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Tiki Central Forums » » Locating Tiki » » Painkiller, New York, NY (bar)
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Painkiller, New York, NY (bar)
JerseyRED
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 15, 2004
Posts: 54
From: North Jersey!
Posted: 2010-02-25 09:14 am   Permalink

Name:Painkiller
Type:bar
Street:49 Essex Street (Lower East Side)
City:New York
State:NY
Zip:
country:USA
Phone:
Status:Soon to be operational (mid-late March / beginning April)

Description:
From the NY Times article:
http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/19/an-island-cocktail-lounge-manhattan-island/
"Richard Boccato, the veteran bartender and bar owner who will run Painkiller with his Dutch Kills colleague Giuseppe Gonzalez, said he hoped to kick off a new era in tiki culture with the bar.

“We’re not trying to do a classic tiki bar,” Mr. Boccato said. “We’re not going to build our father’s or grandfather’s tiki bar. We want to foster the inception of a New York tiki culture. We’re not taking you off the island of Manhattan onto the island of Oahu. We’re staying right here.”
...
Mr. Boccato expects Painkiller to be open “between the Ides of March and April Fool’s Day.”





[ This Message was edited by: JerseyRED 2010-02-25 09:21 ]


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Mr. Ho
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 09, 2005
Posts: 428
From: Boston, MA
Posted: 2010-05-08 10:06 am   Permalink

Photos from last night's opening!


Stock - good stock I might add!


Giuseppe - one of the owners fully dedicated to craft tiki cocktails. Had his secret blackbook (er...blackberry rather) but most things from memory. Great guy, great service.




Dead bastard (From the bastards - suffering, dying and dead!) - garnish is large enough to make a side salad out of:


Lighting in background (blue) changes color every few seconds.


House mai tai (homemade orgeat and homemade orange curacao with bonus 151 Lemonheart float!:



Very way back backroom - didn't get to see it yet. there are booths in the room just at the end of the photos - about 10 or so.

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donhonyc
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 13, 2003
Posts: 1173
From: The Quiet EAST Village
Posted: 2010-05-09 07:39 am   Permalink

Mr. Ho...how were the drinks?

 
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Martiki-bird
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 23, 2007
Posts: 135
From: Blue Lory Lounge, NJ
Posted: 2010-05-09 09:08 am   Permalink

Oh. My. (tiki) Goodness. A NYC tiki bar worth it's weight in gold has arrived!

There are many gifted NYC bartenders with strong interest in tiki cocktails. We often travel from bar to bar, seeking out these tiki-focused individuals to satisfy our craving for mai tais, zombies, and bowl drinks. We could stop by Dylan Prime for a Jet Pilot; PDT for off-menu drinks such as the Beachbum; Death & Co for their unique take on classic tiki cocktails.

The trick had been to know when and where to find these tiki bartenders.

Now there's a place where all the focus is tiki. Painkiller.

The decor is a wonderfully-interpreted blend of NYC street style and Polypop decor. The handmade bamboo bar seats about 14 with ample room for standees. Split bambooo paneling at chair rail height line the walls in classic tiki style. In the back room there are comfortable booths which seat about 4-6 and small booths for 2. Gaffiti art stating, "mahalo" and "Ohana" grace the walls where panoramas of island life would normally be featured. LED cove lighting throughout the space adds a dynamic element.

The cocktails are superbly crafted with excellent ingredients, but that's no surprise coming from folks who have worked at places like Milk and Honey and Dutch Kills. Our bartenders were owners Guiseppe and Richie on Friday, and Richie and Amanda on Saturday. We could not have been in better hands.

Painkiller's menu is unique in that most drinks mentioned by category. The Mai Tai and Painkiller are individually listed (and were fantastic, but there are generic listings for 'frozens' (aka flash-blended), 'zombies', 'swizzles', 'daiquiris', 'the bastards' (suffering, dead, dying). When you order a 'swizzle' for example, your bartender will suggest one based on your preferences. We tried the Bermuda Swizzle, which was spot-on.

There are 'tiki flights' (Friday's flight was fresh fruit daiquiris, served up), a 'cradle of life" (flaming bowl drinks) and something called 'Painkiller's Choice', where the customer specifies their spirit of choice, and the bartender creates a cocktail of their choice using that spirit. Choosing 'demerara rum' resulted in a delightful frozen drink called a 'Kapu Kai'.

This is a must-visit place for both tikiphiles and cocktail aficionados alike. Painkiller is open from 5p-4a seven days a week.

See you there!

~Gina (and Jack)



[ This Message was edited by: Martiki-bird 2010-05-09 09:12 ]


 
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GatorRob
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1770
From: 3 hrs 33 mins to paradise
Posted: 2010-05-09 3:55 pm   Permalink

Great review, Martiki-bird. And glad to hear someone has managed to open a place in NYC that pleases the Tikiphile and the cocktail geeks alike, as well as those who find themselves at the intersection of that Venn diagram (myself included). That's a difficult task. The decor is definitely unique to NYC. Somehow I could see Joey Ramone (R.I.P.) drinking a Zombie there. The decor stretches my idea of "Tiki Bar", but if the drinks are as good as they sound, I'm adding it to my "must visit" list.

 
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donhonyc
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 13, 2003
Posts: 1173
From: The Quiet EAST Village
Posted: 2010-05-13 8:40 pm   Permalink

The long and the short of it? This place will do well.

Now here are the details according to me, your humble fellow tikiphile:

Drinks: I had a Mai Tai and a Zombie. While the flavor of the drinks was superior, I did have a problem with preparation. The Mai Tai had waaay, waaay too much ice in it. I'm not kidding. Almost more ice than drink. When I pushed my straw into the glass the ice overflowed onto the bar. It was served to me in a clear Disney/Polynesian Village style (without the logo) goblet, that was, sorry to say, chipped on the edge. Plus this style of tiki mug..if you want to call it that, is not my favorite style. But that's just me. The Zombie was served in a Fumanchu mug. After I ordered the Mai Tai I went to the restroom to wash my hands so I didn't actually see how it was done, but one thing I noticed with the Zombie was that the bartender, as cool and friendly a guy as he was, put all of the ingredients into the mug, and then just threw ice on top of it. He didn't even put it into a cocktail shaker and mix it up!! Now, since I am not a bartender, I am totally willing to give this the benefit of the doubt, but to put all of your drink ingredients together and NOT shake them? Maybe that works for a Martini, but what's up with that? I mean maybe it was just this particular bartender, but I know the place is brand spanking new and the employees are just getting used to it. Here's the good news though; both drinks tasted better than any other Tiki drinks I have tasted in this area, and the Mai Tai tasted very similar to the ones served at Mai Kai. So as far as that goes, this place has the very slight potential to rival Tiki Ti out there in L.A. as an east coast counterpart. Sorry but again...the bad news. The Mai Tai was $12, and the Zombie was $16!!!! But now the good news again: both drinks, while delicious, were so freaking potent I couldn't order another. Ya know...I have sh*t to do tomorrow!!!

Decor: Very well done. IMHO, they need to find a way to keep the ambience, but not keep it so dark. It hides all of the cool stuff they have in there. Put some low lighting on the artwork and show the world what you invested in to make the interior so interesting in the first place! One other observation: the construction of the bar was just a little awkward. The bar itself was just a little too high. That I could live with. What I couldn't live with was the bar stools that were bolted into the floor. If you sat upright..comfortably, the edge of the bar was wedging into your chest. The bolted stools were too far under the bar. My suggestion? While the stools as they are were nice and cushy, I would just scrap the bolted-in situation altogether and get free-standing stools that can be moved around.

Service and location: Like I said the bartender was a pretty friendly guy if not a little pre-occupied with what it was he was supposed to be doing. In between mixing and talking to the customers there was chat between himself and another bartender and the mangers about how stuff was priced and how they were being mixed, but I think that's just a function of a new place. People are just getting their bearings. No big deal.

The bar itself is located on Essex and Grand near Chinatown. It's not right in the cluster(f*ck) of the now trendy lower east side but sort of on the outskirts which is pretty cool. I'd rather see it there than see it smack dab in the middle of Ludlow St.

Some of my comments might appear nit-picky, but believe me, I want any new Tiki bar that lands in New York to work. I'm not just criticizing for the sake of criticism. There has been a serious lack of Tiki here for way too long. So the more cool tiki there actually is here in New York, the better a place it will be. Overall Painkiller beats out, with no problem, Otto's Shrunken Head at least in terms of drink quality, and it does seem to have very good potential. They just need to work out the kinks.


\

[ This Message was edited by: donhonyc 2010-05-13 20:57 ]


 
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KikiTiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 10, 2006
Posts: 276
From: New York City
Posted: 2010-05-27 8:05 pm   Permalink

After 4 visits and much drink sampling, I can say that I am thrilled that Painkiller has opened in Gotham City!
Fresh ingredients, house-made orgeat and curacao, great presentation, fun atmosphere and super fab drinks from the Queens Park Swizzle, to the Missionary's Downfall, to the regular or Kon Tiki Mai Tai, the Rumble, the Daquiri's, the Scorpion Bowls, to the namesake Painkkiller, they are all delicious and well-made.

But they say a picture tells a thousand words so here are a few of the libations, the interior and some of NYC's pretty tiki female ohana. We'll be gathering there again next Wed. 6/2 at 6pm if you want to join us, male or female!














Last, here is one of the owners demonstrating the Painkiller Mai Tai
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfzkCh3rqJs





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swizzle
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 03, 2007
Posts: 770
From: Melbourne,Australia
Posted: 2010-05-28 02:52 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-05-13 20:40, donhonyc wrote:
Sorry but again...the bad news. The Mai Tai was $12, and the Zombie was $16!!!! But now the good news again: both drinks, while delicious, were so freaking potent I couldn't order another. Ya know...I have sh*t to do tomorrow
[ This Message was edited by: donhonyc 2010-05-13 20:57 ]



Just wanted to give my perspective on this comment. Here in Australia the average price we pay for a cocktail, good or bad, is roughly $18. Depending on the bar it can be as low as $15 and as much as $24+. Those prices are in Australian dollars, and taking into account the cost of living and the average workers minimum wage here and in the U.S., those prices to me are what I/we are used to. Depending on the conversion rates, even now when our dollars value has dropped against the greenback compared to what it was about three weeks ago, if I came over there now that Mai Tai would still be cheaper to me than what I would buy one for here. And you guys would definitely have a larger range of rums to choose from. If I order a Mai Tai with something off the top shelf, or other than what they would usually make it with, that drink could cost me as much as $30+Aus.
My point is, and i'm not having a go at anyone here, I find it quite amusing that you guys seem to have an issue with the cost of some drinks which to me seem like a bargain. If only drinks cost me that much.

By the way, who's the redhead with the sunglasses?
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donhonyc
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 13, 2003
Posts: 1173
From: The Quiet EAST Village
Posted: 2010-05-30 2:31 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-05-28 02:52, swizzle wrote:
Quote:

On 2010-05-13 20:40, donhonyc wrote:
Sorry but again...the bad news. The Mai Tai was $12, and the Zombie was $16!!!! But now the good news again: both drinks, while delicious, were so freaking potent I couldn't order another. Ya know...I have sh*t to do tomorrow
[ This Message was edited by: donhonyc 2010-05-13 20:57 ]



Just wanted to give my perspective on this comment. Here in Australia the average price we pay for a cocktail, good or bad, is roughly $18. Depending on the bar it can be as low as $15 and as much as $24+. Those prices are in Australian dollars, and taking into account the cost of living and the average workers minimum wage here and in the U.S., those prices to me are what I/we are used to. Depending on the conversion rates, even now when our dollars value has dropped against the greenback compared to what it was about three weeks ago, if I came over there now that Mai Tai would still be cheaper to me than what I would buy one for here. And you guys would definitely have a larger range of rums to choose from. If I order a Mai Tai with something off the top shelf, or other
than what they would usually make it with, that drink could cost me as much as $30+Aus.
My point is, and i'm not having a go at anyone here, I find it quite amusing that you guys seem to have an issue with the cost of some drinks which to me seem like a bargain. If only drinks cost me that much.



Nothing personla, but try dealing with the cost of living in Manhattan these days and you'll know what I'm talking about.

Unless I'm at either the Mai Kai, Trader Vic's, or in the case of Martinis, the Algonquin or The Oak Room, anything over $10 is too much to charge for a cocktail, especially on the Lower East Side. Not saying I'll never go to Painkiller again. I will..definitely. But $16 for a cocktail at a new bar. Too much, but that's just my opinion.




[ This Message was edited by: donhonyc 2010-05-31 11:08 ]


 
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thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2986
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2010-06-01 4:44 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-05-27 20:05, KikiTiki wrote:

But they say a picture tells a thousand words so here are a few of the libations, the interior and some of NYC's pretty tiki female ohana.



Looking great! Oh yeah, the bar & drinks look fine too.

Hi Lady Dawn!


 
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SilverLine
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 02, 2004
Posts: 625
From: Kansas City
Posted: 2010-06-17 07:01 am   Permalink

I'll be heading up to NYC in a few weeks and am looking forward to dropping in here. Looks to be the best "tiki" bar in NY, extant. Any suggestions?


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Zeta
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: Feb 13, 2007
Posts: 2049
From: Atlantis/Basque Country/Spain/Mexico
Posted: 2010-06-17 07:25 am   Permalink

Suggestion: spend more money on decoration. Good luck!

 
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leisure master
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2007
Posts: 435
From: The exotic village, NYC
Posted: 2010-06-17 09:09 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-06-17 07:01, SilverLine wrote:
I'll be heading up to NYC in a few weeks and am looking forward to dropping in here. Looks to be the best "tiki" bar in NY, extant. Any suggestions?


For tiki drinks, yes you should hit Painkiller. Also hit Flatiron Lounge and ask for Joe (he used to be the bartender at Elettaria and knows his way around a tiki drink). Many folks also enjoy the Rusty Knot and Otto's Shrunken Head, but for these places your milage may vary depending on how particular you are about your tiki drinks or if you're happy to be in a fun place. There's also Dram over in Brooklyn. They are not specifically tiki by decoration or intent, but I know at least one bartender there who is serious about his tiki drinks.


Depending on when you are coming, we are also expecting a new "tropical" bar to be opening late July or early August. They are not calling themselves a tiki bar, but it will not be a Margaritaville either - they are looking to make the place look like a laid-back Hawaiian lounge with tropical plants and Hawaiian food. The cocktails will likely be mostly original but I have a feeling the bartenders will know what to do with orgeat and falernum.

Of course all of the above is just tiki - if you want a list of excellent cocktail lounges there are many many many I can recommend.

Let us know when you'll be in town and if want some company - we'll see if we can gather the Ohana some night.
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TikiHardBop
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 21, 2009
Posts: 399
From: Rockledge, FL
Posted: 2010-06-17 09:55 am   Permalink

Along the same lines, I'll be in NYC July 16 - 18 and am also looking for ideas. Already have Painkiller and Flatiron on the agenda. Still have a list of high-end cocktail places to hit that I didn't have time to hit during a spring trip (Pegu, Death & Co., Rye House, etc.), but any other suggestions would be appreciated.

 
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carlosrossi
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 02, 2010
Posts: 129
From: los angeles, california
Posted: 2010-06-17 11:28 am   Permalink

Is it just me, or do they put ALOT of ice in their drinks? I mean, I understand you need to ice up your drinks but to the point where it looks half empty? Or maybe they just were half empty..? Who knows.. Either way, this bar looks like a must visit next time I'm out east.
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