Wednesday, May 12, 2010


49 Essex St (Btw Hester & Grand)
New York, NY 10002
(212) 777-8454

Bathroom situation
- 1 M & 1 W (both single-person) allll the way to the back. They're green-hued and papered with old-school, Greasers v. Socs era photos of half-naked Polynesians. Shouts out to breadfruit trees.
Takes credit cards? - whoa, whoa, slow down there Donald Trump (btw, what do you think his hair looks like when he gets out of the pool?). This is a fairly new establishment, so they can be excused for not having the infrastructure to handle 1s and 0s quite yet.
Crowded on weekends? - now this is the beauty part. They have a bouncer fella outside who will potentially keep you waiting in order to maintain the balance indoors (or to placate the fire code, who knows). BUT! He's actually pleasant, reasonable and totally competent about this. Due to this, the indoor population is always right where it needs to be. You know Visceralist loves to pop a lot of shit, but really we can't even squeeze a shit-talking vowel into this category. Who'd have thunk a bar on the LES could actually get this right? Consider Visceralist downright gobsmacked. Now, granted, you will likely have to wait outside for a bit (Visceralist's wait was 5-7 mins last Saturday), but if you're not averse to that and you're not in a big group, it's probably worth it.
Seating - not a tonne, but with the impeccable door policy, it's not really an issue. There are 8 or 9 stools at the bar, 3 two-person tables & 3 large booths in the back.
Neighborhood - still kinda the hinterlands of the LES, but Essex is fairly major, so catching a cab shouldn't be too much of a migraine.
Pretentious/assholes - as this place is fairly new, in the LES and has gotten some favorable press, it'll catch it's fair share of dudes who are willing to drop $100-$200 in a night to impress some new floozy (round here, they're known as mark-ass tricks that llike to trick off all their little trick-money). Nothing to really worry about though. The door policy seems to be pretty egalitarian as far as admitting the asshole-y and fly alike [ed. yes, Chloe, this is a sneak-diss].
Cost of Stella -the drink menu veers towards the cocktail direction (we'll get to that a little further down), so they only have a few beers here. No Stella, but Red Stripe was $6.
What time people start showing up - 'lebben.
Bartender efficiency - there was one comely young lady working the bar when Visceralist was there and she was definitely adept at eye-contact. She seemed a bit on the overly-effusive side, but that's to be expected with a new bar that'd love to be described as swanky. Whatever, she did her thing. They only had one cocktail waitress working the seated area in the back and she seemed a bit the point where she forgot our Red Stripe order. However, once reminded, she got it to our table post-haste and didn't even charge. Still tippin' tho!!!
Official Website - even tho they're new, they should'a been had one by now, but it ain't. Visceralist has been getting the impression that some spots refrain from maintaining a web presence cuz they think it adds to their mystique. They may be right, but Visceralist respectfully disagrees with this particular strategem.
Food? How late - some of their drinks are actually served in a pineapple half (big shouts out to Lock, Stock..."You could fall in love with an Orangutan in there..."), but that's the closest you'll get.
TVs? What's on - no, so you'll have to head up the street to Boss Tweeds if you wanna watch the Cavs implode like whoa (cot damn, Bron, are you throwin' games now? SMH)
Guy:girl ratio - 50/50. Visceralist did witness that one of the booths the other night was fully inhabited by a wild pack of rapscallions in un-tucked button-ups (which likely wouldn't have been allowed inside any other small LES bar w/ a discerning bouncer, but hey...). But they were adequately balanced out with a flocka uterii.
Toys - bendy straws.
Age of clientele - firmly 20s it seemed. Again, this place is new, so it'll take a while before any sort of norm can be determined.
Space for dancing? - nah, you'll have to settle for the photos of hula-dancers on the walls in the bathrooms.
Music medium, style & volume - unobtrusive to say the least.
Specials or most popular drink - so this is their real draw. Authentic Tiki-Bar drinks. Visceralist's only other experience with tiki-bars is (obviously) Otto's Shrunken Head, so we have no real way of knowing if Painkiller keeps it real. Since every other aspect of this place is above average tho, let's just say they are. The focus here is cocktails served in large glasses, skull-shaped and otherwise. The menu is strictly visual, so they don't actually tell you what ingredients are in the drinks. Their eponymous drink tasted like a margarita made with rum instead of tequila and was delicious. We also tried the Zombie, which was a bit of an ordeal. It was essentially Barardi 151 tempered somewhat with some pineapple juice and it lit a fucking fuse. Now, Visceralist is all about the recent resurgence of the Zombie in pop culture (big shouts out to World War Z), but this shit was some straight voodoo no-no. Mamma say, mamma sa, ma ma-ku-sa. Still, we'll be back to try some more in the foreseeable future.

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