December 6, 2010

Painkiller: Tahiti Meets Gritty

Filed under: My Travels,New York,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 7:15 pm

A familiar scene, made alien

Our last tiki stop in New York was also our most highly anticipated: Painkiller, the new tiki bar on the Lower East Side. It’s only been open for a few months, and started racking up accolades right from the get-go.

The space is odd: the dimensions are essentially that of a long hallway. It’s more charming in person than in the pictures I’d seen… there was something about the overall feel that reminded me Bobby Green’s Bigfoot Lodge. The owners, Giuseppe Gonzales and Richard Boccato, wanted the place to reflect the Lower East Side neighborhood it’s in. The result is undeniably unique—graffiti murals spell out “mahalo” and “ohana”, and traditional black velvet and beachcomber imagery are recreated in bright-colored airbrushing.

The less-wacky seating

A piña colada in a frozen pineapple

The literal bar is, frankly, a bit uncomfortable. It’s a few inches too high, the fixed-to-the-floor stools are a few inches too tall and too close to the bar, and the upholstered tops are so soft it feels like trying to balance on a mushroom. But it didn’t feel like a minus, because the figurative bar is completely comfortable. We had fun joking about our stool balancing act with the fellow patrons, and the bar staff was doing so much to make us feel at home that it felt more like having a good-natured laugh about your uncle’s goofy armchairs. (The seating further back in the bar is quirk-free.)

We were already very happily settled in and enjoying our delicious cocktails when we got to meet Giuseppe Gonzales. He is one swell chap. Definitely the warmest (professional) hospitality we had in all of New York. He’s so excited about his bar, and about tiki drinks, and the enthusiasm would be infectious if I wasn’t already sick with the same disease myself. Recommended!

Many mahalos to all who made our visit to New York special: the folks who served us, the folks who cheered us on from afar, the locals who couldn’t make it but helped with lots of pointers, and mostly to our treasured companions: Elaine Trott; Margo, Bert, Hugo and Max Mukkulainen; Georgette Moger; Garo Yellin; Jack Fetterman and Gina Haase. I can’t wait to return the favor here in San Francisco!

See more pictures of Painkiller in Critiki.

3 Responses to “Painkiller: Tahiti Meets Gritty”

  1. Tweets that mention Humu Kon Tiki : Painkiller: Tahiti Meets Gritty -- Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Humuhumu, Stan Theman. Stan Theman said: RT @humuhumu: Humu Kon Tiki – Painkiller: Tahiti Meets Gritty [...]

  2. Mirabelle Says:

    Beautiful blog ! I love tiki but Pina Colada is definitely not my favorite. I’d rather have a Mai Tai but the frozen pineapple looks fun.

  3. Mas Car Go » South Seas Adventure—A Description of the Lost Cinerama Film Says:

    [...] orchestral stereophonic spectacle and more grounded and familiar sounds of the Pacific [...] Painkiller: Tahiti Meets Gritty A familiar scene, made alien Our last tiki stop in New York was also our most highly anticipated: [...]

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About Humuhumu
Humuhumu is the creator of several tiki websites. She is a designer and programmer based out of San Francisco.

- Website Design and Programming

- A Worldwide Guide to Tiki Bars & Polynesian Restaurants

- Tiki Mugs & More: Track & View Collections




Arkiva Tropika
Mimi Payne’s massive Polynesian Pop collection

Barefoot Bloggin’
A surfin’, ukein’, freewheelin’ monkey boy

Beachbum Berry
Author of Grog Log and Intoxica!, and one of my dearest drinkin’ buddies
Blog from the user interface designer extraordinaire

Worldwide Guide to Tiki Bars & Polynesian Restaurants

Dumb Angel
A look at the 1960s Los Angeles mod, pop, surf, and music scene

Eye of the Goof
Pop culture with a tiki tinge

Forbidden Island
My Wednesday hangout, the Bay Area’s best tiki bar

Humuhumu’s Life in Photos
Pictures of my adventures
I build websites

Junkyard Clubhouse
Random interesting things from Humuhumu & Hanford Lemoore

Kevin Kidney
Kevin loves tiki, I love Kevin, you will too

Tiki links galore

Mai Tai Online
Montreal-based tiki ‘zine

Tiki Mug Collection Organizer

The Jab
Follow the way of the jab

Tiki Bar TV
Public Access meets Modern Drunkard

Tiki Central
Community forums

Tiki Magazine
Periodical publication covering the wide world of Tiki

Tiki Talk
Hot Lava’s Tiki Blog