I first discovered Mehanata on Yelp about two months ago while I was browsing for a suitable dance club to celebrate my 22nd birthday in. And although I dislike the bar scene, all it took to get me hooked were the plethora of reviewers raving about the gypsy music, live bands, apple cider vodka, swing chairs, and Soviet uniforms. So what if I’m a little quirky and find these sorts of things interesting? ;)
Because I made a free guest list reservation on their website for that night, my friends didn’t have to wait in line outside or pay the cover fee at the door. Most of us arrived around 10pm, and I was surprised that there were already so many people there when it was still so early! The place itself was actually larger than I was expecting from what it looks like outside. There are three floors: In the basement you’ll find a bar, the bathrooms, stripper poles, naked female statues, and the infamous Ice Cage. The main level houses another bar (with swings to sit on!), the dance floor, and a mini-stage for the live band and DJ to station themselves. The second floor is much quieter, and only offers seated service.
Immediately, we headed upstairs to wait for the rest of our party and ordered some food, drinks, and hookah. I ended up spending the rest of the night drinking their delicious house special drink, apple cider vodka. Not only was it tasty, but it was very strong. Prices for drinks were pretty fair, too, considering you’re in New York City. And as far as décor inside the venue goes, it’s tastefully kitsch with some contemporary details thrown here and there. Definitely more interesting and different from what I’m used to.
The only souls brave enough to go downstairs and take on the Ice Cage with me were my boyfriend and my friend Chris. After paying $20, you put on a Soviet uniform, arm yourself with a shot glass made of ice, step into a refrigerated room with bottles of vodka lining the walls, and attempt to take as many shots as you can in two minutes. Challenge accepted. I got in for free because I was the birthday girl, but it was unfortunate that the liquor melted a hole right through the bottom of my shot glass after the first shot. Thankfully, the bartender gave me another through a little window on the side, which lasted much longer. Billy kind of cheated and used a plastic shot glass that he found on one of the shelves, while Chris got yelled at for drinking straight from the bottles. :P
One of my favorite things about Mehanata, though, was their unique choice of music played throughout the night – an eclectic mix of Eastern European folk music and Bhangra. If you’re one of those people who go to a dance club expecting to hear Top 40’s radio hits and mingle with a pretentious, overdressed crowd – this place probably isn’t for you. Most of the people here were in their mid to late twenties, dressed comfortably (but not sloppy), and you could tell they were there to just have a good time. The energy on the dance floor was contagious, and despite it getting really crowded later on in the night, I don’t think it’s possible to have a bad time here.