Heard the one about in a New York bar with 66 draught beers and even more naff jokes?

Scientists in New York have suggested that men should take a look at their drinking habits, after a recent survey revealed the presence of female hormones in beer. Beer is, effectively, turning men into women. To test the survey, 100 men were fed a total of six pints. It was observed that 100 per cent of the men gained weight, talked excessively without making sense, became overly emotional, couldn't drive, failed to think rationally, argued over nothing, and refused to apologise when they were wrong. No further testing is planned.

Scientists in New York have suggested that men should take a look at their drinking habits, after a recent survey revealed the presence of female hormones in beer. Beer is, effectively, turning men into women. To test the survey, 100 men were fed a total of six pints. It was observed that 100 per cent of the men gained weight, talked excessively without making sense, became overly emotional, couldn't drive, failed to think rationally, argued over nothing, and refused to apologise when they were wrong. No further testing is planned.

I can't believe that joke actually made me laugh. But it did. And how. I put it down to the fact that I was in a New York bar - not the kind of place where you storm off after an instance of sexual stereotyping. Regulars at The Ginger Man strongly identify with the hero of the novel which gave the bar its name (a whoring, boozing young wastrel). So I can only apologise to all the women in my life for laughing at their string of oppressive and patriarchal jokes. The 66 beers on tap (and the tri-fold drinks menu) made me do it.

A real New Yorker is someone who thinks that if you live anywhere else, you're just kidding. They like to do things their own way. Take cigars. To me, a cigar is the best way to ruin a good pair of curtains. Which is, presumably, why The Ginger Man is heavy with dark wood panelling. In a city where public smoking is increasingly banned - even outdoors - men with facial hair come to The Ginger Man to smoke stogies the size of a baby's arm. And tell dirty jokes. To them it's exercising a constitutional freedom.

Which, I would guess, is the only exercise that most of them get. To defur their tongues after cigars, I recommend they try the Young's Double Chocolate Stout. I like beers with unusual ingredients. Jawbreaker contains real sweets. And Hobnob contains real biscuits. It's all new to New Yorkers used to "lite beer" so cold it freezes lips to the glass. I explain that these are my rules: friends don't let friends drink "lite beer"; people who drink "lite beer" don't really like beer, they just like to pee a lot. They laugh, and tell me a limerick about Nantucket.

I recommend The Ginger Man's "beer companion" - a plate of cheese, walnuts and fruit. And not the bearded man who has just pulled up a stool next to me at the bar. And I recommend the jukebox. No greatest hits collections, just one man's personal music journey. But Archie Shepp? They know not what they do. One track of Blasé can clear the place quicker than anthrax. Not to say that regulars wouldn't endure malignant boils to drink at The Ginger Man.

The Ginger Man, 11 East 36th Street, New York, 001 212 532 3740.

drinkwithrichardjohnson@yahoo.co.uk

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