draught beer arrives very fresh at The Merch’, either as a result of excellent delivery system maintenance or extremely high turnover. The warmth in ambiance you might be looking for to enjoy one of the Merchant’s expertly mixed and nicely stiff cocktails can, at times, be frustratingly absent – probably attributable to the hustle and bustle of the transient nature of the after-work crowd. That being said, the crowd in The Merchant can really be hit or miss. One’s first visit to this bar is usually very impressive. The space is cool and open with a universally appealing utility to it. It also doesn’t hurt that the staff are pretty excellent on all levels. It’s not uncommon to walk away from The Merchant thinking you’ve discovered some great secret that you’ll return to over and over. Sadly, because the area is so highly trafficked, everyone else had the same revelation and a good amount of those people are ultra-obnoxious and never seem to not be at the bar during your subsequent visits. Late autumnal afternoons, when the sun sets before the work day is over, are the best times to call the bar your own, if you happen to be so lucky to have that sort of scheduling freedom. There’s a very rich and sturdy qulity to the bar and all of its fixtures and bar stool seating is abnormally comfortable.
As much as The Merchant is a watering hole, they do in fact operate primarily as a restaurant. Most of their menu is availble at the bar. Their sandiwches and wraps (try the Pershing Wrap) are an excellent complement to an empty stomach session to help enliven the tastebuds and provide a base that you can layer drink upon drink on.