Gothamist tried to see the eponymous Lillie of Lillie's in Red Hook this week to report on bar’s reopening. It didn’t quite work out for us (we tried going twice this week- they are reopening slowly). But she promises this weekend is a good time to check out the renovation and changes, and everytime we’ve visited we’ve had fun- either staring wistfully (read:tipsy) at the rest of Brooklyn through the garden or drinking shots of tequila from shot glasses in a waitress’s cleavage instead of off a bar and seeing the legendary bombshell Lady Ace perform strip teases for Valentine's day event. Lillie Haus is a bit of legend herself, bartending at Orchard Bar for ages and attracting all the misplaced and lonesome Southerners with her charm before owning her own place on a neglected corner a short bus or car ride from the Smith & Ninth Street F station. But she wasn’t there to make us her famous Red Hooker (ask for it, it’s too sweet and too vicious not to try).

2005_04_sonnys_outside.jpgFrom Beard Street we headed to Conover to Sunny’s. Sunny’s is the longest continously operating bar in Red Hook, managed by the Balzano family sine the 1880's. We spoke to Sunny’s wife, Tonne, and she told us the remarkable story of the bar as she served us a Bass ($4). She met Sunny when he took over the operation about ten years ago after his father (who had been a chef and run the kitchen) and his uncle (who ran the bar) passed away. Looking around the bar we saw the history everywhere, from the decoupage of pin-ups a sailor contributed to the holes in the archway (we thought they were supposed to resemble portholes but they were from before the bar was wired for electricity) and the boxing gloves of unknown provenance. Sunny’s is open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and also hosts plays, music, what sounds like a phenomenal Christmas party and a reading series the first Sunday of every month. This week’s reading features author Alison Smith (Name All The Animals) and is sure to be packed. Get there early to soak up the history.

2005_04_food_liberty_outsid.jpgLeaving Sunny’s we headed back towards the subway and to Liberty Heights Tap Roomat Van Dyke and Dwight. We ordered an amber ale ($5) from their own brewery, Six Points, a cider ($5) and some fries ($4 and large enough to share with an amazing red pepper aioli). We were comfortable in the warm room not knowing where to look between the exposed brick pizza oven, the pool table, the sofa in the middle of the room and the ancient posters (CBGB’s tenth anniversary, 1983) on the hallway walls. Liberty is surprisingly kid-friendly with overstuffed booths and only the one bartender to wait on every table. We had heard about the stunning view of Manhattan from the roofdeck but the roof is cluttered with the brewery’s kegs for another week. Liberty is great place to eat and drink in Red Hook and we daresay to feel free to do so. Our misadventures left us happy and full.

Lillie's festivities
Friday 4/29 Reggae Party with Jerk BBQ
Dj Spirit With Roger Boom, Jimmy All Stars

Saturday 4/30 Red Hook Hootenanny with
The Maybelles, Strung Out String Band, & Midnight BBQ
($5 all-you-can-eat BBQ)

Sunday 5/1 May Day
1st Official Sunday BBQ in the garden
DJ RRxing, DJ Spencer

46 Beard St (at Dwight)
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Sunny's Reading Series
Sunday May 1st, 7pm
Alison Smith, others

253 Conover St.
between Beard and Reed Sts.

Liberty Heights Tap Room
36 Van Dyke St., at Dwight St.

Photos courtesy of Maya Corneille.