Merchant No ratings yet.

279 Grove Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302
(201) 200-0202

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Our Two Cents

Grade:
B+

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.

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  • Anupa

    I happened to visit Merchant only because I didnt like any food at Bar Majestic. But once I stepped into the world of Merchant, I was hooked. The cocktails are great….and the Mussels are out of this world. Merchant is so reasonable! A wonderful hangout for any day.

  • Khaki Chinos

    Glad the high-ups at JCBG finally review this place. When I first moved to town, the Merchant was my salvation in the midst of a bunch of bars that honestly scared the hell out of this guy from Darien, Connecticut! To this very day, I order a Manhattan in here and never have to tell any of the tenders how to make it and it always comes back with a perfect amount of vermouth and very strong. Long live the Merchant!

  • Foo

    Good sit-down food but limited menu. Bar menu is really good. Cheap drinks during happy hour. The crowd reminds me of a teachers lounge with elevator music playing. It’s hit or miss with the crowd like someone said already.

  • subdivisions2112

    Very cool spot AT TIMES. When I say at times, I mean you could drop in here on your way home from work and be welcomed by staff and bar goers like family. Other times, the place is DOMINATED by pricks who must know the bar staff very well or who tip like idiots because at times when I’m in here I feel like a wallflower and I am ANYTHING but. The food is good. The gallamad I had was not to oilly and the sanwich my partner had was delicious.

  • aquaphyre

    Enjoyed the beverages and thought the food was OK. If your looking for a chill out spot I would try somewhere a little farther off the beaten path. Minutes after walking in my friend and I were “greeted” by a gentleman who must have just gotten off work from his suit and tie job. After buying us drinks he told us of his local neighborhood rank of “king of the sandbox”. I chuckled into my glass as I poured the beer down my throat as fast as i could. Very generous of “the king”.

  • KristinLovesWine

    Consistently a great place for a veggie burger and a few drinks. Nice atmosphere, and reasonably priced. Not the place to come if you want an exceptional meal, but a nice Grove Street spot. Love their outdoor cafe in the summer, too.