A Gemini and (double) Scorpio walk into a bar…because they co-own the establishment and are letting me (a Libra, Leo Rising) inside. Indeed: said Gemini and (double) Scorpio—Bowen Goh and Vanessa Li—are the brilliant minds behind Mood Ring, Bushwick’s brand new astrology-themed cocktail bar. Luckily, we got a sneak peek of the space before its grand opening on Friday, Sept. 29.
INSIDE MOOD RING
I enter the space in awe; star(sign) struck by a place I’ve never been before. It’s “The Jetsons” meets Berlin-esque DIY, as if the first bar on Mars was just off the L. The space is gargantuan: the front room houses the eclectic bar, where forest-green vintage bar stools and purple velvet booths provide hip, luxurious seating.
The back room is simpler, less groovy and more sleek, but don’t be alarmed, there’s nothing boring about it. The bright-red walls frame the space with a magnificent tarot-card mural, and around the corner is not only a photo booth (!!!) but a video game as well (!!!!!). And not just any video game, but a full-blown vintage video game console running “Yo Fight My Mans:” the Brooklyn-themed video-art exhibit spearheaded by Dapwell of Das Racist, on which a level is played upon the F train.
HOW THEY STARTED
Bowen and Vanessa conceptualized Mood Ring on a visit to Berlin in January. (Which, FYI, means it was conceived in January and will be born September 29: making Mood Ring a LIBRA.) Inspired by the German City’s progressive DIY-culture and abundance of “unique, special spaces” founded by fellow creatives, they felt it time to take that vibe and bring it back home to Bushwick — and they did it with a little help from their friends.
“A lot of local artists got involved: a lot of our friends are designer and artists, [it was] very collaborative.” For example, Bowen and Vanessa sought inspiration from and worked alongside Rebecca and Adam of local bar Rebecca’s to design and create the space. “All of the [contributing] artists live around here, in Bushwick and Bed-Stuy…. I don’t think we could’ve done what we’ve done here anywhere but in Bushwick.”
As for how they pulled it off with no experience running a bar? “The best way to learn how to do something is by just doing it,” Vanessa casually replies, like the fearless double Scorpio she is.
WHERE DOES ASTROLOGY FIT IN?
Mood Ring was inspired by Hong Kong film “In the Mood For Love,” which Vanessa describes as “sultry, aesthetically beautiful, and dark.”
“So like a Scorpio in a movie?” I ask. She laughs. (Is that a yes?)
“We’ve both always been really into astrology, but it’s not fully astrology themed,” she continues. “It’s more…different moods, different personalities, energies.”
That’s when I realized: Mood Ring isn’t an “astrology bar” at all—it is so much more than that.
Yes, they serve specialty cocktails based off the sun-sign-season, (right now it’s the Libra, and yes, I approve) and yes, the “Mercury In Retrograde” ($11) is a Mood Ring menu staple. But Mood Ring is more than a mere zodiac tribute: it aims to cultivate energy, encourage emotion, to manipulate moods and shamelessly relish them. Mood Ring, like astrology, aspires to enlighten, and wants to make sure you’re having fun while you’re at it.
Mood Ring brilliantly blends the ultra-modern with ancient tradition, paying homage to Bowen and Vanessa’s Chinese heritage while honoring the new-ness of the Bushwick community that helped make their dream a reality. As a result, the space feels timeless: it’s retro yet traditional, high-brow meets low, and clearly a match made in heaven—you know, like a Pisces and Cancer.
I notice a sign above the bar: it reads “Happy Together.” “That’s kind of our motto,” Vanessa says, smiling. I smile too; she’s not wrong. Mood Ring is definitely the bar to be happy at, together—at least I was, and likely always will be.
Anyway, I recommend the “Libra Special.”
Make sure to stop by the Mood Ring launch party tonight: 7 p.m. at 1260 Myrtle Av.e! Click here for more info & to RSVP.