Hidden NY: Lower East Side alley leads to an unexpected surprise

Posted at 9:47 AM, Mar 15, 2019
and last updated 2020-01-10 03:35:06-05

LOWER EAST SIDE, Manhattan — There are so many nooks and crannies in New York City, but one alleyway in the Lower East Side has a real treasure at the end.

The best way to start out on this adventure is to get to Rivington Street between Christie and Bowery.  Take Freeman Alley to the end where you'll come upon Freemans.

Freemans is a restaurant with a vibe that's a little bit country and a little bit colonial.  You'll see stuffed animals throughout the place and a gleaming bar that's welcoming in the way of a British pub, giving the place a dark, homey feel.

Freemans opened 15 years ago, and word quickly spread, "It's kind of the worst kept secret downtown," said owner Michael Dempsey.

And now there's a new secret.

To the back, up the stairs and through a certain part of a wall to a space that most probably used to be a hay loft for stables.

Behold, Banzarbar.  It only seats 20, very exclusive, and there's no standing. This new restaurant has a nautical theme.

The menu features seafood and it's paired with cocktails..lots of them.  "What we do is it's five portions," offers Eryn Reece, head bartender.

"Five courses meaning five drinks?" I asked a little incredulously.  "Five drinks, yes!"  Eryn assured us they are low proof cocktails so you can enjoy them without getting totally destroyed.

It's suggested to make reservations. Click here for more information.