Freehold has an unusual theme — it’s a hotel bar, lobby, and restaurant, without the hotel. It’s certainly a bit gimmicky, but somehow it all coalesces without feeling like a theme restaurant. First of all, the space is enormous, which makes it a comfortable place to grab a fancy cocktail or have a low-key dinner. Outside, there’s a large, grassy courtyard with tables and ping pong which becomes crowded with a very “New Williamsburg” set during the warmer months. The food won’t blow you away, but is always pretty darn good with standouts including the Chicken Sandwich, a Lobster Roll, and Whiskey Peppercorn Mussels. We especially like mornings and afternoons at Freehold Monday-Friday when it transforms into a comfortable workspace with a clientele that’s largely on their laptops. Breakfast is served daily and there is a weekend brunch.
Just as the Ace Hotel lobby did for Flatiron start-up bros, the Freehold offers a community space for Williamsburg’s upwardly mobile set (but with no rooms upstairs). The reception desk is actually a coat check, while the hostess, who lends out Monopoly and Risk, goes by “concierge.” Beneath 16-foot-high ceilings, the freelancing afternoon crowd logs onto free Wi-Fi and takes meetings on mid-century-modern couches. But come sundown, social-media managers let loose with $3 pint specials, outdoor Ping-Pong, and standup- comedy shows.
The grassy, spacious outdoor area of this bumping Williamsburg hangout is an apt setting for a cold Bud and a house burger, finished with pickled onions, American cheese and special sauce. Once you’ve had your fill, you can challenge your bargoing buds to a match of outdoor Ping-Pong.
The entire space is designed to mimic a hotel lobby, from the front desk/concierge area to the flexible seating design that offers both couches and comfy chairs as well as larger tables for groups to set up. During the day, the large bar offers breakfast and a place to perch while plugging away on a laptop (they offer free WiFi). In the evening, TVs might emerge from their hiding spots and show a local sports game. At night, the music is louder, the lights are dimmed and dancing on all the surfaces is encouraged.