Saturday, January 23, 2010

Vinegar Hill

I had brunch today again at one of my favorite haunts over in Brooklyn, Vinegar Hill House. It is situated in a once derelict carriage house in a neighborhood that is so tiny and obscure that not even native New Yorkers have heard of it. Vinegar Hill - the neighborhood and place of VH House -  sits snuggled against DUMBO, behind the Brooklyn naval yards and is only about a 4-5 block radius. It is a truly isolated 'hood full of 1800's brown stones and belgian block streets flanked by a power station and derelict warehouses and unfortunately now, ugly new apartment developments. There is honestly nothing here except a few closed store fronts, a notice board that I think is still used and now VH House.

According to the wonderful Forgotten New York website, the name Vinegar Hill had nothing at all to do with vinegar. In 1800, a certain John Jackson purchased this area of land and hoped to attract Irish immigrants, thus naming the area Vinegar Hill after the battle site of the Irish rebellion of 1798. In Ireland, the name "Vinegar Hill" was an English transliteration of a Gaelic term meaning "Hill of the wood of the berries". 
I don't think the owners of Vinegar Hill House have taken this into consideration with their less-than-Irish menu. However, I guess, like an Irish tavern, this space is wonderfully warm and eclectic, with mismatching chairs and tables, a worn copper bar, vintage wallpaper and an assortment of decorations such as a colonial flag, succulents, a random piece of stained glass and lanterns.

The owners are a husband and wife team who met when they worked at Freeman's (another super cool eatery in an alleyway on the Lower East Side). They serve yummy brunches on weekends and dinner only, during the week. In summer, there is a gorgeous courtyard out the back, to eat under the shade of a fruit tree. And when it's time to amble home, why not walk across the Manhattan Bridge and take in the sublime view!

Images: Yelp, Telegraph, New York magazine, we heart new york, mine

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