By Seanan Forbes
Let other people give gift cards to big corporate shops, international megaliths and digital superstores. This is New York. In this town, you can give gift cards with local flavor and a spirited kick. Here are four strong choices of ours, but if you have a local favorite, right around the corner from your home, health club or office, then give that spot your support – and share its name with us on Facebook or Twitter, so that the rest of New York can show them some love, too.

1. Gramercy Tavern (42 E 20th St.; 212-477-0777)
Why You Want It: Sure, there’s that award-winning beverage service, but this gift certificate is all about wine, cocktails and beer. Smart and sophisticated though she is, beverage director Juliette Pope still gets excited about excellent finds – and we’re not just talking about vintage wines. Pope can find joy in pairing craft beer with a guest’s lunch plate – and that joy is infectious. Pope’s selections are imaginative and excellent, but they taste better because she and her staff get a thrill out of sharing them. That itself is a gift.
The Recipient*: Someone who appreciates fine food and good beer. Ideally, someone who will choose you as a table companion.
You don’t need to break the bank to make a day. If it’s in your budget, then splash out on a gift certificate that will cover a dinnertime tasting menu and fancy glasses. If that’s beyond your current reach, then the Gramercy Tavern has tastefully affordable choices that will more than satisfy the pickiest person on your list.
At a very reasonable end of New York life, this gift card can be all about lunch. More accurately, it can be about lunch with killer beer pairings. Casting food aside – chef Michael Anthony never needs to know you did that – you can also buy a gift certificate that will cover a couple of cocktails, a glass of wine, or a good brew at the bar. Nobody will complain about the setting or the drinks.
You can buy Gramercy Tavern gift certificates at reception in the restaurant; online, through the Union Square Hospitality Group, as a physical or digital card; or over the phone by calling 212-477-0777.
*In all cases, “recipient” is taken to mean someone other than you. “Why you want it” acknowledges the fact that, if someone else offers you a gift certificate, then this is the one you want.
Photo by Maura McEvoy