It’s Last Call at PKNY

The tiki bar formerly known as Painkiller is closing in the next two weeks.

Health Department Shuts Essex Street Tiki Bar PKNY

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.

PKNY Tiki Bar Earns a B on Health Dept. Re-inspection

The LES tiki bar formerly known as Painkiller apparently has addressed most of the sanitation issues that earned it 101 violation points from the city health department earlier this month. In its second inspection in 10 days on Monday, the artisan cocktail outlet on Essex Street earned only 24 points, a B on the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s graded scale.

Painkiller vs. Pusser’s: Rum Company Responds to Critics

Over the last six days, since we broke the news about LES bar Painkiller losing its name in trademark litigation, bartenders and tiki geeks around the world have weighed in across the web to criticize the legal action and propose a boycott of the British Virgin Islands rum manufacturer that sued.

Last night, the founder and owner of Pusser’s Rum Ltd., Charles Tobias, finally responded.

Painkiller vs. Pusser’s: Blog-Rolling the Tiki Battle


In the 48 hours since we broke the story of Painkiller’s legal battle with a British Virgin Islands rum manufacturer, supporters of the beloved LES tiki bar have taken to their keyboards. Twitter went wild with the news, and as of today, there are at least three Facebook pages dedicated to punishing Pusser’s Rum Ltd. To recap: Pusser’s demanded, successfully, in federal court that Painkiller surrender the name of its bar, the name of its signature drink and its website domain to protect trademarks it holds. Pusser’s sells cocktails and mixers using the Painkiller name, and claims its rum uses the same recipe as that doled out by the British Royal Navy to its seamen as far back as the 17th century.

Painkiller’s Supporters Launch Boycott of Pusser’s Rum

Bartenders have launched a boycott of Pusser's Rum in support of Painkiller tiki bar.

In response to our story yesterday, which was picked up by Eater and other major food blogs as well as the New York Times, a group calling itself “Bartenders Against Pusser’s Rum” has started a Facebook page to launch a boycott of the British Virgin Islands rum manufacturer that forced Lower East Side tiki bar Painkiller to change its name and give up its website as a result of a trademark infringement lawsuit.

Health Inspection Turns Up Trouble at Tiki Bar Painkiller

Health inspectors gave Painkiller (aka PKNY) 101 points for nine violations during a visit Friday.

Following on the heels of settling a federal lawsuit over trademark infringement last month, Lower East Side tiki bar Painkiller faces another kind of trouble in the wake of a health department inspection Friday. The bar drew 101 violation points for a variety of serious sanitation issues.

The city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene cited it for nine violations. Seven were labeled “critical,” including water and ice that was not potable or drawn from an unapproved source, food being handled with bare hands, the presence of live roaches, inadequate hand-washing facilities, and a lack of food protection certification for the supervisor of food operations.

Lawsuit Costs Painkiller its Name and Website

Painkiller, the popular Essex Street tiki bar, plans to change its name to PKNY.

Painkiller, the Essex Street tiki bar that became a poster child for the citywide artisan cocktail movement when it opened last May, has been forced to change its name and give up its website as part of the settlement of a federal lawsuit in which a British Virgin Islands rum manufacturer alleged trademark infringement, according to court documents.

In the lawsuit filed April 12 in U.S. District Court, plaintiff Pusser’s Rum Ltd., which sells rum, cocktail mixers and rum products such as cakes under the brand name “Painkiller” sued tiki bar owners Giuseppe Gonzalez and Richard Boccato, claiming irreparable harm to its brand, unfair competition and unfair business practices, according to court documents on file in the Southern District of New York.

Moldy Fig, Rob Shamlian, Co-Op Food & Drink, Patate Fellow

  • After several delays, jazz joint and cafe Moldy Fig at 178 Stanton St. had a soft opening over the weekend. Beer, wine, live jazz and shuffleboard are operational; official opening is July 4, and the full kitchen comes online sometime next month as well. The Alex Hoffman Quartet performs tonight at 8 p.m.
  • Goodbye LES, hello Brooklyn: Rob Shamlian says enough already with the Lower East Side. Next project? His new beer garden in Greenpoint, where things are “happier.”
  • Early reviews of Co-Op Food & Drink: The prices are high, the service is slow and there might be cocaine on the bathroom floor.
  • Patate Fellow is gone from 71 Clinton Street, but proprietor Toshi Cappuccino has opened a Japanese joint called Hachember.
  • How much is a good review worth? Grub Street puts the money where the critics’ mouths are.
  • Eater declares the death of 10 NYC food trends; among them, Painkiller’s tiki trendiness and most banh mi sandwiches, excepting, of course, BaoHaus.
  • Good Samaritans at Schiller’s rat out a bike vandal.


Food Wire: Metromix Contest, Doughnut Plant, B Bar


Roni-Sue's Chocolates.

This morning’s Lower East Side food news:

  • A few Lower East Side favorites were nominated in the “2011 Best of Metromix” readers’ survey, including: Clinton Street Baking Company, Roni-Sue’s, Xi’an Famous Foods, Babycakes, Sugar Sweet Sunshine, 88 Palace, Painkiller, Mary Queen of Scots and Ten Bells. You can vote on the winners for the next two weeks.
  • Gothamist checks out the Doughnut Plant’s new outpost in the Chelsea Hotel.
  • Grub Street reports: Zella Jones is “rallying the troops” to put a stop to B Bar’s plans for sidewalk seating.
  • February 21st charity cocktail event at Freemans benefits bartenders in need of health insurance, Time Out says.

Food Wire: Fat Radish, Nom Wah Tea Parlor, Painkiller

Fat Radish earned one star in today's New York Times.

In Lower East Side food/restaurant news:

  • There are a few entertaining lines in Sam Sifton’s one-star review of Fat Radish: “a smart little joint out of a Jamie Oliver photo shoot;” “a restaurant for good-looking youngsters on their third jobs and second apartments, single and raging, with summertime Montauk shares and memories of Belize and Gstaad;” “To sit in its dining room as light plays off the huge mirror in back, candles flickering everywhere, eating rillettes and drinking wine, is to experience a small part of the New York that leads people here inexorably and always will.”
  • Painkiller, the tiki bar on Essex Street, has a huge new menu.

Grand Street’s Drama Queen, Hot Tiki, Le Souk’s Holiday Comeback

  • “The Drama Queen of the Lower East Side:”  the Abrons Arts Center’s historic theater takes another bow (NYT).
  • More on the Little Italy mafia museum (Villager).
  • Hot tiki drinks debut at Painkiller and -yes- they’re open on Christmas! (NYT).

The Early Word: Painkiller

There’s only one thing Mitch Weinstein enjoys more than a good meal, and that is a good cocktail. Here’s his early take on the Lower East Side’s newest bar:

Welcome to the neighborhood, our new tiki bar, called Painkiller. Located right next to the Pickle Guys on Essex Street, in a space formerly occupied by the East Side Company Bar, Painkiller will help you do just that.

Good Morning!

Photo by Mitch Winstein

Last night: putting the finishing touches on Painkiller, the Essex Street tiki bar to be officially unveiled on Thursday, but (just in time for Cinco de Mayo) already open to ‘friends and family.”  More thunderstorms today and a high of 80. A reminder for LES business and property owners: tonight’s the night you’ll be able to ask questions of New York City’s finance commissioner. Click here for more info. Also this evening: the LES Food Co-op has an organizing meeting.

Tiki Bar Planned for East Side Company Bar Space

Kate Krader of Food & Wine reports big changes are ahead for the East Side Company Bar space:

If you’re like me, and one tiki drink is never enough, here’s good news. The men behind the awesome Dutch Kills bar in Long Island City—Giuseppe Gonzalez and Richard Boccato—are
opening a tiki bar in Manhattan. Called Painkiller, the bar is
scheduled to open by early March. “We’re trading in Old-Fashioneds for
Mai Tais,” says Gonzalez. Well, not exactly: Since the team is planning
to blend 1970s New York culture and 1940s tiki culture, this may just
be the best-ever tiki bar. Even the address is cool: It’s on Essex
Street, in the old East Side Company Bar space.