The Upper East Side is not without an abundance of great restaurants and bars, and The Gilroy is making it’s mark as your go-to neighborhood cocktail spot. Located on 2nd Avenue at 81st Street, sit at the bar to chat up the bartenders making your craft cocktails, or sit in the cozy back area for delicious, comforting bar snacks. There is also a communal table where you can chat up other guests and make new friends.
First and foremost to note about The Gilroy is there outstanding cocktails. The Gilroy prides itself on being a “laboratory” where the bartenders are constantly working to come up with new recipes, using wild ingredients and innovative flavors for an endless list of cocktail options. To keep tasting all of the new, delicious cocktails is just one of the many reasons why customers keep coming back.
Owner Joseph D’Angelo (executive chef/owner the Copper Kettle Kitchen nearby) is joined by General Manager Drew Blumenthal who ensures the comfort and satisfaction of every customer, and recently teamed up with bar manager Harris Tooley, formerly of Scheib’s Place and the McKittrick Hotel. Together they have developed and outstanding program of cocktails and an inviting menu.
The Gilroy specializes in classic, bespoke list of Negronis cocktails, including the Gilroy Negroni (Spring 44 Gin, Punt e Mes and Campari) and the White Negroni (with the sweeter, mellower Lillet Blanc, and Suze gentian bitters in addition to gin). They get even more wild using other spirits, such as the Old Oscar which features Knob Creek Bourbon instead of gin, Ancho Reyes chili liqueur, chocolate bitters and Amaro Montenegro. Or go south of the border with the Oaxaca, made with Gracias A Dios Mezcal Joven, Antica Formula, and Campari. You can even bring a date to share the Gilroy Vintange Negroni made for two – or you have it all for yourself.
In addition to Negronis, the menu included other cocktails with provocative names. We loved the Cheer Up, Daria with vodka, ginger, lime, and pineapple that gave us a taste of spring. And if you’re feeling any sort of ailment, try the Irish Penicillin with Teeling Small Batch Irish whiskey with honey, lemon, and ginger. For egg white drink fanatics like myself, you can’t go wrong with the Nancy Dawson with Cruz Black Strap Rum, Leblon Cachaca, lime, orange, Demerara, bitters, and egg white.
For those who need their cocktails credentials, The Gilroy has that. Their Sermon on the Barrel was the winner of the 2016 Yorkville Cup, comprised of of Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon, Suze, Dubonnet Rouge, Benedictine and wood vinegar, strong but well-balanced. The bartenders will also create bespoke cocktails unique to your taste if you tell some of your preferences, along with a changing selection of beers on tap and an array of wines.
To pair with your cocktails and conversations, the menu offers dishes that are great for sharing. You can start or end your meal with an assortment of cheeses and charcuterie. The flatbreads are also great to share. Go with the crowd-pleasing Margherita with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, or the popular Wild Mushroom with goat cheese and truffle oil. We loved the homemade fennel sausage with gruyere cheese, tomatoes, and scallions.
For a light dish option, we enjoyed the tuna tartare paired with toasted bread, and then moved on to the creamy mac and cheese with Irish and Vermont cheddars and asiago. We highly recommend adding the extra bacon, but that pretty much goes without saying.
We also shared the Angus sliders that came with three small burgers with cheddar, pickled onions, sriracha mayo – and yes, we added the Applewood smoked bacon. Next time we will be back to try the Pork Belly Pressed Sandwich with gruyere, bacon-onion jam, whole grain mustard, as well as their dessert options that include a warm chocolate brownie with peanut butter sauce and marshmallows.
If you’re lucky enough to get out of the office at a reasonable hour in order to make happy hour, be sure to come by The Gilroy for their amazing happy hour specials from 5:00 to 7:00 PM on weekdays. They offer happy hour specials on beers and select cocktails, and they feature one of their signature cocktail creations each week. Drink amazing craft cocktails (nearly) guilt-free.
Check out The Gilroy and make it your new neighborhood watering hole.
Photos via The Gilroy and by Yvonne Lee
Hours of operation: Open everyday 5PM-4AM.
Specials offered during happy hour (5PM-7PM) include discounts on beers and a selection of cocktails, including one special feature created each week.