Vincent Minutella hesitated before calling his new venture a gastropub. “The term has been so bastardized,” he said. “It’s become like ‘gourmet’ — it doesn’t mean anything.”
But he conceded that there’s no better way to describe The Craft House, a restaurant with 20 craft beers on tap, 15 small-production wines by the glass, 11 signature cocktails and, he said, a menu of “pub fare that has been refined to match the high level of the beverages.”
The building, near the top of the Nautical Mile in Freeport, used to be Cleary’s by the Water. Minutella and his partners, Bob Miller and Liam Whyte, gutted it and divided the space into three distinct sectors: Upstairs a big bar and lounge will cater to the craft-brew set. Downstairs, there’s a smaller bar that’s the domain of Tracy Johanna, an award-winning mixologist whose Craft House concoctions include the Tree of Life (Hendrick’s gin, Fernet Branca, grapefruit, cucumber, honey and lemon, $14). Diners have a view of Johanna’s bar from the casual lower dining room, while a third area accommodates customers looking for a quieter meal.
Providing grub for all these pub denizens is chef Michael Flowers, formerly of Hush Bistro and Salumeria Pomodoro in Huntington. His menu ranges from poutine with duck-fat fries, tuna poke and charcuterie boards to pork-belly banh mi, the CH burger (with house-cured bacon jam and spicy mayonnaise) to grilled branzino, steak frites and a raviolo stuffed with ricotta, egg yolk and wild mushrooms. Starters range from $8 to $16, sandwiches from $15 to $18, mains from $19 to $34.
Minutella, Miller and Whyte also operate Mineola’s Black Sheep Ale House. Earlier this summer they opened a waterfront bar, The Beer Garden, just across the street from the Craft House.
The Craft House, 42 Woodcleft Ave., 516-665-3950.