A neon gamophone hung in the window gives a clue to what’s inside the deceptively large space at 115 Allen, a Salvation Army store turned a number of failed concepts — including the former Scotch-fueled hangout Mary Queen of Scots — that’s been given fresh life by Hill & Dale, which opened last night. The new joint is named for the earliest method of recording sound, and it pays homage to the history of that technology with a slew of musical tchotchkes (though you’re more likely to hear top twenty pop hits on the speakers than a crackly old record from yesteryear).
The spot comes from Aron Watman, Billy Waite and Neena Dutta, the people who brought the Brooklyn-themed nightlife to the West Village in the form of the Brooklyneer, and they’ve also tasked that eatery’s chef, Justin Farmer, with handling this place’s food as well.
A crowd similar to the hordes that spill out of Lower East Side bars across Allen in Hell Square was on hand for the grand opening party last night, and they nursed draft Blue Moon and Boddingtons or cocktails like the floozy — vodka muddled with strawberries and shaken with lime. A few pondered treating each other to dot & dashes, $5 jello shots dusted with chili-lime zest.
While that particular group seemed more bent on drinking than eating, hungry patrons will find Farmer’s menu toes the gastropub line; the fancified drinking fare derives from “organic, local and sustainable sources when possible” and divides into “snacks,” “land” and “sea.” The list traipses through organic deviled eggs and poutine, grilled wild boar sausage and ricotta dumplings and oysters Rockefeller, though you can also get your raw oysters with a kombucha mignonette.
Hill & Dale is open from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. nightly.
A first glimpse of the space: