Mohawk Bend


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Worth putting pants on for.

It’s a rare occasion for me to go out at night. Often the idea of going out to hang out in a loud bar/party/club with crowds of people and spending a lot of money on parking and drinks is enough to make me decide to stay home on the couch watching “Lilyhammer”. I try to go out once in a while, but it is the exception not the rule.

I decided to make an exception this past weekend when we wrapped our film shoot after three weeks of intense, myopic focus on pre-production and production. My teammates and several cast members had talked about the idea of going out as an informal wrap party and it felt like an occasion worth the effort, even if it meant going home to eat dinner and then going back out later.

The decision was made to meet later that evening at a bar called Mohawk Bend in the Echo Park neighborhood. I’d heard of Mohawk Bend before, but never been there: a trendy, craft-beer bar with a reputation for good pizza and a designated vegan-friendly food preparation area. Whenever a restaurant puts a lot of emphasis on how Vegan-Friendly it is I tend to imagine that I’m probably going to be much too Midwestern-Uncool to fit in there. But the lure of interesting beers and the need to celebrate the relief from a successful shoot was enough to make me give Mohawk Bend the benefit of the doubt.

After going home and eating some pasta and catching up on an episode of “Banshee” I drove to Echo Park. I braced myself for the worst when it came to parking: I’ve heard a lot of lamentations from my friends and classmates at how they hate living in a city with such a pronounced car culture, but to play the devil’s advocate I always think about parking and the fact that it is almost always readily available and often pretty cheap. Coming from a city like Chicago, where there is much less of a car culture and it is possible to spend more than thirty dollars to park for a few hours in downtown, I still have vestigial fears of paying an arm and a leg for a few hours of parking.  So the night was already off to a good start when I found a place to park for free.

Walking up the sidewalk it would be easy to mistake Mohawk Bend for a theatre: the marquee is still in place and the sidewalk was full of clusters of people either waiting to get in or having a smoke. My friends were already inside, so I just walked straight in, rubbernecking at each step to try to find them. They found me first and flagged me down to where they had taken over an entire stretch of bar looking into the maw of the pizza over while waiting for a table to open up. Since I’d already eaten, I found a drinks menu that read like a page out of Ulysses and began dithering.

The beer list stretched over three columns. I recognized only one name on the entire list: Manifesto Whitbier from Eagle Rock Brewery. It was exciting to see so many options, but it also made it really hard to choose one. Or, in my case, two since I had decided before coming out that I would limit myself to two beers and then wait for an hour before driving home around midnight when my extravert coach inevitably turned back into an introvert pumpkin.

The server recommended a 2020- a red IPA that was brand new on the menu. This turned out to be an excellent recommendation: light and a little bit acidy/fruity like a tart apple and not too bitter, which is usually the thing that turns me off of IPAs. For reasons unknown, it took half an hour for the beer to arrive. The rest of the group got their food and began eating while those of us just drinking continued to wait.

Figuring that if I was only going to have two beers for the night I might as well order the second one as well, I went to the bar and picked out a second beer. I had been eyeballing a beer called the Jolly Roger: a big dark beer that came in a tiny, dainty snifter and rightfully so considering that it’s alcohol content was twice as much as the other beers on the menu. Compared to the 2020 the Jolly Roger was toasty and less bright, but equally good.

So for someone who rarely goes out, my trip to the Mohawk Bend was a good enough experience that I wouldn’t mind if I ever had to go back again. Prices were reasonable (expensive to me as someone who shops at the dollar store, but not unreasonable in the grand scheme of things) and parking was free. The environment was hip but not cooler-than-thou like some trendy places can be. And, of course, it was fun to have time to spend with my friends and teammates that wasn’t dedicated exclusively to work and planning for a change.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on February 2, 2014.

2 Responses to “Mohawk Bend”

  1. Look at you! Way to go!! A post not about your project. I know it was bugging you that you seem to only post about school but you didn’t this time! Bonus!! 🙂

  2. What is this “Banshee”? I just saw it listed on my sister’s TV guide. It’s not the Marvel Comics character, is it?
    I would not be lured by beer (cuz I don’t drink). But, I’d be curious about the pizza and a stern judge. I don’t buy reputations well. I know what you mean about feeling Midwestern/carnivore-casual in a vegan arboretum
    Chicago is nucking futs for parking costs! Yes, that is ridiculous like the tolls. A great way to be legal road bandits. But, heck to pay for travelers (and citizens, apparently).
    Options are nice. But, when the list goes on for three pages, it loses its charm. I went to a sort of tea house once and felt my eyes spin as I looked over three pages of teas I had no clue about. I just picked one at random.
    If you’re a regular dollar store shopper–they have those out there?–yeah; you’re going to look and feel like the square peg in the room of leese geese….er, loose goose…geese…whatever.

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