This past week, we received an e-mail from Mohawk General Store’s Kevin Carney about a conversation he had had with the bartenders from Bar Covell. He and the four (very dapper) bartenders sat down and spoke about wine and fashion, all outfitted in Fall 2011 Gitman Bros. Vintage shirts and ties Mohawk carries in store. Kevin found Bar Covell and Gitman Bros. to be a perfect fit as the Covell guys’ uniform are shirts and ties. He jumped on the opportunity to sit down with them, outfitted in cool fall looks from Gitman. Take a peek at their conversation with Matthew Kaner–general manager and wine director, outfitted in the navy plaid–and the accompanying photos of them grabbing a drink and then tacos at Ricky’s Fish Tacos.
How did he become so passionate about wine?
It all started when I was young: I had an affinity for scent. The way things smell–food, rocks, clothing, the sea, dogs, cats, cars: literally everything I experienced as a kid, I wanted to know what it smelled like. ALSO, I have been obsessed with geography from a young age as well. I’ve always studied maps. So, fast forward to my college years, a roommate of mine has a father with a ridiculous collection of wine and he started letting me in on wine secrets (aged Riesling, aged Champagne, aged Burgundy, aged Dessert Wines, etc…things I am still working on being able to afford!) and I began to put my love for scent and geography together and apply it to the wine world. Wine is an expression of the earth, location, weather, and all those factors help focus what a wine IS. I began to understand this very shortly after taking my first job in wine at a wine store in Santa Barbara called the Wine Cask.
What do you like best about tending a bar?
Being a bartender is a lot like being a standup comedian. You’re expected to tell stories, deliver satisfaction. I’ve always toyed with the idea of doing comedy, so there’s a strong parallel for me. It’s like being on stage for me (which I also do with my music), and I love turning people onto new wines and beer that they wouldn’t have otherwise tried. The community, the connection–that’s what keeps me happy behind the bar. Seeing the smile wine and beer can bring to someone’s face immediately when they fall in love with it is very satisfying for me.
Why did you guys pick Los Feliz for the location?
Los Feliz is our community. It’s where I live. Dustin Lancaster (our owner/designer, in the blue/creme/pink plaid) has lived here for 10 years and I’ve been in LA just over 5 years now. I’ve been in Echo Park/Silver Lake/Los Feliz my entire time in LA: it’s where I feel comfortable, it’s where I sleep at night.
Bow tie or regular tie?
The bow-tie is a very strong statement. I rocked a bow-tie for the first 9 months we were open and I realized it gets a little difficult to move around and be talking for 12 straight hours in a tight bow-tie. I decided to substitute to the traditional tie full-time and, thankfully, I can breathe a lot better. Occasionally, I’ll re-rock the bow-tie behind the bar…or you might find me wearing one at a concert in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or New York City.
Mohawk General Store is located at 4011 Sunset Blvd in Silver Lake. Bar Covell is located at 4628 Hollywood Blvd in Los Feliz.
Photos by Lauren Wang.