Best Brooklyn Tavern - 2010
Turn off all cell phones and electronic devices, please. You are about to enter Henry Public, a place that takes you back to 1840s Brooklyn, a time when Walt Whitman worked at the Brooklyn Eagle and the ferry was the best way to get to Manhattan. Opened last fall in Cobble Hill by the owners of the popular Carroll Gardens establishment Brooklyn Social, the tavern sets the mood with suspenders-wearing waiters, dusty old books, antique furniture, and walls adorned with portraits of famous characters of the day, such as Frederick Douglass and Henry Ward Beecher. Hang your top hat on the rack and have a seat at the zinc-topped walnut bar, where the no-nonsense bartenders create delicious original cocktails, such as the frothy Eagle's Dream, a tangy blend of gin, sugar, egg white, crème de violette, and lemon, and the potent Brooklyn Ferry, a mix of rye whiskey, Antica vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and absinthe. Alas, these cocktails do not have 19th-century prices attached (they'll run you $10 to $11), but ample seating is available at tables and cozy booths in the two rooms, and the fireplace is great on cold winter nights. Henry Public also offers a simple "supper" menu of marrowbones, hamburgers made with grass-fed beef, oysters, grilled cheese with apples, and the highly recommended turkey-leg sandwich. For something sweet, try the Wilkinsons, warm Danish pancake balls served with a rum-caramel sauce—or, if you're a card-carrying member of the Brooklyn Temperance Society, ask for a sweet, foamy egg cream.