Many of you reading are frequent drinkers, all within moderation of course and I’m sure you have your “spots” to hang at. Some people like a good ole’ sports bar, others maybe more into a boujee cocktail lounge. Not me. I enjoy an environment that boasts both an amazing Italian cuisine with just the right amount of people getting drunk in the company of their friends and family. This is Gabriel’s and this is my hangout.
After being part of the opening team for Arqua restaurant in 1983, Aiello went on to open Gabriel’s on West 60th St in 1991. The restaurant became an instant success and developed a strong following, attracting celebrities and people of high influence. Gabriel’s distinctive personality and hospitality, alongside his establishment’s impeccable fare, is credited with the restaurant’s continued success.– Gabriel Aiello
I’m gonna start by saying I love this place! It was only a coincidence that I found this place and made friends with the owner and the head bartender.
I was dating my ex at the time and her aunt and uncle had invited me out to dinner and drinks at this marvelous place. Thank god I still have the bar and not the girl cause I definitely got the better end of the stick.
This bar is situated right by Lincoln Center which I consider to be the Upper West Side. It’s right on my way home from whatever event or outing I happened to have partaken in during the day which couldn’t be any easier.
Gabriel has created a staple in this part of NYC for his first-class Italian dishes and pasta (which I’ll get to later), the amazing service from his bar and floor staff, and the sheer ambience that is brought to every single person who walks through the door.
Speaking of service, the person, the friend, the being that makes you comfortable and coming back to a bar is none other than the man with the plan behind the bar.
I come back for this gentleman,
He’s the most down to earth and friendly person I know behind the bar that always gives me great conversation and shares stories of his that always keep me entertained. Not to mention he can make any of the drinks I can come up with during my time there.
Scotty has been apart of the Gabriel’s staff for over a decade and he’s cultivated a crowd that isn’t leaving anytime soon and will continue to bring him more friends and clients to make his stay better and better.
Getting into cocktails, this place is special for one reason.
Nobody, and I mean NOBODY orders off of their cocktail menu. Why is that? It’s because people who come to this bar know what they want and no matter what you order, Scotty can make it.
Let’s get into it!
If there’s one drink Scotty makes for me and many of the older, more frequent guests of his, it’s the,
- Ketel One Vodka
- Dry Vermouth Rinse
- Lemon Twist
If you’ve been a bartender like I have for many years, you’ll definitely have come across those guests of yours that drink their vodka or gin one way, and one way only.
Dry. Dry. And even MORE dry.
Well, I can honestly say that these guests have rubbed off on me because there’s something about an extra-shaken vodka martini that I enjoy during a casual night out.
If you didn’t know how to make one of these, it goes like this;
- Fill your mixing tin with ice and 5-6 oz of your spirit of choice. I like Ketel One vodka.
- Shake hard and firm til the tins almost turn to ice.
- Grab your frozen martini glass.
- Drop a splash of dry vermouth in the glass and swirl it around.
- Fine strain the vodka so there are no ice chunks.
- Zest your lemon over the martini and rub the rim.
Next up is my typical go-to bourbon cocktail with a little twist! This is the,
- Woodford Reserve Bourbon
- Campari Aperitivo
- Sweet Vermouth
- Angostura Bitters
- Orange Bitters
I want to apologize for a half-drunken cocktail above! Sometimes, I’m just so excited for an awesome drink that I lose sense of my priorities.
This cocktail is typically made with equal parts but I like mine with a tad extra bourbon. The twist I throw in here is the single dash of angostura AND orange bitters.
It gives it a nice kick and mellows out the cocktail. I also serve guests the cocktail like this and everyone loves it.
This here, right above, is my favorite Italian appetizer,
- Toasted Focaccia
- Chopped Basil
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Olive Oil
I don’t know about you but this is the perfect kickstarter to any Italian meal. It’s easy to share and it’s light.
What’s more, Scotty just asks how many we want as if these were oysters or something which I absolutely adore.
Just like the cocktails, here at Gabriel’s, they cater to your every need and desire.
No, they do NOT have a basic red sauce pasta dish. But these are the pleasures of being a guest here, they will make you whatever you want!
- Hand pulled/spun linguini
- Homemade tomato sauce
- Pecorino Cheese
Did I mention Gabriel’s makes his own pasta? Do yourself a favor and come in for a bite one of these, you’ll feel right at home.
Before I wrap this up, I wanted to give a special shoutout to my fellow bartender, friend, and mentor who taught me a lot of the things I know behind the bar today.
He’s currently your guy behind the scenes at Saltbae’s steakhouse, Nusr-Et on 53rd here in Midtown! If you’re ever in the mood for a stellar cocktail with some steak to accompany, he’s your man!
Link to his IG HERE.
I’m hungry and we have some business to get to guys,
Until next time,
“10/10 would recommend, Yancy……OUT!