A former rocker himself, Mark DeVito likes Muppets, which is probably why he intended to name his bar at 19th and Mission streets Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem. But just to be safe on the copyright side of things, the 31-year-old New Hampshire native settled for Mayhem instead. Just over four months old, Mayhem fits into the quirky neighborhood that is the Mission, but differs just enough to be considered unique. DeVito, a 10-year veteran of the service industry, envisioned a “weird and crazy” place where people could feel comfortable.
Glittery mannequins with light fixtures for heads are certainly a weird touch, as are the random dental tools above the bar. But with multiple TVs, various drinks and a bartender who knows what he’s doing, Mayhem has something for everybody, including a kitchen that is open until 1:30 a.m. every day. And ask for Tater Tots. “We do Tater Tots like no one’s business.” 2323 Mission St., (415) 285-2380
How have you guys adapted to being the new spot in the Mission? It’s been going well. Because of the location, we’ve had a pretty good response. There’s a lot of interest. People are always like, “What’s the new spot in the Mission?” People wanted to check it out and see what the deal was with this place.
Have you worked in any other industries? I used to work labor jobs. I was in construction and I did moving for a long time, which was brutal. I also did some work on a farm. And the owner of the farm happened to own a bar, too. He asked me if I wanted to work the bar. I was like, “Yeah.” It was in the middle of nowhere in New York state. They put me behind the bar and the girl who was supposed to train me was like, “I have a family emergency, my baby-sitter didn’t show up — I’m outta here. Put the money in here at the end of the night. See ya.” I was like, “OK.” I had never made a cocktail in my life. But it was like a town bar, so it was beers and shots, maybe whiskey and Coke. It was great. I had a blast. I was like, “I get paid to do this?”
What sparked the move out West? I was playing in a band, and the whole band decided to move out to California. We had a change in members and we were like, “F— it, let’s get out of Boston and let’s go to San Francisco.” The band dissolved, and I decided to start doing things for myself instead of doing things for other people.
Do you have a specialty cocktail? We have a cocktail called The Mayhem. The foundation of it I came up with at the last bar I worked at. The TV show “Drinking Made Easy” came in, and the guy wanted me to make a cocktail using Fernet. It was the local thing. So I put whiskey and Fernet together. I thought, “What else do I have on this shelf that is never going to sell?” Calvados, which is a brandy. So I put that in to sweeten it up. I tweaked it and tweaked it and came down here and really tweaked it. And it’s great. People read it and they think I’m crazy, but it tastes so good.
Does this establishment have a theme? It’s supposed to be a neighborhood bar. I don’t give a s— what walk of life somebody is, if they want to come enjoy themselves, then they can come and feel comfortable here. … If you want to come watch the game, eat a burger, or have a well-made cocktail that’s not going to take half an hour to get and it’s not going to break the bank, you can come here.
- 3 oz. rye whiskey
- ¼ oz. Calvados
- ¹/8 oz. Fernet
- 4 dashes of orange bitters
- 3 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
- ¹/8 oz. simple syrup (optional)
Pour the rye, Calvados, Fernet and Peychaud’s bitters into a glass and transfer to a mixing tin. Pour the drink into a martini glass and top with orange bitters.