If I lived anywhere near Cobble Hill, Henry Public would be my neighborhood bar. Maybe it's because I've always been a big fan of the vibe at Brooklyn Social in Carroll Gardens, and Henry Public was created by the same team. Maybe it's due to the fact that although they are serving carefully crafted cocktails (with Kold-Draft ice, naturally), it's different from the other speakeasy-type establishments that are popping up everywhere. You'd be just as happy at Henry Public sipping a beer or an egg cream (also on the menu) as you sample the high-end pub fare, including grass-fed burgers, oysters, sinfully delicious marrow bones, and a ridiculously tasty turkey leg sandwich on custom Orwasher bread topped with fried shallots.
The atmosphere at Henry Public is hospitable and cozy, and reminiscent of a bygone era. Partner/Bar Director Matt Dawson and his wife Jen Albano were looking to create a saloon that might exist on the same spot a hundred years ago, patronized by the likes of Walt Whitman (who would have chosen the egg cream over a cocktail) or his compatriots. A photo of the Brooklyn Eagle, where Whitman was once an editor, graces the walls of the back room and brass eagles adorn the sconces flanking the fireplace as well as the top of the beer taps. All of the decorative elements were selected by Jen with meticulous detail—from the photos and letters on the walls to the antique books tucked into the bookshelf, to the faucets and signage in the bathroom. Each detail carries you back in time to an earlier, and simpler Brooklyn.
The recipes, after the jump.
The cocktails are transformative as well, with a menu of about ten drinks, many of which are riffs on well known and loved classics. The Kings County Sour is a lovely start to an evening—the rye and port lend depth while the traditional sour preparation lightens things up a bit. Sip on one while you relax at the zinc-topped wood bar and listen to the old-time jazz. If you close your eyes, you might forget it's 2009.
Kings County Sour
2 oz. Old Overholt Rye 1/2 oz. lemon juice 1 barspoon superfine sugar 1 egg white
Shake vigorously over ice and strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass. Top with a float of approx 1/3 oz of ruby port. Garnish with a Luxardo cherry and an orange wedge.
329 Henry Street, Brooklyn NY 11201 (map) 718-852-8630
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