Neighborhood Watch: Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
Just a couple of subway stops into Brooklyn, you'll find the charming neighborhood of Cobble Hill. Part of the BoCoCa trifecta (Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens), the boundaries that define the area seem to change depending on whom you talk to, but generally, locals characterize it as the 40-block zone bound by Atlantic Avenue and Court Street. Along with its gorgeous 19th-century brownstones, Cobble Hill has a host of one-off shops, quaint cafes, top-notch restaurants, and cool bars that make it a must-stop on any BK itinerary. Here, our top seven places to check out now.
1. Henry Public
With its patterned wallpaper, wooden banquettes, and low-lit rooms, this old-timey Brooklyn saloon is the perfect place to cozy up on a cold day. The menu consists of hearty tavern food, from a standout Turkey Leg sandwich made with milk-braised meat, crispy fried onions, and a zesty gravy to the marrow bones on toast with marinated shallots. Either dish will pair perfectly with the a classic cocktail like the “Brooklyn Ferry,” a serious whiskey drink, with antica vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and top notes of absinth or the “Promenade,” a refreshing rum concoction made with green chartreuse, lime, mint, and bitters. We recommend you go on a Sunday to catch the live jazz and blues band Milkman and Sons (4 to 7pm).
If you’re in the mood for some quality sushi, plan on Hibino. But plan on a wait, too: even on a week night, the place is packed. Once you’re in, though, the wait is worth it. The menu has six sake selections by the glass and even more by the bottle. And the food is outstanding (AnKyoto-style Obanzi, or small plates, are changed on a daily basis, so you can sample a variety of traditional dishes from stewed meatballs to ginger soy dashi to roasted baby potatoes and brussel sprouts, with a sesame red miso sauce). For a main dish, go for the Salmon Miso Zuke, a fatty, fresh salmon, topped with a citrus-sweet miso sauce and little crisp vegetables. Other crowd pleasers? The Agedashi Tofu (made with organic soy milk and natural sea salt), as well as the Tuna Tataki and Beef Kakuni.
3. Court Street Pastry Shop
The old-school Italian bakery run by the Cerrile family since 1948 sells all sorts of delicious treats–nuts, figs, Vanilla-filled pies, sfogliatella, and of course, its world-famous Sicilian cannoli. The hand-made doe is left overnight to soften, then deep-fried, and filled with rich ricotta-cream and chocolate chips, and sprinkled with green coconut. Yes, you might have to hit the gym if you eat too many, but you can’t leave Cobble Hill without trying at least one.
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4. Long Island Bar
A local favorite, Long Island Bar is at heart a classier version of a neighborhood burger joint. Back in the 50s, dock workers used to walk up from The Hudson River to grab a beer after a day on the water. Today, the spot’s laid-back vibe, soft lighting, and art-deco-inspired décor draw a stylish crowd who sip retro cocktails like the Boulevardier–whiskey with sweet Vermouth and Campari–and munch on creamy, batter-fried cheese curds.
5. Cobble Hill Park
If you’re ready to give your wallet a break, head to Cobble Hill Park. The quiet retreat holds a special place for residents who successfully lobbied the City Planning Commission, the Parks Department, and the Mayor’s Office to create this neighborhood oasis. Go for a stroll and admire the beauty of the 19th-century brownstones that surround the square, and if you happen to be here during the summer, catch a performance of the “Music in the Park” series. (Check the Cobble Hill Association’s Facebook for updates on upcoming events).
6. Melissa Joy Manning
If you cherish grandma’s old engagement ring, but think it looks a little dated, bring it to Melissa Manning’s jewelry shop on Court street. In addition to her custom-made, original designs, Manning also re-works old stones (from sapphires to emeralds to amethysts) and family heirlooms. The Brooklyn designer opened the shop 22 years ago and prides herself on the store’s ethos of sustainability and ethically-sourced materials; most of the metals she uses are recycled and from a green-certified refinery, and her handmade pieces are made using traditional metalsmithing techniques. A best-seller? Her pearl “hug” earrings, a modern take on the classic pearl stud. Check out Manning’s website for special “shop and sip” events, where you can enjoy a glass of champagne while perusing her works.
7. Diane T
Sick of your run-of-the-mill jeans and black pants? Grab a pair of Zebra-striped skinnies off the shelf. Need a stylish new winter coat? Get a cozy, Yves Solomon bomber in merino wool. Looking for new sneakers with a little edge? How about a pair of Italian, handmade Golden Goose kicks with a “secret” wedge inside them for a height boost. The prices at Diane T may be high ($150 for a tank top, $595 for a Fair Isle sweater) but if you’re looking for something unique to that add to your wardrobe, this is the place, thanks to a collection of more than 20 established and up-and-coming designers.
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