Crafting Connections: A Journey in Beverage Entrepreneurship 

Welcome to Mayawell, one of Birmingham’s top cocktail bars. Mayawell stands out for its extensive array of agave spirits, featuring one of the largest selections in Birmingham, notably within Pepper Place District. Today we’re taking you on a journey behind the scenes of this establishment, where personal dreams transformed into a thriving business that’s more than just about drinks – it’s about community and connection.  

It all began with a simple desire for change. Tired of the monotony of corporate life, Neill Crook, founder of Mayawell, embarked on a quest for something more fulfilling. When Neill traveled to Mexico City for the first time many years ago, he fell in love with everything he experienced there: the food, the people, the culture, and especially the drinks. Inspired, he developed the concept of Mayawell from a desire to bring a little piece of the magic he experienced in Mexico back to the Magic City. 

Since then, Neill has visited Mexico over a dozen times and traveled extensively throughout the country. He discovered tequila and became enamored with it – how wonderfully complex the spirit is, its nuances, and how to properly enjoy it. The romance deepened when he later traveled to Oaxaca and experienced traditional mezcal. From that moment onward, Neill was hooked on sharing the experience of agave-based spirits with anyone he knew. 

What about the name?  

Mayawell is a playful twist on the phonetic spelling of the ancient Aztec goddess of the agave plant, Mayahuel. In folklore, she is depicted as the mother of the Centzon Totochtin or 400 Rabbits. These divine rabbits promote mayhem, drunkenness, and the spirit of enjoyment wherever they go. As tequila and mezcal are made from the agave plant, we hope a homage to Mayahuel brings with it the goddesses’ motherly blessings and an atmosphere of the Centzon Totochtin’s revelry.  

What sets Mayawell apart in Birmingham’s beverage scene?  

“We offer an extremely welcoming atmosphere with a laid-back vibe. We want it to feel like you are walking into a familiar place. We have a great and diverse client base with all ages and backgrounds,” said Neill Crook. The ambiance is a fusion of Mexico City’s vibrant energy and the charm of Austin, Texas. It’s a place where strangers become friends and every visit feels like coming home.  

At the heart of Mayawell’s success lies their dedication to crafting exceptional cocktails, each infused with a touch of creativity and a dash of passion. “By far our most popular cocktails are our margaritas! We usually have at least five different ones on our menu at a given time. The most popular is the spicy margarita! We make our own blend of peppers to create a wonderful spicy, yet sweet syrup that makes for a delightful treat! But it’s not just about the drinks – it’s about the stories shared over them,” said Crook. 

Neill continues, “It’s the connections forged with our patrons that truly define the Mayawell journey. From Birthday celebrations to engagements, every milestone becomes a shared experience. We’re more than just bartenders – we’re confidants, supporters and friends.  

Mayawell has partnered with many great organizations in the past and present such as the Magic City Acceptance Center, Birmingham Civil Rights Museum, and YWCA to name a few. “We think it’s important to continue to give back to our community as we play a central role as well.  

What’s one thing you wish more people knew about your business or the food and drink industry in general?  

“You know, the food and beverage industry is a real hustle! Behind every delicious drink and dish, there’s a lot of heart and hard work. Our team pours their soul into crafting the perfect experience for you, often sacrificing long hours and weekends to make it happen. But hey, we wouldn’t have it any other way!” 

He continues, “It’s important to remember that behind the bar and serving your table are real people with real stories. So, next time you’re out enjoying a night in town, don’t forget to sprinkle a little extra kindness and appreciation their way. After all, a little grace and a lot of fun make all the difference in creating memorable moments together!” 

Why did you decide to stay in Birmingham? 

“I decided to renew at my current location because I believe so strongly in this area. We are privileged to have some of the best restaurants in the city as neighbors such as Automatic Seafood, Bettola, Hot & Hot Fish Club, and Blueprint on 3rd. Furthermore, Pepper Place is such an iconic area of the city, and the neighborhood is continuing to grow. There is so much positive momentum here and it feels great to be a small part of it! 

As we raise a glass to five years of Mayawell this December, we’re reminded of the importance of community. From partnering with local organizations to supporting neighborhood initiatives, we believe in giving back to the communities that have embraced us.  

We’re excited to continue our journey with you. From new seasonal cocktails to exciting events, there’s always something happening at Mayawell. Here’s to five years of memories, and many more to come!”, said Crook.