I arrived early for the Painkiller "friends and family" opening. Graffiti artist NOC (of Style Wars fame) was still putting the finishing touches to the graffiti mural covering the store gate. Giuseppe Gonzalez, the beaming new proprietor, was outside enjoying the proverbial calm before the storn. That storm bearing down on his new little Tiki Bar would be a tidal wave of bartenders, cocktailians, bloggers, and others in town for the Japanese Cocktail Technique seminar that wrapped up earlier at the Hiro Ballroom.
Giuseppe let us in early and we took the "dug out" seats which in my opinion are always the best seats in the house. This gave us time to catch up a bit with out hosts before the madness began. Richie Boccato and Giuseppe Gonzalez, of Dutch Kills in Long Island City, have collaborated with business partners to open a new generation of Tiki Bar. As mentioned in our Tiki's Revenge post last winter, Painkiller isn't your typical kitschy tourist trap with badly made drinks. Inspired by New York's gritty 1970s and the drinks culture made famous by Donn the Beachcomber, Trader Vic, and most recently Jeff Beachbum Berry, PKNY makes serious cocktails but does not take itself too seriously. Graffiti murals fit in side by side with bamboo covered walls and comfy red booths.
Giuseppe addressed the growing crowd as his partner Richie prepared the industrial strength blenders for service.
"Come on you are all family - call it out."
"Ok, Mai Tais for everyone!"
(applause from crowd)
|The Mai Tai and a Zombie|
Three drinks were served and Brooklyn Lager beer. The signature Painkiller, a Zombie served in a Fu Man Chu style tiki mug, and the original Mai Tai. Besides the three featured drinks, there is no formal cocktail menu but rather genres of drinks including, Zombies, Tiki Flights, Swizzles, Daiquiris, Frozens, a PKNY's (bartender's) Choice, a mini scorpion bowl called the "Cradle of Life", and the something called "The Bastards." This philosphy does not keep the menu stale and let's the barkeeper create bespoke or modified recipes based upon the availability of ingredients.
As the old East Side Company space swelled to capacity with a whose who of mixology talent and favorite regulars, we threw down the ice cold Tiki drinks as the temperature reached tropic proportions. New friends were made, old flames were cursed, and shots in "skull" shot glasses were slammed. An hour and half later I had to give up the hard sought real estate of the dug out and make our way into the fresh cool air. Painkiller was off to a momentous start!
PKNY formally opens on Friday May 7th at 6pm. I suggest you get their early and be prepared for scorpion bowls! I'll be having a Bermuda Swizzle!
49 Essex Street