Life in the big city, and everything in between.

Island Buzz at Painkiller…

In Entertainment, Food on June 7, 2011 at 1:25 am

On the island that is Manhattan is a place that will make you feel like you’re in a tropical paradise. A place where you will leave smiling and full of happiness. I’m talking about Painkiller, an exceptional New York tiki bar where you get cocktails decorated with stuffed pink flamingos and palm trees.

I had to take this little guy home with me.

The history of the “tiki” bar is quite interesting. I never knew that the tiki culture originated in the United States back in the 1930s. Of course it was inspired by the Tiki carvings and mythology. The mid 1990s saw the beginning of a revival of the Tiki culture. Restaurants and bars would feature exotic rum punches like the Mai Tai and decorate with flaming torches, rattan furniture, and flower leis. You may even get a history lesson from some of the staff at Painkiller. I did and I found it very refreshing.

The Daiquiri is the mother of all rum cocktails and they take it a few steps further.

Pina Colada: The standard by which Painkiller measures all their frozen drinks. And so yummy!

Each cocktail is carefully crafted from the best ingredients available. Like the piña coloda that’s made with fresh pineapple juice, not the crap in a can, and their house cream of coconut. They take this drink very seriously. It’s even served in a carved out pineapple.  Yeah the bar-back actually carves each and every pineapple. The entire staff is unbelievably friendly. I recommend engaging them in conversation because they have some pretty interesting stories. The bartender is incredibly knowledgeable and will customize each cocktail to your liking. Be careful what you wish for though. If you ask for a strong drink you will most likely get one that will really knock you on your ass (limit to one per person that is).

If you go with a group of people get a Scorpion, which collectively intoxicates between 2-4 people sipping from a giant bowl with colorful straws. Apparently the Zombie Punch is the one that will really “kill the pain”. It has the alcoholic equivalent of almost one full bottle of rum and  becomes smoother and more complex over time.

Painkiller: The bar's namesake and one of my favorites. A blend of Virgin Islands rum, fresh juices of pineapple and orange, house cream of coconut, and a dusting of nutmeg.

You really feel like you have escaped Manhattan from the minute you enter Painkiller. Besides the staff being so charming and welcoming, the vibe of the place just makes you feel happy. Luckily I got to try what felt like every drink on the menu. Ok, that’s a bit exaggerated but there were a lot of drinks flowing…


49 Essex St
(between Hester St & Grand St)
New York, NY 10002
Neighborhood: Lower East Side

(212) 777-8454


  1. […] an amazing happy hour, I love the décor and feel of Lani Kai. The tiki theme reminds me of PKNY (formerly know as Painkiller before they were forced to change their name because of a lawsuit) and […]

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