Viva VIA

Viva VIA

Italian street food may be the inspiration at VIA Gastrobar, but Instagram is the theme. Influencer bait is visible from every table: a black and white mural of a grrrl fiercely eating her spaghetti, an Italian ice cart/graffiti installation, a plant wall emblazoned with “Cocktails & Dreams” in slinky neon. Social media savvy extends to the cocktails themselves, with concepts and presentations aimed like a howitzer at all the single ladies and their followers.

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The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

In tribute, I stuck to vodka for the night. I first ordered the Tinder Date ($15), a purple-red concoction garnished with a mini plastic muscleman bench pressing blueberry weights. (The drink is “served with your own personal tinder date,” the menu promises, and this must be him.) Made with pineapple-infused liquor and muddled blueberries, the cocktail smelled and tasted light, effervescent and fresh-fruity—as nice as you could possibly hope for after swiping right. The vodka was well-hidden even as the man in the glass became more and more revealed, a metaphor and fun talking point for anyone on an actual date.

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Bartender Alberto Moya then recommended the Up All Night ($14), a caffeinated vodka martini for when the date is going well. Combining freshly brewed espresso, vanilla Absolut and Kahlúa (with an optional “float” infusion of Bailey’s that I declined), mine carried the word “VIA” printed in cinnamon across a fine but sturdy tan foam. The ebony spring below was beautifully bitter, not acidic, and the vodka, in taste but not feeling, was once again expertly hidden. Amazingly, the “VIA” survived all the way to the bottom of the glass.

With their visual and branding flair, the people behind VIA probably don’t have to make such smart and gratifying cocktails in order to be successful. But I’m glad they do.

VIA Gastrobar
260 Crown St, New Haven
Sun-Thurs noon-12:30am, Fri-Sat noon-1:30am
(203) 745-3067
Website | Instagram

Written and photographed by Dan Mims.

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