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Know Your Bartender: Greg Morabito, Black Sheep Pub

The Black Sheep Pub, on Bergen Street just west of Fifth Avenue, has one of the most devoted followings of any bar I've been to. The tight-knit group of regulars, many of whom have been coming since Tony McErlain and a few partners opened it up in November of 2005, keep coming back for the great free jukebox (bring a CD and they'll add it to the mix), foosball, the projections of sports and movies on the back wall, quality pub grub, and bi-monthly trivia nights that sometimes have huge payouts. During the warmer months the front windows open up to let in air, and tables are set up on the sidewalk for drinking al fresco.

The devoted crowd of regulars doesn't mean that first timers will feel like they've crashed a private party, however. Friendly bartenders and an amiable crowd will make you feel right at home. Flushing native Greg Morabito, who was also one of the original bartenders at the now-closed Total Wine Bar, can be found tending bar here Saturdays and Sundays from noon-8, and Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 PM to 4 AM.

HPS: How long have you been bartending here?

Greg: I've been here now for a bit over a year. 

HPS: What's your favorite thing about this bar?

Greg: For one, I love all the specials. There are so many specials here. The Happy Hour runs till 8 every night. Monday and Wednesday there's half-price wine night, the food is awesome, and we even have a food special that's really great, which is on Sunday and Monday starting at 6 all of the food items start at 5 bucks. I love the foosball. I also love it when we get a crew of regulars in here and everybody's hanging out playing foosball, playing with the jukebox; you can really kind of make it your own. 

HPS: Can you go into a little more detail about the Happy Hour?

Greg: Sure. It starts whenever we open depending on the day, so noon on Saturday and Sunday and 5 during the week. Till 7 PM we have $4 drafts and $4 call drinks, and then until 8 PM we have $3 well drinks and $10 pitchers of Bud Light and Shock Top. And then based on the occasion we'll usually do something else, like on Cinco de Mayo and St. Patty's Day, of course. We keep it festive. 

HPS: What's the strangest drink order you've received here?

Greg: Probably a Surfer on Acid. Which sounds disgusting. It's Jagermeister, Malibu, and Pineapple. Sometimes I think Jagermeister just shouldn't exist.

HPS: If you could have a drink with one person from history, who would it be?

Greg: Does it have to be a real person? Because I might have to say Sherlock Holmes. And that will probably change next month or in a few months, but right now I'm on a kick because I'm reading all the Arthur Conan Doyle books, and I'm obsessed with them. It's like literally 1500 pages' worth of Sherlock Holmes stories. 

HPS: Are there any cocktails that you make that you pride yourself on?

Greg: Yeah, I think I make an awesome Bloody Mary, and Manhattans. I've also recently started to get into messing with elderflower syrup. I brought some in on Christmas Day to try to do something fun, so I made a drink called a Capricious, which is basically like a martini, except it's gin, dry vermouth, a couple dashes of bitters, and elderflower syrup. It's super good, actually. Maybe I'll try making a Manhattan with maple bitters. We're not really a palace of mixology here, though. But every now and again it's fun. 

HPS: What mixed drink is made the most frequently here?

Greg: I'd have to say just regular old well drinks, like gin and tonics, simple things like that. I'd say those are probably the most common.

HPS: Which bottles do you pour from the least?

Greg: Well the things we never really use are all in the corner here. Banana liqueur, sloe gin, which I actually used once to make a sloe gin fizz just for fun, peach schnapps, strawberry liqueur. I just use them to hang decorations on, basically. 

HPS: If you weren't tending bar, what other occupations would you like to pursue?

Greg: Well there's a couple directions I'd like to go in. I'd like to one day go back to teaching High School. I taught twice in my life, once up at a private school in the Bronx, but not for rich kids, it was a place where inner-city families could just afford. I was teaching math there but that's not really my subject. I was an English major. So most recently I was teaching English in Flatbush, at Erasmus High School. I'll never work for the Department of Education again, though. It's a really corrupt beauracracy that doesn't actually care about kids. It seems to me like a money-making organization. So sometimes I imagine getting all my teacher friends together and opening up a school. 

I also wouldn't mind owning a bar. Running a bar rather than just bartending. Because most of the aspects of this job I really really love. Otherwise I wouldn't be doing it. I like to talk to people. I like to make drinks. 

Black Sheep Pub, 428 Bergen Street Brooklyn NY 11217. 718-638-1109.

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Reader Comments (2)

Greg is far and away the best bartender in Park Slope. Seriously.

January 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I second this opinion

January 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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