What do the Complex editors do when they're not serving you with endless hours of entertainment?
My Spot takes you inside some of their favorite destinations, both in the 'hood and around the globe.
There is a tiki bar in the Lower East Side where the cocktails are poured perfectly, where the rum flows like wine, and where the women fall off of their barstools and into your lap. It's called Painkiller, and it's the perfect antidote to the douchebags who get their kicks fake-fighting each other outside the Rivington Hotel. It's a semi-secret location that the Internet has unfortunately made easier for the aforementioned type of character to find, but the patience required to get a drink helps cut down on the "'Sup bro!" set. Complex's Lifestyle Editor Bradley Carbone (@bradleycarbone) knows a thing or two about rum drinks, and if you wanna know what it's like to turn summer into a 365-days-a-year holiday, read on...
The Painkiller "drink menu" is a piece of paper with a bunch of the above drawings on it, and the names under each cocktail underneath. Mai Tais, Swizzles, Zombies, daiquiris, frozen drinks—if you've been to an island and had a cocktail you liked, they probably know how to make the real version here. You can either sit at the bar or get a table in the back, but I always find sitting across from someone at a table and drinking awkward. To me, the best course of action is for you and your guest(s) to ice grill a few weak-link patrons at the bar until they can't take it anymore and give up their seats. The bar is a high one, and there are usually a few characters there worth engaging. Make sure you don't have too many blog posts to do the next day if you decide to come here. Things usually get pretty fuzzy pretty quick, and the drinks are so good you're going to have a hard time putting back just one.
Wait, how did we get here? This isn't the Lower East Side!
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:
• Come early or come late. Trying to mess with getting a seat (or a drink) during the rush period of 9-11 pm on a school night is a debacle. If you get a spot early enough, you can ride the whole night out. If not, go have a few beers at Motor City first.
• The bartenders here really follow their craft, so it takes time to get a drink. Unfortunately, this sucks. The real trick is to order a few drinks at once. That way you don't have to wait again! Painkiller offers the option to order daiquiris in flights, so you can cop three at once. This is fun to do if there are more than one of you, but I wouldn't recommend the drink hoarding technique if you're by yourself. It's not college, and it's not that kind of a spot.
• If you're not too heavily liquored up already, try a Zombie. These things are really strong, and when done correctly they are a feat of bartending. They are done correctly here. Hold on to your seat.
• I've never done the Scorpion bowl thing, but they have it here. You may remember these from your Japanese restaurant/fake ID days, 4-6 person punch bowls that you all sit around and sip together. Pretty much awkward no matter how you cut it, though. First date? Might as well roofie her. Out with a bro? Come on dude. Pause. Sharing drinks with friends? I really don't know what to tell you.
• Bring a credit card, you're going to want to charge this one to the game.
During the summer, Painkiller is a great Hamptons alternative if it's a Tuesday night and you're not expected at the office too early the next morning. It wasn't open last winter, but I'm guessing this might be the closest thing we get to Puerto Rico without a plane ticket when the cold starts to work its way into the bones.
49 Essex Street
New York NY
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