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I finally go to go to Otto's

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My quest for the ultimate tiki bar led me to New York's East Village this week and the home of no less than three modern tiki lounges. I was in the city anyway for a boring trade show, so I figured I'd veg-out that evening at one of the coolest tiki hot spots Otto's Shrunken Head.

Equal parts tiki bar and rock n' roll kitche wonderland, Otto's offers a laid back atmosphere with cool bamboo decor and modern highlights. Velvet paintings of Johnny Cash and the Devil line the walls, while a Simpson's pinball machine separates the bar section of the establishment from the lounge/concert space in the back. Colored blow fish hang from above the bar and provide much of Otto's subtle lighting.

The bar itself is grass lined with leopard spotted stools and a drink menu that pays homage to the Polynesian world with a wide selection of tiki beverages, such as the Mai Tai, Zombie and a homegrown concoction that glows in the dark. I had the Mai Tai and it went down just fine.

Otto's doesn't seem to serve food, but there are a series of half moon lounge benches and tables next to the bar that were occupied by a few local hipsters. The jukebox was stocked with a wide array of obscure rock discs and some strange lounge stuff. The rear sitting area featured a tiny stage that only seems to hold half a drum set if a full band is on stage. The walls are bamboo-lined with a plastic sheet behind them that billows against a fan giving off an ocean effect. Giant tiki poles stand guard on each side of the stage and a little bamboo hut is set up above one of the tables.

I actually went to Otto's in hopes of catching the Monday night tiki band, and as luck would have it I got there just in time. The band is called Fisherman, and their style of music ranges from a more rockin' Les Baxter to surf style lounge. After opening the set with their theme song, Fisherman brought out a burlesque dancer to mesmerize the audience. Clad in little but garters, the girl pulled out a cap gun and fired at the crowd. The crowd didn't mind. The rest of the evening featured some guest steel guitar playing and a rousing rendition of "Ape Man." The band played from 9 pm until midnight, but I checked out early to get back to the train.

On the way out I noticed another tall tiki at the front door, and a display window featuring dozens of vintage tiki mugs. Otto's Shrunken Head might not be the traditional tiki lounge, but it's definitely Rock N' Roll.


Otto's used to be Barmacy, a very cool vintage Pharmacy, turned into a bar. I dj'd there for two very fun years worth of Saturday Nights. I wonder if its under the same ownership? Same people used to own Beauty Bar, just down the street.


one night when i was there jayne (used to be wayne) county was deejaying.

SES posted on Thu, Jan 15, 2004 6:59 PM

I'll be in NY next week. What are the addresses for the NY places. I tried to search the archives but can't find the addresses in the posts. I even checked out a website and it still did not have the address listed!

... Otto's Shrunken Head.
538 E. 14th St btwn. A & B
Telephone, 212-228-2240.

[ Edited by: Tiki Chris on 2004-01-15 19:08 ]

On 2004-01-15 18:59, SES wrote:
I'll be in NY next week.

will you be around monday (some of us are meeting up at otto's)?

SES posted on Thu, Jan 15, 2004 7:44 PM

Going around the 24th to 27th not exactly sure yet. I wish I was there when everyone was getting together!


What no mention that the Tikis on the stage where carved by the one and only me??? hmmm the tikis are hollow and were planed to be speaker cabinets...

I guess i will find out on Monday Feb 16th when I see Otto’s for the first time my self! As I sit in with may old APE mate the Fisherman that night! I’ll post on the events page soon...

'ape' the band

Sound the conch!!!!

Crazy Al, we must plan a NYC crawl in your honor!


Sounds Great... i have to see Wally’s as well... but at -30 below... it sure will be different then hanging will you in a Bungalow in the FL keys!!!!!!!


Pictures anyone?


no worries! we are having a heat wave today, its 30 degrees!


nice! it was about 58 last night here in Huntington Bch, CA as we jumped into a friend’s Jacuzzi... this guy was visiting from ‘Queens’ and thought is was so lovely out he would jump in the pool?? the pool had to be 58 as well if not cooler...
crazy New Yorkers... (he did admit it was chilly)

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