At first glance, Tini doesn't seem that much different from all the other wine bars littered around Brooklyn. It's small, cute, and feminine. But while others are tucked in tree-lined streets, this one is out in Red Hook. And that makes all the difference.

Red Hook is awash in memorable bars -a dangerous number for its relatively small size and remote location. But whether it's Pioneer, Bait and Tackle, Liberty Heights Tap Room, or Sunny's they all have one thing in common: they are, for lack of a better word, saloons. These are rough-wood hewn, beer-soaked hangouts meant to appeal to the local crowd and those that don't mind the extra travel for the comfort and company.

In this light, Tini can't help but stick out. A cute little winebar next to Bourbon purveyor LeNell's and across the street from the Good Fork, its three female owners have created a beautiful little space far from anything post-industrial Red Hook has seen before. Its single small room is probably the size of most Manhattan studios, but instead of cramming it with booths and tables, they devote one entire side to a large white couch. Its enormous milky-white pillows wouldn't last one happy hour in any of the other institutions around the area. The other side is lined with minimalist metal tables that are either empty, or filled with people eying the couch. In fact, even the owners love it. During a lazy afternoon, you're as apt to find them lounging around on that mammoth sofa as customers.

Like nearly every wine bar in the city, they have a menu dedicated to small plates. And for all we know they could be absolutely delicious. But that's not why we've gone. Like most of the institutions in Red Hook, it's mostly for the drinking. Their wine list is varied and farily inexpensive. What's more fun is their collection of beers and ciders, including a sparkling cassis cider served in a large champange flute, which adds a little class to the evening.

Its business varies greatly on the time of day, but it has a nice little racket going with the Good Fork across the street. Since that restaurant is usually packed, guests who arrive early are encouraged to walk across the street and get a drink. When your table is ready, the Good Fork will call over, and someone from Tini will let you know. It's a nice little setup. But just make sure to nab that couch.

414 Van Brunt Street
(718) 855-4206

Photo courtesy nycib2