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Health Department Shuts Essex Street Tiki Bar PKNY

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Authorities returned to PKNY at 49 Essex St. last night and shut it down.

It’s been a tough few weeks for PKNY, the Lower East Side tiki bar formerly known as Painkiller. On top of losing its former name in a federal lawsuit over trademarks in late May, city health officials issued it terrible inspection report earlier this month. Even though the beloved one-year-old artisan cocktail bar received a passing score on a subsequent inspection, authorities arrived late last night and closed it down.

Notices on the door this morning attribute the closure to “operating without a permit.” The cleaning crew on site a few minutes ago said they understood it to be a temporary problem and that the bar would open up in a few days. They did not want to be identified, and referred questions to the owners.

A patron who was on the scene tells food blog Eater that inspectors arrived around 10 p.m. and everyone was offered free shots on the way out. Despite earning 101 points on its June 3 inspection, the bar was allowed to remain open and operating; last night’s incident was the first time it’s been closed for any problems. We’re trying to sort out the paperwork issue and waiting to hear back from the owners, and will have updates later.

(UPDATE, 3:45 p.m.): A reply from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene spokeswoman, Zoe Tobin: “This establishment (previously PKNY or Painkiller), located at 49 Essex St., was inspected and ordered closed on June 22 for operating without a current Health Department permit. The owners had also been cited for operating without a current permit on three previous inspections.”

PKNY owner Richard Boccato has not responded to our inquiries today. He has previously declined comment on the health department issues.

(UPDATE, 5:15 p.m.): Boccato just got back to us with an update: “As of this evening,
PKNY is open for business.”

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