The Weeknighter: Mojo Bicycle Cafe


Weekends are for amateurs. Weeknights are for pros. That's why each week Stuart Schuffman will be exploring a different San Francisco bar, giving you the lowdown on how and where to do your weeknight right. From the most creative cocktails to the best happy hours, Stuart's taking you along on his weeknight adventures into the heart of the City's nightlife. So, who wants a drink?

We sat there last night, scrunched into a couple of tables, alternating between staring at the TV screen and sniffing the air. On the tube was the 2012 Election coverage, and wafting through Mojo Bicycle Café was the scent of delicious meat being grilled up by JJ’s Burgers, the café’s weekly Tuesday pop-up. I was with Lauryn, Andrew, Kristin, Dan, and others. Andrew was doing some blogging for SFist, while the others managed to be confident about the outcome of the election. I was nervous and fidgeting more than normal, as it was towards the beginning of the night, and Romney was a good deal ahead of Obama.

While Mojo is ostensibly just a café and bicycle shop, over the past few years it has come to represent more than just caffeine and tires. As evidenced by last night, it’s a community space as well. Our original plan was to meet at Mojo for burgers and then go across the street to where the Independent was hosting its big election night viewing party. But as the night wore on, and the immense Independent line grew, we realized that we were actually already in the place we wanted to be. Three-dollar bottles of Red Stripe clanked together while wooo’s and high-fives were exchanged as–little by little–we watched our man ascend to victory. It didn’t matter that most of us felt that Obama wasn’t nearly as liberal as we would’ve liked. What mattered was that he was a better choice than Romney, and that we, the people at Mojo, the people of San Francisco, the people who lean towards the Donkey and the color blue, were there together watching history unfold, and the good-ish guys were winning.

As I fidgeted, stood, sat, paced and watched the screen, other people from the neighborhood trickled into Mojo knowing they’d find friendly faces and a sense of community. I ran into the boys from San Franpsycho while waiting for the bathroom, and most of the members of Social Studies came in at some point too.

The night wore on, and things went more and more our way, so I unglued from the TV and allowed myself to hang out on the parklet outside. The weather in San Francisco seemed to finally be turning towards the cold. I wanted to absorb as much of the warm night air as I could before the fog came back and winter settled in. Passersby would smile at those of us floating outside the café and then peek in to see what the current tally was and who they might know inside. The line for the Independent was still around the block when Obama was announced as the winner, and hugs and high-fives and phone calls ricocheted up and down through the crowds on Divisadero. Given the mayhem that had happened when the Giants won a few weeks back, I was nervous that things might get out of hand. But after Romney conceded and the president gave his rousing victory speech, the people of Mojo Bicycle Café went back to drinking their Red Stripes and eating their delicious burgers, and doing so with giant fucking smiles on their faces. 

Stuart Schuffman has been called "an Underground legend" by the SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero" by the SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap" by Time Out New York. Follow him @BrokeAssStuart.

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