Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Heather and I took a trip to Governors Island on Sunday for their New Island Festival. It was really a lot of fun and included a lot of art installations and Dutch themed entertainment. There was even a Dutch group called Zap Holland who performed little skits that seemed to be intended for kids aside from the occasional allusion to drugs and legal prostitution. They had a couple of stands where you could buy beer and wine but the selection was pretty limited. If you wanted beer, you could have either Amstel or Heineken and the wine was offered in varieties as distinctive as red and white. I suppose one can’t complain. It’s a festival.
After we left Governors Island, Heather and I we’re trying to decide what to do with the remainder of our evening. We could go home and I could mix drinks. We shied away from that option because I’ve been mixing drinks a lot lately. I like doing it and it’s cheaper, but occasionally I like to let someone else do the work. I enjoy the artistry and also I’m lazy. We considered Studio Square, but that’s a beer garden. After drinking a few Heinekens, I was a little tired of beer. Variety is indeed the spice of life.
At Heather’s suggestion, we finally decided on Mayahuel—a tequila bar in the East Village. Heather has been there before and was the one that tipped me off. It’s run by the same folks who run Death & Company, another bar of which we're quite fond. Like these other places, Mayahuel has a very low key facade. You’re likely to miss it unless you’re really looking for it.
The tiny bar was full, so we took a seat at a two person booth. The decor has a very dimly lit, Mexican charm. I think the booth was designed to look like a repurposed prison cell or something. (Just a theory on my part.) And the place is filled with cheap looking dollar store candles—the kind with the Virgin Mary and a crucified Jesus staring back at you. As weird as it might seem to have religious figures like Jesus staring at you while you knock back tequila, it was oddly appropriate. I wanted him to jump off that cross so I could buy him a round. But then I remembered that he died and ascended into heaven on the third day. God Damn Romans.
We both ordered cocktails off the menu. I decided to go with the Tequila Gumption—a cocktail comprising “Mezcal and Reposado Tequila with Maraschino, Orange & Angostura Bitters.” Heather opted for a Jacko’s End—a mix of “Mezcal, Bonded Applejack, Benedictine, & Peychaud bitters.” We commented to each other that they both seemed to have a very specific finish to them, almost an antiseptic quality. It reminded us both of a dentist’s office. I didn’t find it entirely unpleasant, but Heather doesn’t care to be reminded of the dentist when she’s out at the bar. We thought maybe it was the bitters but we could be wrong. If anybody has any insight, please post a comment.
Near the end of our visit, a middle aged couple came in wearing familiar outfits of unfashionable tee shirts and jeans that scream "I DON'T LIVE HERE." They asked the bartender for a take-out menu. He politely told them that they didn't have one. Thrown, the couple asked him what this place was exactly. He explained that it was a small Mexican themed bar and restaurant that specializes in tequila drinks and small plate food. The couple then stared at him blankly, thanked him for his time and left. I felt cool and in the know by comparison. I never feel cool and in the know. I constantly feel square and left out, but Mayahuel changed all that. I will be returning again soon.

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