Open Tab: Bartender Gisela Alvarez Speaks Cielo NYC
Some can be dark and dangerous. Others are crowded with stumbling figures reeking of alcohol and cigarette smoke. Turn any corner in New York City and you will come across a club for every musical taste known to man. From hip-hop nights at Webster Hall to old-timey Americana at Pete’s Candy Store, New York has you covered.
For those of us who seek a sexy crowd and deep, wall shaking bass, Cielo NYC is the place to visit. Cielo, owned by world renown DJ Nicolas Matar, has been part of New York’s EDM music scene since 2003. Kaskade, David Guetta and Willie Graff have all electrified throngs of the young and tireless that gather in this Meatpacking District club. Cielo’s longest standing bartender, Gisela Alvarez, believes great music is what separates Cielo from the competition.
“Nicolas and management have always focused on bringing the best house DJs to Cielo. We’ve had house greats like old-school legend Frankie Knuckles to David Guetta spinning records here,” said Gisela.
Wheeling and Dealing
Born in Portugal, Gisela’s travels to Spain and North Africa have augmented her love for music. At 16-years-old, Gisela has managed to perform as a video dancer, singer, model and actor before moving to Brooklyn and working at Cielo. Despite a plethora of professions under her belt, Gisela has always maintained her EDM roots.
“EDM is a huge blanket now that it’s almost impossible to choose a favorite style. I am old-school so I like to listen to my house and techno and some disco because it all connects in some way or another,” said Gisela.
Mix: What do you consider to be the best performance you have seen at Cielo?
Gisela: “There are so many. Nicole Moudaber, in the beginning, when she was not as known, was spinning here and those were great performances. Louie Vega still plays here and it is a memorable night every single time. So many great talents have passed through here that to single one out is tough for me.”
Mix: What are your thoughts on the recent surge of “trap” music and do you think it will be a permanent fixture in the EDM universe?
Gisela: “I truly love how the two worlds, that of hip-hop and EDM, are merging and becoming its own identity. Hip-hop and EDM have the same base in that they both have very humble beginnings and are now huge. You have hip-hop DJs playing house music and house DJs playing hip-hop and its great. I think it will create another facet of great music under the EDM umbrella.”
Mix: What are you doing when you are not making drinks at Cielo?
Gisela: “I am sleeping or listening to music! I have an all-natural, plant powered skin care line, Mogi Mousse, that takes up most of the time when I am not behind the bar. Like the music we listen to, I want to make people feel good about themselves. Whether it’s a drink or my skin care line, I just want to make people happy.”
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