Tiki bars have been dropping like flies lately—RIP, PKNY :(—but one persistent pirate bartender won't let schmancy Mai Tais die without a fight. Is the city poised for a Tiki rebirth? How many pineapples will be sacrificed so we can sip delectable drinks from their delicious, acidic carcasses? And when will someone FINALLY open a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed bar, complete with an animatronic Jack Sparrow and AYCD aged rum?
The Post has a profile today on Brian Miller, a former drink-slinger at Death & Co. who dresses like a pirate and is poised to spark a Tiki Bar Renaissance of sorts. There are still some spots around town where you can score a Tiki drink—Zombie Hut in Carroll Gardens and Otto's Shrunken Head in the East Village, to name a few. But while Island-themed drinking holes were a big deal once upon a time, Tiki bars have fallen on some hard times.
But according to the Post, Miller, who now whips up Painkillers and Zombies at ZZ's Clam Bar in Greenwich Village, will save Tiki once and for all. "Brian is important to Tiki because he’s basically kept it alive in New York despite all the hardships," Chicago-based Tiki bar owner Paul McGee told the tabloid. "When some of the bars folded, he was the one who was like, ‘No, it’s not dead.’ There’s no one in New York who works as hard as he does at it."
Even now, Miller's Tiki drive is in the crosshairs. Miller used to run a weekly "Tiki Mondays" party at various bars around town, but earlier this summer, it was forced into hiatus (Miller says the weekly game'll be back come September). But whether or not you're a fan of delicious frozen drinks and Polynesian mugs that come with a $15 deposit, it looks like Miller won't let Tiki die: “TIKI IS NOT A FUCKING FAD. WE ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE. DEAL WITH IT," he told Thrillist earlier this month.
Whether or not Pirate Bartender manages to save Tiki, it seems he's the right person to get shipwrecked with, provided your beautiful island prison has a solid supply of dry ice. Check out Miller's Tiki drink-making skills below: