Vices Tested: Peppi’s Cellar of NYC
Bartender Profile: Ryan Gavin
Searching for a new “classic” is something that’s perpetually on the minds of New Yorkers. Whether you know it or not, something inside deeply excites when we know we’ve discovered something with that stick-factor. Which is why we were struck with an instant feeling of slightly smug delight when we descended the stairs of Peppi’s Cellar – the bar beneath Gran Tivoli of Nolita here in NYC. And yes- before you ask- this was originally the location of Southside. A massive with a very impressive array of spirits are crammed together behind the bar, complete with cozy booth-lined nooks and a jazz corner- which provides a stage for weekly Jazz sessions.
At the forefront of the experience is the most exciting cocktail menu we’ve seen in a while- the creation of Ryan Gavin. An Australian and former Roman-resident, the menu pulls inspiration from his various experiences of drinking, traveling and living in far off places.
We sat down with the man himself over a few Smoked Negonis (a must order).
RV: What are your favorite "Vices"?
RG: Overordering in every restaurant I've ever been to
RV: What's the defining factor of Gran Tivoli's cocktail menu?
RG: We take a modern approach to a very traditional Italian palate
RV: Which cocktail embodies Autumn for you?
RG: The color of a boulevardier always makes me think of fall leaves
RV: It's a crisp fall afternoon in NYC, and you have the day off - where do we find you?
RG: In prospect park with my dog and a hot coffee
RV: What are people currently not drinking enough of, but need to know more about?
RG: I'm still waiting for the gin boom to fully take hold of of the US, as we've seen a massive rise in craft gin distillers over the past 5-10 years. It’s such a world of flavor and mixability that is so far untapped here in the US.
RV: Favorite cocktail you've ever had?
RG: It’s all about the place and the experience and rarely about one specific cocktail. Martinis at the Artesian, Irish coffees at Buena Vista Cafe, Scorpion Bowls at Trailer Happiness.
RV: We just heard about Whiskey Wednesdays at Peppi's Cellar. Tell us everything.
RG: Each Wednesday we partner with a brand to bring one bottle that we sell off at cost price. It usually culminates at the end of the month with an epic limited release or rare bottling being offered at an absolute steal. Each week it runs until that bottle is finished. Some weeks it will be gone in 20min the next it might last all night. The idea is to offer bottling and brands that might otherwise go unnoticed or under appreciated. It's a great opportunity to not only educate our guests but also get our staff more involved in whiskey.
RV: How is the jazz talent curated on Thursdays at Peppi's?
RG: Co-owner, Jason Scott, has a keen ear for the best sound for Peppi's Cellar. He is constantly on the lookout for the next group to support and pioneer at Peppi's Cellar.
Peppi’s Cellar: 406 Broome Street, basement level (enter through Gran Tivoli), New York, NY 10013. (917) 714-8832. Whiskey Wednesdays / Jazz Thursdays.