The Amazing St. Mazie, a Johnny Moto Joint


Photos> Clément Pascal


If you haven’t been to John McCormick’s Moto—basically a Jeunet-Caro ski lodge on a distant snow planet populated by sleepless, animatronic Berliners, conveniently nestled under the JMZ—well, you should go. The beautifully appointed Williamsburg cafe-bar is ancient by neighborhood standards—a decade!—and McCormick’s (aka Johnny Moto) attention to design detail is oft—and we mean oft—imitated in the borough, though few spots measure up. Except maybe St. Mazie, Moto’s latest offering to the people of Brooklyn (in collaboration with Jessica Wertz and Mike Lucena). Filled with beautiful, salvaged wood from a 150-year-old all-girls Catholic School in West Virginia(!), stained just so, along with the rain-washed remnants of a hundred abandoned Marseillaise cafes, St. Mazie’s is big on atmosphere: on any given night you’ll find live flamenco, New Orleans street jazz, tub-thumping banjo… Perhaps our favorite detail, though, is the source of the name, Joseph Mitchell’s eponymous tale of the kindhearted Bowery movie-house proprietor, Mazie Phillips. As Moto tells us: “After reading this story again and again, I decided that she was, indeed, a saint.”

345 Grand Street, Williamsburg

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