This New Neighborhood Hangout Feels Like the Apartment of Our Dreams

Nobody moves to NYC to spend a lot of time at home. We live here (and spend our life savings on rent) so we can have award-winning performances, cutting-edge art and every kind of food imaginable just outside our door. That said, lately we’ve been more in the mood to just hang out in the living room. Only not the closet-size living room in our apartment—the ­living room we wish we had.

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freehand new york dining room
Adrian Gaut

That magical place can be found at the newly opened Freehand New York (brought to you by the same group as the NoMad) at the nexus of Flatiron, Gramercy and Kips Bay. And if you’re picturing an impersonal hotel lobby, know that it’s from a team who excels at the neighborhood joint: the folks behind Joseph Leonard and, more recently, Fairfax, which won us over with its eminently habitable vibe.

The property, designed by award-winning firm Roman and Williams and occupying a full city block, promises to be a serious dining destination, with multiple venues including the George Washington Bar, a cocktail den, the soon-to-open standalone restaurant Simon & the Whale and a forthcoming rooftop bar. But it’s the all-day hangout Studio—which, despite the name, is much bigger than our 250-square-foot walk-up—that taps into our homebody impulses, with huge windows, greenery galore and fur blankets. It doesn’t get any cozier than that, people.

freehand new york bar
Adrian Gaut

The ambience alone is something to behold, but of course the food is just as impressive. The North African-inspired menu features dishes like Tunisian phyllo-wrapped brik-style eggs, Turkish beef dumplings and spit-roasted celery root with Moroccan spices.

freehand new york grain bowl
Eric Medsker

Oh, and there’s a serious baked-goods program, because any all-day hideaway is only as good as its pastries. (Think date dulce de leche babka and brown butter poppy seed Danishes.)

freehand new york pastries
Eric Medsker

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’ll be spending the rest of the day at “home.”

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From 2016-2019 Carolyn Kuang-chen Stanley held the role of Editor covering food, travel and all things nyc.