Filling the craft vacuum in what’s alternatively considered North Gramercy or South Kips Bay, HandCraft offers friendly well-made food and drink in an industrial-rustic environment featuring design elements reclaimed from demolished or renovated NYC buildings. Friendly service and an emphasis on local breweries and distilleries will have you stepping up to the marble bar top whenever you’re in the area. Flavors on the signature menu trend fresh, bright and slightly sweet, with just the right amount of astringency. The Straw Plank combines spiced rum, strawberries, lime and club soda, while the classic Ice Pick is a refreshing blend of vodka, tea and lemon juice. Solid wine options and lower-alcohol drinks offer alternatives to Downtown’s sometimes overwhelming reliance on big, boozy brown drinks. Food falls squarely (and pleasingly) in 2016 territory with options like truffled tots, burrata salad and roasted cauliflower along a popular bison burger and jerk pork sliders. And naturally, there’s brunch.
THE DRINK TO DRINK: The cleverly named Name Pending steps away from the relatively delicate menu for the unusual: mezcal, carrot juice, lime juice, piri piri hot sauce, ginger and a Lagavulin single-malt rinse./br>
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: You’ll find live local music on Monday and Tuesday nights.