Former Roberta's Pizza Chef Is Behind the Speciality Pies at the New Freehold Miami

The Lobby Bar at the Freehold Miami.
The Lobby Bar at the Freehold Miami. Photo courtesy of Freehold Hospitality
Freehold, the multiuse community concept that fuses a work/hangout space by day with a bar/event venue by night, has announced the upcoming debut of its second location in Miami.

The brand’s developers and cofounders, Brice Jones and Brad Gallagher, have created a unique hospitality concept reminiscent of a bustling boutique hotel — only without the actual hotel rooms. It's the type of place you can go to work, eat, drink, and play.

"Work all day here, then grab a drink with friends and some pizzas, then head outside to hear your favorite DJ spin the night away," Gallagher tells New Times. "While you meander into the Cabana Room and stumble upon a special mezcal tasting with one of our brand partners. All this is possible and will be the norm for our guests here at Freehold."

According to Jones, the hotel-without-hotel-rooms concept was born when the duo decided to build a space that would offer the same all-day/all-night programming you'd find at a high-end hotel.

Set to open its doors Friday, December 4, at 2219 NW Second Ave. in Wynwood, the Freehold's newest location follows a Brooklyn location that opened in the Williamsburg neighborhood in 2015. Much like its counterpart in New York, Freehold's Miami venue will offer a wide range of day-to-night entertainment whether you're holding a business meeting, joining friends for food and drinks, or dancing to your favorite DJ.

Designed by the architecture and design firm Rockwell Group, each of the Freehold's four distinct spaces were created to offer a carefully curated ambiance based on the time of day and programming.

"Our transitions are what we pride ourselves on and strive to perfect," Gallagher says. "Our coffee-to-cocktail culture, I believe, sets us apart from other hospitality brands and makes us such a fun place to come to throughout the week."

The Freehold is designed as an all-day/all-night environment — with a menu to match, thanks to transitional spaces that include multiple bars, a café, a pizza shop, and a spacious courtyard.
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Freehold Miami opens in Wynwood on December 4.
Photo courtesy of Freehold Hospitality
"We really wanted to design the space for music and entertainment," Jones tells New Times. "In Brooklyn, we grew our space over the years into an entertainment and programming destination. But in Miami, a city we feel to be the entertainment capital of the country, we have designed Freehold to be conducive to the arts, complete with a stage in our courtyard, multiple DJ booths, an elaborate and powerful Void sound system, and — of course — the programming to complement it."

Guests can begin their Freehold experience at the Café where a full coffee bar serves up Counter Culture brand coffee along with light bites. An all-day menu features shareable dishes like boneless Buffalo wings, tuna poke tostadas, and several salads ($11 to $15) alongside heartier main plates like a fried chicken sandwich, Maine lobster roll, or burgers ($16 to $19).

Beyond the main entrance is the expansive Lobby Bar, considered the heart of the space, with the spacious common area reminiscent of a hotel lobby. On weekdays, the Lobby Bar will serve as an interactive dining and creative space, offering a menu of food and drink. Thanks to cabinetry covers, one of the many detailed design elements brought in by Rockwell Group, a retractable panel will veil the back bar liquor display and televisions by day, obscuring the nighttime trappings.

As the sun goes down, the Freehold evening begins. The lights are dimmed and the music gets louder. It's meant to appeal to those looking for a more evening-time vibe that, moving forward, will offer Freehold's trademark programming inspired by a mixture of entertainment in all categories from live music to comedy, and more.

Beyond the Lobby Bar, the 4,000-square-foot Courtyard features a cumaru (Brazilian teak) faux pool deck and a sprawling area for lounging that's reminiscent of a hotel swimming pool — without the actual pool. The Courtyard also offers a trellis roof, stage for live performances, and an adjacent 750-square-foot cabana room.

For foodies, Jones and Gallagher brought a slice of New York City to Wynwood via pizza aficionado and restaurant consultant Anthony Falco, former chef at the famed pizzeria Roberta's, to assist in the creation of the Pizza Shop at Freehold.

Inspired by New York's slice joints of the 1970s, Falco has created a thin- and crisp-crust pie for Freehold guests to enjoy in its tomato-red booths backlit by hanging stained-glass lamps. Pies range from a simple plain cheese, pepperoni, or Italian sausage to a mashed-potato take topped with bacon, scallions, mozzarella, aged cheddar, and mashed potatoes ($16 to $18).

"Freehold is so much more than just a bar or a restaurant," said Jones. "Hotels are a culturally defining establishment, an idea we strive to emulate. We fell in love with Wynwood in 2015, and believed our concept would be a perfect fit for the ever-growing neighborhood."

Freehold Miami. 2219 NW Second Ave., Miami; Sunday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to midnight.
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna