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Hill and Dale Opens on Lower East Side for Booze-Lovers and Audiophiles

By Serena Solomon | May 16, 2013 1:36pm | Updated on May 16, 2013 1:47pm
 The Hill & Dale opened on the Lower East Side at 115 Allen Street on Wednesday.
Hill & Dale
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LOWER EAST SIDE — A new Lower East Side bar is taking drinkers back to the golden age of radio, its space decked out with antique radios, gramophones and a working record player from the turn of the last century.

Hill & Dale, which takes its name from the process used to create phonograph cylinder records, officially open Wednesday at Allen and Delancey streets in the former Mary Queen of Scots bar space. The gastropub and bar, which will serve small plates of classic New York dishes, comes from the creators of The Brooklyneer that brought a flavor of the outer borough to the West Village in 2010..

"The whole golden age of radio — when they invented the Victroler, the gramophone — that was the first time you could have recorded sound at home," said Hill & Dale co-owner Aron Watman, 35, of how radio and record players gave homes and restaurants access to music without the hassle of a live band.

He described his business partner, Billy Waite, as an "audiophile" who has been "collecting antique radios and controllers for years."

"He has all this stuff in his collection and that is what is in the space," said Watman.

Hill & Dale's prized installment is the century-old Victrola. The record player made by the Victor Talking Machine Company has a crank to get the record spinning and requires no electricity.

"It wouldn't strike you as musical," said Watman, of skinny wooden cabinet as he cranked it into life.

Music with an antique crackle spilled out of wooden flaps that open and close depending on how much amplification is desired.  

"The needle reads the record, it [the vibration] goes into the funnel and that basically amplifies it," said Watman.

While the Victrola is in working order it is fragile and "is not something you can play and crank all night long," he said.

The walls of the Hill & Dale are lined with old radio posters, phonograph cylinder records and other antique radio bits and pieces.

The bar with mirrored ceilings and Victorian leather couches, is separated into four sections with a front table, booths, a bar area and a lounge in the back.

On the menu, customers can find food ranging from oysters to deviled eggs and chicken cordon bleu.

"All the dishes we are serving are reminiscent of classic New York inspired dishes," said Watman.