It is our opinion that every neighborhood needs a good cocktail bar, and in Garfield the music inspired Mixtape has filled the need for thirsty residents quite nicely. But you better like music references!
A Music Bar with a Ton of Novelty
I'll go right out and say it: if you don't like over abundant music references and pop culture cliches, odds are good the theme at Mixtape is not for you.
From the moment we walked in until the second we left, Mixtape was putting its music theme on proud display all the way from the drink menu, table placards, to the 90s music that happened to fill the venue on our Friday night visit. (Although making a joke about the song from 1999 to our clearly 21-year-old bartender dated us terribly as quite possibly the oldest people in the bar. Whoops.) The only thing that wasn't music inspired was the collection of for-sale art on one wall, which during our visit was mountain themed. An unusual counterpoint, but one that oddly works.
So, let's get past the music facade for a moment and move on to what is really important- the drinks!
During our visit we tried four unique cocktails with music themed names like Becky with the Good Pear, Manhattan Flame, Hot and Dangerous, and the Napoleon Dynamite. Yes, we weren't kidding when we said there are music and pop culture references everywhere.
The bartenders have a penchant for flair here, with drinks like the Manhattan Flame (their take on a Manhattan) and Hot and Dangerous (a kicked up Moscow Mule) featuring a component where an ingredient or the entire drink is set ablaze, the Becky with the Good Pear (a pear martini) is topped with espresso foam, and the Napoleon Dynamite is made with cold brew coffee as a star mixer. So while you may want to quickly plop down into one of the bean bag chairs or other unique seating to relax while your drink is being made, you really should stay at the bar to enjoy the show.
We found the best cocktails to be the ones that are over the top in their uniqueness (we could drink the Hot and Dangerous and Becky with the Good Pear all night), while the cold brew coffee cocktail was just a bit too overpowering on the coffee flavor to our liking. Overall, we highly recommend going for the most unusual sounding cocktail on the menu, because odds are good it'll be worth the risk!
Go for Happy Hour at Mixtape
One of the highlights of Mixtape to us, naturally, is the happy hour which occurs Tuesday to Friday from 7pm to 9pm (note: we've read that happy hour may now end at 8pm on Fridays but have not confirmed).
We like this happy hour for two reasons. First, the hours are much more convenient to those who are not residents of the neighborhood who want to make the trip out for a weeknight cocktail. Second, while the happy hour special is only $2 off the craft cocktails, the fact that Mixtape prohibits tipping (employees are paid a living wage) and also has lower cocktail prices when compared to other city bars. So that $2 discount goes a long way by default.
Overall, Mixtape is a great addition to the growing arts scene in Garfield, and is a welcomed cocktail bar in a neighborhood that, for a very long time, was often overlooked. So if you're looking to head out and try something new, head over to Garfield and check it out!
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Mixtape is located at 4907 Penn Avenue in Garfield.