So off we went, into the subway and down to the Delancy St. station in search of quality cocktails. Heather was playing with her Google Droid phone with built in GPS to get us there. As soon as we got ourselves oriented in the right direction, not always the easiest thing to do, we started down Essex St. towards Grand and found our mark. Though the name of the establishment is not prominently posted outside, the facade is a giant graffiti tag that says, "Tiki Bar."
Heather and I go in and sit down. As is the case with many of the nice bars we frequent, there was no space at the bar proper. But because it was a Wednesday night and fairly early in the evening, we had no trouble securing a booth.
In the press that Painkiller has been receiving, they mention that one of Painkiller's signature drinks (other than their namesake, "The Painkiller") is a Zombie. Their recipe includes Absinthe and Rum among other things. They also mention that the Zombie is so strong that there is only one Zombie allowed per customer, per night. How do I not order that right off the bat?
Before we order we are seated and taken through their drink menu, which looks like something you might find on a diner placemat--little illustrations of what the drinks look like. Amongst the flights and swizzles and what-have-you, there was the coveted Zombie. I order that while Heather goes for the Painkiller, a rum based drink mixed with coconut milk. Not exactly my cup of tea but she seemed to enjoy it. We asked if the rumors were true about only being able to have one. Rumor confirmed.
The decor of the place is bright colors that are subdued by the fact that it's dimly lit. There are lots of Tiki heads that are hanging and painted all over the place as well as more graffiti-style tags bearing words like "Painkiller," "Aloha" and "Mahalo." Pretty soon, our drinks come and Sean arrives. I tell him what I'm drinking and that he can only have one and he's in.
Another thing we read in the press is that they have a machine that will crank out hot dogs by the dozens to dispense free of charge. Or at least they will have a machine that will do all that, because for the time being, it's not up and running. Heather made a frowny face. She hadn't eaten much that day. The ever benevolent waitress brought her a few pineapple slices and she perked back up. After our first round, Sean gets sneaky and tries to order another Zombie. Shut down. Rumor double confirmed.
Our next round consisted of Bartender's Choice, where we get to challenge the bartender to make something good. Perhaps I should have been taking notes but that Zombie packs a pretty big punch. I do recall that Heather's was sweet and tart. The drink didn't have a name so we lobbied for "Sweet Tart." Time will tell if the name sticks.
As for mine and Sean's, I'm a little hazy. I do know that a few of our drinks came with little flowers in them and that before the night was through we were all wearing them at lapel height. My second was another absinthe cocktail. There's a myth out there that absinthe is hallucinogenic but I don't think that's true--and the juggling centaur sitting next to me concurs.
I thought that Painkiller was a lot of fun. If a speakeasy had sex with some sexy hula girls, the resulting offspring would probably look a lot like this bar--if only woman and establishment could mate. What a wonderful world it would be.