Friends took me to Freemans twice; both times I was charmed not only by the establishment itself, but also by the nature of getting there; I’m not sure I could find it by myself.
Many years ago I was in the same neighborhood at a rousing loft party, in the days when living off The Bowery was considered either too risky or an admirable turn of the cheek to danger. It might even have been the same space.
It is at the head of Freeman Alley which is off Rivington Street where it runs between Chrystie and The Bowery on what some people now call (incorrectly) the Lower East Side. It’s not, at least not in my book.
Freemans with its dark, American Colonial atmosphere dispensed over a few rooms is downstairs, and up, Banzarbar, it’s more alcoholic offspring, also with a few rooms, deep, soft seats, good service and so forth. Maybe a dart board or two. Both are adult hangouts popular with neighbors amongst whom are types such as Leonardo di Caprio.
The drinks menu attracts with good sounding names such as Phantoma, Sunburn and Caprece all at the same price, $15.
Entrées, around $30, include scallops, salmon and trout. At a restaurant like Freemans I would expect the salmon to be wild, but would ask. At every Japanese restaurant, including the raft of them a few blocks away near St. Marks Place, I would assume it farmed.
All side dishes are $10.
Nearby is McSorley’s and Cooper Union.