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New York Times / Life - Entertain

An Astrology-Themed Brooklyn Bar Filled With Art

Tucked under the elevated subway, Mood Ring draws a diverse 20-something clientele who can play an artwork that looks like a vintage arcade game.


A Friday night on the dance floor at Mood Ring in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. Danny Ghitis for The New York Times

If you’re walking along Myrtle Avenue and discover a glowing window sign that reads, “Mood Ring,” you may think you’ve stumbled upon yet another retro 1970s-themed bar. But the influences on this new bar in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn are as varied and diverse as the crowd it attracts.

“We kind of took the word ‘mood’ from Wong Kar-wai’s ‘In the Mood for Love’ and played around with it and came up with Mood Ring,” said Vanessa Li, 25, who opened the bar with her longtime best friend, Bowen Goh, 27. The space also serves as a showcase for local artists. “Everything from the bar top, to the paintings you see, to the wallpaper, to the mural in the back room — they’re all local Bushwick artists who are all friends of ours or friends of friends,” Ms. Li said.

A round of shots at Mood Ring. Danny Ghitis for The New York Times

The Place Under the silent shadows of the Myrtle Avenue elevated train (closed for renovations until April 2018), the bar stands out with its bright cobalt-painted exterior. Inside, a triangular bar is surrounded by a series of circular banquettes. Down a dark corridor, there are two gender-neutral bathrooms and what looks like a vintage arcade game but is actually an artwork guests can play. The back room serves as a modest dance floor on weekends.

The Crowd Under 30 may be the only unifier here. On a packed Saturday night, the mix of hairstyles bobbing above the varied crowd told the story: precise cornrows, bleached pixies, towers of dreadlocks, sharp undercuts, voluminous Afros and thick-braided ponytails on both men and women. The owners’ intent was to create a queer space that was open to all.

The Playlist Up front, a mix of mellow slow-groove R&B kept patrons at the bar swaying. In the back, a laptop D.J. worked the room into a sweat with contemporary dance beats and some ’80s classics.

Getting In On weekends after midnight, the line can go halfway down the block. There is no restrictive door policy, but the bouncer may do a double take if you’re over 35.

Drinks The owners are interested in astrology: There’s a new cocktail each month for every zodiac sign. For Capricorn, it’s Power Play ($12), Mood Ring’s spin on a michelada with Tsingtao beer, vodka, tomato, sriracha and a chili lime salt rim. And for those who don’t heed the stars, there’s a small down-to-earth selection of beer ($6) and wine ($8).

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