The Polynesian NYC
The Polynesian in NYC was a short lived but probably one of the very best modern tiki bars that ever was. In fact it once made it to the top 50 bars in the United States, not just for Tiki, but for any cocktail lounge. Launched by The Major Food Group in 2018. It was a very large space located on the 2nd floor of the POD hotel by Port Authority in Midtown just blocks from Times Square. What happened after a year is hard to speculate, but they did cut the prep crew and both the food and the drinks started to go downhill by the end of 2019. The Pandemic of 2020 was the final blow that forced them to close and it has not reopened since.
They had private dining rooms, booths, a lounge, a long bar and even an outside terrace. I don’t know if I spent $1,000 in there, but I certainly spent close to it. It was not hard when the cocktails were anywhere from $17-21 each. I would never go there without least trying 4-5 cocktails because most of them were delicious and nothing else I had ever tasted. But even the bad ones were good like “Elvis Is Dead”. It tasted like a Butterfinger candy bar, but even though a bit too sweet, it was still worth trying with coconut peanut butter cream, banana, rum and a few other ingredients all based on Elvis’ favorite bacon banana peanut butter sandwich (center photo).
The clear winner for me was the Derelict. The mug alone is worth a fortune if you can find one. At one time they were selling it for over $125, now I am sure it’s worth a lot more. the Derelict was 3 different types of rum and bourbon. It was incredible, but the Zombie had nothing on this cocktail, just one and you would know why, I don’t care how high your tolerance to alcohol is. The food was expensive but decent for any tiki bar. It was not perfect, I personally had some criticisms about it, but now I really really miss it since there has been nothing to date that even comes close.