Talking To Paul Hamill Of Prospect Avenue’s Newest Bar, Mohawk Tavern

66

mohawk tavern
If you were sensibly hiding from the wind and rain indoors last night, you may have missed the opening of Mohawk Tavern–the warm, homey new bar in the former Crossroads Cafe space at 1241A Prospect Avenue (on the corner of Reeve Place).

What you might not have realized is that Mohawk could very well be the perfect place to sit out a storm, what with its woodsy interior, cozy nooks, and familiar Windsor Terrace faces behind the bar. We stopped in just before Mohawk Tavern’s 6pm opening to meet co-owners Leah and Brandon (you can see Brandon furiously working on their chalkboard menu below), and spoke to their partner Paul Hamill about what neighbors can expect from the bar down the line.

How long have you, Leah, and Brandon been working together? How did you first meet and start collaborating?

I met Leah Allen and her husband Mike O’Neil about five years ago. They were looking to open a new bar in addition to the bar they owned at the time, Abilene, in Carrol Gardens.

Some friends of mine worked at Abilene and they put me in touch with them to collaborate as an investor. The result was Lowlands Bar on Third Avenue in Gowanus, which opened in March of 2010. Later they opened Skylark Bar on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope with other partners.

I have known Brandon for a long time. We both grew up in Albany and actually went to high school together. Brandon works at Abilene and Lowlands and is longtime friends with some of the partners at the other bars. This will be the first bar Brandon owns, but I think he’ll be better at it than all the rest of us.

In addition to co-owning Lowlands with Mike and Leah, I currently manage the kitchens at Skylark and Abilene.

mohawk tavern
Why did you decide to open a place in Windsor Terrace, and why call it Mohawk Tavern?

We chose to open a bar in Windsor Terrace because Mike and Leah and Brandon all live in the neighborhood. And it’s a great neighborhood! Leah has been eyeing that strip for a possible bar for a couple of years, and when the Crossroads space became available we all thought it would be a good fit. Corner locations are great spots for bars.

And Windsor Terrace is perfect for the type of bar we built; a cozy neighborhood spot where you can grab a drink after work, hang out with a group of friends on a Friday night, or spend a lazy Sunday afternoon drinking Bloody Marys and chatting with strangers.

mohawk tavern
I live in Crown Heights so I’m not as familiar with WT as my partners, but I like the neighborhood a lot. I know that it’s probably changed in the last five or ten years, with families and young people moving in from other areas. But for now it all seems to work and I don’t think there is any danger of Windsor Terrace becoming the next Williamsburg.

There is something really charming about that stretch of Prospect Avenue. It almost feels like a Main Street in a small town. My hope is that Mohawk Tavern will be embraced by the newcomers as well as the people that have been living in Windsor Terrace for a long time.

mohawk tavern
A bit about the name. As I said before, Brandon and I both grew up in Albany. The Mohawk River forms the northern border of Albany County right where it meets up with the Hudson. The bar has an upstate New York theme, in that we plan to serve all New York State beers, at least on draft, and serve wines from the Finger Lakes as well as other wine growing regions of New York.

The decor is kind of lodge/Adirondack campy (in both senses of the word), if that means anything. We wanted the name to tie in with our theme and evoke images of the mountains and lakes of upstate. I’ll let the customers decide if we pulled that off.

Obviously we recognize that the Mohawk are also a people, and any place or body of water named Mohawk in upstate NY comes from them. Hopefully no one of Native American ancestry will take offense to our using the name Mohawk. Tons of place names upstate, and all over the country, come from Native American languages. So, to us, Mohawk refers to the part of upstate where we grew up, and you’re not going to find any Native American artifacts or imagery in the bar.

mohawk tavern
Will Mohawk Tavern only be serving drinks, or food as well? Can we expect live music or other events?

Mohawk Tavern will be serving beer and wine as well as liquor and cocktails. We’ll have some food, but the space was too small to fit in a full kitchen without losing half our seating. (There are around fifty seats in the bar. We hope to apply for a cafe license soon and add some sidewalk seating.)

We plan to serve some pressed sandwiches as well as warm pretzels which we’re getting from Pelzer’s in Crown Heights. We’ll also have some bar snacks like olives and chips. And customers will be welcome to bring in their own food from home or from other places in the ‘hood.

It’s unlikely that we’ll be featuring much live music. We just don’t have the space for it, and we don’t want to invite noise complaints. We’ve got good taste in music though, I think, so we’ll always have good tunes on at Mohawk Tavern.

As far as other events go, our customers can expect beer and wine tastings as well as the occasional trivia and movie night. We’re not a sports bar by any stretch but we’re excited to show the world cup this summer and we hope to have our cable hooked up in time for the Kentucky Derby!

mohawk tavern
What are your proposed hours?

We haven’t decided on set hours. We’ll probably open in the late afternoon during the week [Editor’s note: they opened at 6pm yesterday] and at noon on weekends. Our other bars stay open pretty late, but Windsor Terrace has a different feel so I don’t imagine we’ll be open till 4am most nights.

Lots of people have popped in and seem really excited about our bar. I’m sure there are a some who are less than happy that a bar is opening in their neighborhood and I just want to say that we’re going to do everything we can to be good neighbors.

If people have complaints or concerns they can feel free to call us and we’ll do what we can to address them. I think once we’re open and people get to know us they’ll see that we’re an asset to the neighborhood and not the kind of place that breeds trouble.

mohawk tavern
Welcome to the neighborhood, Mohawk Tavern–we look forward to seeing you in the blustery nights ahead!

  • Rachel Bloom

    There are many ways to honor upstate New York – perhaps Hudson Tavern – without a name that is both racist and culturally appropriative. I was so excited for you to come to the neighborhood, but don’t know if I can support you with a name like this. If the name of your establishment requires an explanation of how it “isnt’ racist” then you need to change the name. In addition considering the devastation that alcoholism has wreaked on American Indian communities this is particularly insulting.

    • Alaina

      They have to explain themselves because you are accusing them of doing something wrong.

    • Bill Brandow

      You think it’s better to name a tavern after a white man whose work led to the subjugation of America’s native population? Should all of the states, towns, rivers and mountains in the country that are named after native tribes and words also change their names?

      The state of Iowa should change its name? The University of Connecticut? The Town of Mohawk? The Mississippi River? The Adirondack Mountains? Oneida County? The City of Miami? The Dakota Apartments? The Algonquin Hotel? Mexico? In 1999, the Canadian government carved out Nunavut from the Northwest Territories. Was that a racist move? Is purging all of these names from the map, and replacing them with European names better? Would America be better if we eradicated all reminders of our nations earliest history and named everything after white people?

      “Righteous rage” is not a substitute for genuine thought or understanding. It is a fallback of the small minded.

      • Danielle Oakes

        You’re small minded

        • Ammyth

          SOLID COMEBACK.

    • Ben N.

      I’d like you to think about something. According to my dictionary, the word “appropriate” means to “take exclusive possession of, to set apart for or assign to a particular purpose or use.”
      Using a word does not “appropriate” the word. The taverner’s use of the word “Mohawk” in the name of the pub doesn’t take the word away from anyone. The availability of words is infite. I can say it, you can say it, he can say it: it belongs to everyone and anyone who wants to say it. You can never run out.
      Really, the only way to “appropriate” a word — the only way to take it away from everybody else — is to tell people they can’t say it. You preach a made-up orthodoxy, you declare the word offensive, you take the word off the market. You tell people: You can’t use that word, it’s not yours. That’s what “appropriating” something is.
      And guess who’s doing that, Rachel Bloom? Yep. Time to look at the lady in the mirror. You, through a shallow, wrong-headed orthodoxy, are trying to take the word Mohawk away. It’s a lovely word that hails from a lovely people and has been associated with a lovely river and a lovely region. It has pastoral, image-rich connotations. But you, in your infinite wisdom, are saying no. From now on, “Mohawk” is just a word of mourning, I guess, reserved only for solemn occassions when we lament the exploitation of Native Americans. That’s just great. Great outcome for everyone, even the Mohawk people.
      Tell you what, the best news Paul Hammil probably had all day was your announcement that you won’t be patronizing the bar. Who would want you there? You’re screaming “not cool” (loudly).

    • Christoph

      The only reason why a ‘not racist’ explanation is required is because a few confused people with too much time on their hands are attempting to create a controversy out of nothing. Upstate New York and the Northeast more generally are marked everywhere by place names that derive from Native American words and groups. This includes, among others, several of our most cherished wilderness and natural settings including the Adirondacks, nearly all of the Finger Lakes, Niagara Falls, and the Tavern’s namesake, the Mohawk Valley. The owners of the bar have clearly tried – and from what I can
      tell from photos above, succeeded – in creating an atmosphere that evokes these
      different regions. They are not ‘appropriating’ anything, but rather recalling
      a real place that happened to be named after a Native American group two
      hundred years ago. This is not the ‘Redskins’ – which is a completely valid target for outrage and activism. This is a small neighborhood bar named after an area of Upstate New York where the owners happen to be from. Please take some time to meditate on the difference and consider directing your time and energy towards more worthy campaigns. https://www.change.org/petitions/washington-redskins-ask-daniel-snyder-to-change-the-name

    • Tom Pryor

      But the guys who opened the bar didn’t come from Hudson. They came from the Mohawk River side of Albany. Which is neither racist nor culturally inappropriate. Just a fact.

      Maybe you should direct your misplaced and misguided energy into changing the name of the river, first?

    • jonesy

      You’re an dope Rachel. It’s not racist to name your bar after a river. Is it ok for a japanese person to open a bar named the Hudson Tavern? After all, Henry Hudson was English. Isn’t that racist and culturally appropriative of the English people? Who counts here? Who gets to be outraged?

    • Ammyth

      How is using the word “Mohawk” racist? They’re not using it in a derogatory or diminutive way. They’re referring to a region of NY state. Are you doing research for a freshman anthropology class or something?

    • Jaguar

      Naming a tavern after a geographic point in one’s own state is nothing like naming a team “Redskins.” You seem confused. My guess is it will be more fun there without you.

  • Matt

    Welcome to the neighborhood guys! The place looks great, perfect for the area. Is it too late for a quick name change to Mohawk River Tavern? Would require a little sign work but might do the trick. Good luck and see you soon!

    • Betty

      How is “Mohawk River Tavern” any less racist or any better, if not obviously condescending? You seemed to have missed the point entirely along with the people who “liked” your comment.

      You do however show your support for racism and privilege in saying, “… might do the trick.”. What trick is that? Are we community members to believe that the Mohawk River was named the “Mohawk River” before the Mohawk Nation? Or that it was even named the Mohawk River before colonizing infected the land? Who are you tricking? The two people with previous comments and the people who liked their comments? The Indigenous people within this community? Your neighbors and other business owners?

      This is extremely concerning. Is this the kind of neighborhood we’re becoming and heading toward becoming; where we trick our neighbors; and treat people and their histories as commodities; and we support racism and racists, bigots and capitalists? How mistaken I was then, because I believed my neighborhood to be old and rich in culture, and proud of all of our histories, not just those that are easy to be proud of and acknowledge.

      • Bill Brandow

        Wait….it’s not “easy to be proud of” American’s indigenous cultures? Did you really write that?

      • Tom Pryor

        I agree with Betty. As a white American, I think it’s extremely important that we own our privilege by renaming everything we stole from the First Nations and erasing them completely from the land and historical memory. This is our right and duty as victors and anything less would dishonor our own roots as genocidal conquerors – signaling a failure of the great American exterminationist project that’s found its latest permutation in the gentrification of neighborhoods like Kensington. Betty is absolutely right, we must destroy every last vestige of the native peoples, just as she is in the vanguard of destroying every last vestige of the tolerant, old, pre-gentrification Brooklyn.

        • djturnstile

          well played sir :)

    • Guest

      Matt, why don’t you change your name to something less English. That is, unless you’re from England – then, it’s ok. Otherwise, you’re offending my English Bulldog.

  • Carrie Goodman

    I second Rachel’s comments regarding the name of the bar. The fact that many places upstate and across the country also appropriate native/indigenous peoples’ names and cultures does not provide justification for choosing this name, rather it exemplifies the long and continued history of racism, including forced assimilation and violence towards native/indigenous peoples. It is puzzling that having “Native American artifacts or imagery” in the bar is recognized as potentially offensive, but that there is no acknowledgment that claiming the name of a group of native/indigenous peoples is birthed from the same privilege and entitlement. While the intention may be to show respect for native/indigenous peoples and cultures, this is never the impact. Native/indigenous people’s names and cultures are not ours to claim and these actions need to be understood as a function of our racism. If the owners are truly invested in how surrounding communities receive and are affected by this bar, I urge them to engage in conversation with dissenting voices and think critically about the choices they have made.

    • Bill Brandow

      A man of Dutch decent owns the Boston Celtics, and I know someone of German/Italian decent who owns a bar called The Old English. Does this appropriation of names and cultures offend you, or is it okay because they are “white cultures”. There has been friction between each of these groups in the past – does that make the names racist? Is it really “post racial” to assert that one should only name things after ones own, strictly defined, race. Why does the word Mohawk offend you? Is it not a part of our shared American culture?

    • Ben N.

      You write: “Native/indigenous people’s names and cultures are not ours to claim and these actions need to be understood as a function of our racism.”
      No, nobody owns his/her/its name. We all exist in a world, we exist in a marketplace of ideas. I can talk about you and you can talk about me and we can all talk about the Mohawks, the Irish, the Japanese, the English, the French, or what have you. It’s not racist to use a word that refers to a tribe of people (and certainly not when that same word is also casually accepted as the name of a river, a valley, a region and a hairstyle). It would be racist to use a slur to describe a group of people, but “Mohawk” is not a slur, it’s a proper name. Levy all the furor you want on the Washington Redskins, but this is absurd. It’s worse than absurd, it’s phony.
      You write: “If the owners are truly invested in how surrounding communities receive and are affected by this bar, I urge them to engage in conversation with dissenting voices and think critically about the choices they have made.”
      Not when the “dissenting voices” are inane. And I suspect that people in the “surrounding communities” are “receiving” the bar just fine with no ill-effects.

      • Guest

        One, you’re an idiot. Two, contol your “quotation” usage, it’s excesssive. Three, check your double negatives… as in “No, nobody”.

        • Tom Pryor

          Actually, Ben’s use of quotation marks was perfectly appropriate and “No, nobody” isn’t a double negative. “No” indicates a definitive answer to the question previously posed, while “nobody owns his her/name” is set off by a comma to denote a clause that elaborates and clarifies the original “No”. Be careful who you call an idiot, citizen.

          • Bill Brandow

            Thank you, Tom. Well said!

      • Guest

        One, you’re an idiot. Two, control your
        “quotation” usage, it’s excessive. Three, check your double
        negatives… as in “No, nobody”.

    • Christoph

      Was this excerpted directly from an undergraduate cultural studies paper? A++! I find that people who studied the subject are often itching to label whatever they can ‘racist’, ‘neo-colonial’, ‘appropriative’, ‘totalizing’, etc, etc. It seems to make them feel as though they are getting their money’s worth from their degree, and gives the illusion that they are being productive, creating something, and not just wasting their time.

      • Tom Pryor

        Hahahaha… exactly… it’s another ridiculous misapplication of critical race theory.

    • Precious Jones

      The name Mohawk does not defame or slur the noble brown indigenous people. Its not like the bar is called “Firewater” or “Tomahawk Wound”. I see no smallpox blankets decorating the walls. And if they gave the bar this name (Mohawk) and then took it back, wouldn’t they be considered Indian Givers?? That would really be offensive.
      When did my beloved Brooklyn get overrun with all you transplanted hipster douchebags with your rabbinical beards and spoken statements that all end in the inflection of a question?

    • Tom Pryor

      Would you also be offended at a bar named “Massachusetts” or “Seneca Falls”? Fact is, the entire East Coast is riddled with place names derived from the First Nations people who once lived there – and it’s neither racist nor entitled or privileged to acknowledge that as a simple fact.

      Sometimes a toponym is just toponym, not a focal point for your facile outrage.

    • Guest

      All of this mischigos over a name. FWIW, “Nanny Goat Hill” was never a name for Windsor Terrace. It referred to a cluster of Irish immigrants who lived in the general area where Bishop Ford High School is now. It was a bit of a slur. Now it’s going to be a nice restaurant. I’m sure no harm was intended. So, would that history affect anyone’s desire to eat there when it opens?

  • Littledebbie

    I look forward to not being joined by Rachel and her ilk at the bar. I prefer to hang with cool, non judgemental people who use their precious time to fight for real equality not inflate their sense of self by slinging mud at a new business started by neighbors, Cheers!

  • Windsor Terraced

    I have to agree with the tone and tenor of Matt’s suggestion. It seems like a reasonable suggestion, consistent with the spirit of community

  • JFN

    Most of the comments in this thread are cringe-inducing. The name Mohawk Tavern is evocative of a place, a region, one of the most beautiful areas of our state. Whether you approve or not, the area has long been called the Mohawk Valley. If you really have an inherent problem with any application of the word “Mohawk” and have nothing better to do, start campaigning to the state. To start throwing around that the owners of the tavern are racist — to even invoke that word — is over-the-top CRAZY. How frustrating life must be for you people to be so easily made indignant. You exhaust me. I wish the owners of the Mohawk Tavern many years of happy success. It looks like an awesome place. I can’t wait to go.

  • BKMeltdown

    So excited to have you in the neighborhood. Best of luck!

  • Frankie

    I’m glad I read the enlightened comments posted by Betty, Rachel and Carrie before I finalized my summer vacation plans. I was planning to visit Nantucket, but I don’t want my friends to think I’m a racist, so I’d better go to Martha’s Vineyard instead. That’s a nice politically correct name…… but they are both in Massachusetts.

    Perhaps it’s better if I vacation in Rhode Island. On second thought, the Narraganset Bay takes up most of the state, and that is as offensive a name as possible! I’ll head to Maine instead, that’s a nice northern European place-name.

    We summered in Ogunquit when I was a kid….. Damn-it, mom and dad! Did you have to take innocent children to a racially insensitive resort-town? I’ll show them how much more caring and intelligent I am. I’ll stay in York Beach, and maybe drive up to Pemaquid Lighthouse! Nope, better stay in town! The Katahdin Inn has the best rates, but I’ll spend a little extra to stay away from those ignorant racists.

    I just can’t wait for summer! The open road! I love getting out of NYC and driving north on the beautiful and pastoral Taconic Parkway……. Dag-nab-it! The Parkway was named by racist too!?!? Maybe I should just stay home in Manhattan…… For-The-Love-Of-GOD! How could I have been so blind? Manhattan is a racist usurpation of a Native American name!

    Now I’ll have to spend my summer finding a new apartment in the enlightened Kensington neighborhood of Brooklyn. An English name and a Dutch name – racial purity at last! Any of you know of a good apartments in the neighborhood?

    • Guest

      I’m not from England. In fact, I’m American, the country that fought England for Independence, so I take vital offense to the name “New York.”

      How dare you live there, you racist.

      • Danielle Oakes

        You’re an idiot..tbc

    • Christoph

      Awesome ;)

  • KirkFaulkner

    What a lovely looking bar! It has been so fun to see this neighborhood grow. Can’t wait to bend an elbow with all of y’all.

  • KirkFaulkner

    Oh, and I think the name is great. Don’t listen to the haters.

  • Misguided Fury

    Please sign my petition to change the name of the Mohawk hairstyle to the ‘Appropriator’! The future of our community depends on it!
    https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/english-language-speakers-start-referring-to-the-mohawk-hairstyle-as-the-appropriator

  • RShah

    I agree with much of what’s been said about the purpose behind the name Mohawk Tavern, the lesson on appropriation (which this is not), and how it’s both pointless and undesirable to try to scrub every name of every place so that it no longer has even the slightest connection to a
    colonial past.

    I remember in my early 20s I used to take “offense” (was I really offended or just posing?) at non-South Asians wearing bindis on their foreheads (I am of South Asian decent). How dare they take something that’s mine! Of course, I made these statements while bartending wearing a bindi (it got me better tips).

    Luckily, I grew up and realized I don’t own a culture – not its food, not it’s fashion and certainly not its language. If a white person – or a black, Chinese, Native American or Dominican person – wants to wear a bindi – or name their child “Rajiv” or open an Indian restaurant – it’s just fine. Actually, it’s more than just fine. It’s great. Of course, there’s often a fine line between cross-cultural pollination and cultural objectification (i.e. the Redskins, wearing a turban on Halloween as a serious costume) but there is a line. Let’s not blur it.

    Good luck to you, Mohawk Tavern. Can’t wait to sit at the bar…

    • Danielle Oakes

      You and anyone that would possibly agree with you constitute everything that is wrong in society..On behalf anyone that has to read, hear, or be in the presence of your waste of a brain a favor and read a book. As a person who knows what they’re actually talking about let me suggest a couple: ‘A People’s History of the United States’ by Howard Zinn and ‘In the Spirit of Crazy Horse’ by Peter Matthiessen. I imagine reading may not be ‘your thing’, in which case watch, ‘The Canary Effect’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD7x6jryoSA
      You’re welcome.
      Oh and signed a real Mohawk Indian

      • RShah

        I’m sorry that you have to insult people who you don’t agree with. I actually read quite often and have read both books you’ve suggested. Talk about causing offense and making assumptions.

      • Tom Pryor

        I’ve read Howard Zinn and I’m pretty confident in saying that there’s nothing in his work that supports your far-fetched “arguments” or your misplaced claims of “racism” or your misapplication of critical race theory. Sometimes a toponym is just a toponym. Grow up and stop namecalling.

      • Bill Brandow

        Danielle- Based on your above comment, what you appear to want is complete and utter cultural segregation. People can interact, but cannot borrow anything from outside of their own rigidly defined culture. Happily, that is not how successful societies work. Human progress happens, and has always happened, when people learning from, and BORROW from other cultures.

        Cultural segregation has brought the world: Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, Modern-day North Korea, and the Taliban. Borrowing from cultures outside of ones own, on the other hand, helped to bring about: the Renaissance, the ideal of human liberty, enormous technological and scientific progress, and much of the worlds great art and architecture.

        RShah’s statements represent all that has ever fostered true progress and understanding in human endeavor. Your comments represent stagnation, and quite frankly, racism.

        • Tom Pryor

          Don’t forget the expulsion of the Jews and Muslims from Spain in 1492 and the Spanish Inquisition… Yay for cultural and racial purity!

        • South Asian Man

          What if I called the tavern the Hitler Tavern or the Taliban Tavern? Would you care? It’s just a name people, what’s the problem? Nonsense arguments. Just goes to show that disempowered people can’t protest the appropriation of their names and culture, but if white sensibilities are hurt, we have to respond immediately.

          • Bill Brandow

            The implication of your argument is that the word “Mohawk” equals bad or distasteful. I think that’s a problem. I would certainly have no trouble with a German Tavern and I find it troubling that some people would feel the need to confirm the nationality/ethnicity of those running such a place.

            I am of Palatine descent. A local cheese-maker markets under the name Palatine Cheeses. Should I be offended? Should I research their ethnicity? What if they are only 1/16, or 1/32 of Palatine descent? If that enough? What does it matter?

            They are using the name because of its cultural connection with the area. That’s a GOOD thing. New York towns like: Cairo, Rome, Athens, and Troy were all named for places and cultures to which their founders had no direct ancestral link.

            What right have I to tell the cheese makers that Palatine is not theirs to borrow? Should Italians be offended by Rome, NY or Egyptians by Cairo, NY? These names were chosen for their positive associations and as signs of respect.

    • South Asian Man

      Yeah but if they called it Bindi Tavern and put a big dot above the door wouldn’t it be just a little bit odd? The people here are missing the point — there is a long history of appropriation of Native names and resources. If Native people object to the name then we shouldn’t use it. Case closed.

  • Ugh81

    How is the name of this bar offensive? If they made it native american themed and had offensive drink names like “The Squaw” or “The Res” then I would understand…

  • Danielle Oakes

    1 in 10 Native American deaths are alcohol related http://nbcnews.to/1g6EeAx Do I need to say more??? I’m an enrolled tribal member of the St. Regis Mohawk reservation. I know firsthand of the devastation alcohol has had on my people. How anyone that is Truly nonNative (not my great grandmother was a Cherokee princess) can comment in defense of such an establishment is beyond me.

    • Tom Pryor

      Yes. Yes you do need to say more. A whole lot more. Because there is literally no actual linkage between this bar, its name and First Nations alcohol consumption except in your own mind. If you can show me a stat that says 1 in 10 First Nations alcohol-related deaths were caused directly by the name of this bar, then you might have a point. Otherwise it’s an absurdity and a logical fallacy.

  • Guest

    I’m beyond appalled
    by the general sentiment conveyed on this site. It never fails to surprise me the level of ignorance
    and racism that pervades American society, especially in regards to Natives. This
    is NOT OK when 1 out of every 10 Native Americans is dying of alcohol related
    deaths. This is an epidemic amongst my
    people and it’s utterly irresponsible, incomprehensible, and completely
    insensitive for anyone to use my culture and my people as a label for an
    establishment that serves only to promote alcohol.

    • Tom Pryor

      Then maybe your people should start taking some responsibility for their own alcoholism and stop blaming people who quite literally have nothing to do with it?

  • Danielle Oakes

    I’m beyond appalled by the general sentiment conveyed on this site. It never fails to surprise me the level of ignorance and racism that pervades American society, especially in regards to Natives. This is NOT OK when 1 out of every 10 Native Americans is dying of alcohol related
    deaths. This is an epidemic amongst my people and it’s utterly irresponsible, incomprehensible, and completely insensitive for anyone to use my culture and my people as a label for an
    establishment that serves soley to promote alcohol.

    • Tom Pryor

      Nobody cares.

    • Ammyth

      Seriously, nobody cares. Don’t go the bar, please. I’ll be there and I don’t want people like you around sucking all of the fun out of the place.

    • Tom Pryor

      There is literally no actual linkage between this bar, its name and First Nations alcohol consumption except in your own mind. If you can show me a stat that says 1 in 10 First Nations alcohol-related deaths were caused directly by the name of this bar, then you might have a point. Otherwise maybe it’s on your own people to take responsibility for their alcoholism and stop blaming other people who quite literally have nothing to do with it?

  • Tom Pryor

    Wait till some of you dingbats find out about the Mardi Gras Indians!

  • South Asian Man

    Utterly shocked and saddened by the comments in this blog. The point is names have meaning and point to history. In this country there is a long history of appropriation of Native names, resources and artifacts, and the genocide that went along with it. Why repeat that pattern of appropriation in the 21st century when you have the chance to break that pattern? To the south asian man in this blog, how would you feel if a non-south asian owner named the bar the Ganesha Tavern and put random pictures of Indian Gods outside? Why not? It’s cool. What if we called it the Aryan Tavern or the Pol Pot Tavern? Wouldn’t you care?

    Native people are saying don’t use Mohawk in the name of the tavern, so why can’t we respect that? It’s good enough an argument for me.

    • Jaguar

      Which Native person has said this about this tavern?

  • Jaguar

    I just found out they changed the name to Adirondack after some sort of outrage from the community. That’s funny, because Adirondack is a Mohawk word used as a pejorative against Algonquins. Wait until the Algonquins hear about this. They’re going to be pissed and I assume another name change will be in order. They should probably steer clear of Northeastern toponyms.

  • Guest

    Now that the country has been unjustly flexing its muscles, can I still put Russian Dressing on my Reuben sandwich??

  • djturnstile

    *Sigh* …am I the only one who has lost respect for these owners for
    not just sticking to their guns and keeping the name Mohawk tavern? I
    think they should have ignored the handful of angry commenters calling
    them racist appropriators and just listened to the masses of sensible
    people who pointed out that hundreds of things in New York are named
    after native tribes and land.

    This bar was not being disrespectful
    at all and not using any sort of gimicky “red man” shtick to make it
    more “indian” It was a perfectly fine name that had a good ring to it. I
    had already gotten used to telling friends to meet me at the Mohawk.

    I haven’t once felt the urge to say lets go to the …Adirondack?
    AdirondackS with an S? I dunno, i’m still going to call it the Mohawk.

  • Jaguar

    I hope you aren’t one of those racists who eats French fries and Belgian waffles.
    Anyway, this would have been a much more interesting debate had it been about team mascots (Redskins, Indians, Braves, etc.) and not about tavern named after a river/region named after a local indigenous tribe. I can’t wait until some of these hippies find out where names like Ohio, Mississippi, Connecticut, Massachusetts, etc. came from.

  • Tom Pryor

    …and is she a Mohawk or a Cherokee? She needs to make up her mind.

Site Meter Google+