Popular downtown Austin club stages comeback after year-long closure

Popular downtown Austin club stages comeback after year-long closure

The Mohawk venue outside sign Red River
The Mohawk will soon be back up and running, with new offerings, safety initiatives, and employee perks. Mohawk Austin/Facebook

One of Austin’s cherished live music venues — not so long ago on the brink of permanent closure thanks to the coronavirus pandemic — is changing its tune, reopening this summer after more than a year.

The Mohawk, the live music venue and bar that’s been a hit with Austin music lovers since its opening in the Red River Cultural District 15 years ago, will reopen in May for select shows, private events, and rentals, and unbar the doors for daytime events and limited-capacity outdoor shows in June.

While the club’s reopening is likely to be music to Austinites’ ears, they shouldn’t expect an immediate return to crowd surfing and mosh pits. We are, after all, still battling a deadly virus that passes effortlessly through close human interaction.

Instead, The Mohawk plans to open in a manner consistent with the CDC’s safety recommendations, as well as guidelines outlined in the Red River Cultural District’s newly established Safe in Sound initiative, a comprehensive COVID-19 safety pledge that has gained support from dozens of Austin’s most notable entertainment establishments and eateries.

Per those guidelines, The Mohawk will provide accommodations for guests to remain physically distanced, is requiring all staff and patrons to wear masks, will make hand sanitizer and other disinfectants available to all, has conducted additional safety training for employees, is requiring any sick employees or those exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms to stay home, and is committed to sanitizing the space and high-touch areas daily.

In addition to bringing back an array of music genres in the form of live shows, The Mohawk used its pandemic downtime to make some upgrades, and will now be available to rent for rehearsals, recordings, private events, celebrations, meetings, classes, photography, and content development needs, with the club also noting its updated website will allow for easier access to the venue for expanded daytime usage.

Additionally, The Mohawk is singing the praises of its long-suffering employees, with management saying it will initiate new programs for staff, including raising wage minimums, adding salaried positions and access to healthcare, and establishing a formal HR program that includes paths to advancement and opportunities for mentorship.

“Overall,” a release from the venue states, “we believe it is time to advance the culture of our industry as it relates to staff and working to create more careers than jobs over time.”

While Austin music fans are hankering to get back to supporting the $6.5 billion Texas music industry by attending live shows in a safe way, one pre-pandemic courtesy remains: Don’t forget to tip your server and the band!