It was some point after your third round—your heads hazy with rum and pineapple, the girls breathing fire on the rooftop and a couple of peacocks guarding a plate of oysters to your right, when you realized you liked it here. It was the kind of place where the palm leaves and tiki drinks would almost make you forget you're stuck in the middle of Hell's Kitchen during a New York City winter. Almost.
Welcome to Bar Gonzo, a loosely Hunter S. Thompson-themed lounge consisting of two colorful floors prime for debauchery and/or responsibly sourced vegetable platters, whatever it is you're into, now open on 9th Avenue.
Doors open to the Peacock Bar: a space flush with towering tropical plants, all stained glass and marble and mirrors, with a staircase straight back leading up to a sprawling rooftop with a wooden hut full of booze right in the center. Food comes from Chef R.L. King, a chef who's spent ample time in the kitchen of the McKittrick Hotel (home of "Sleep No More"), a man who clearly doesn't like a boring venue.
There are latchkey kid pizzas, inspired by those frozen after-school snacks that may or may not remind you of your childhood. There's a a bunch of different meats on sticks (charred octopus, Wagyu beef, white shrimp with pickled papaya). There're also plates meant for sharing (*knowing smirk*): fried green bananas with ghost pepper salt, highly dippable raw market veggies, dishes piled high with seafood salad and shrimp cocktail and clams and the like.
It's a place for large-format punches brought to your corner booth covered in hanging pink wisteria, where you may catch a fantasy-realm burlesque show sometime in the not far off future, where the Disco Era feels uniquely alive and well.
If nothing else, it's a solid place to forget it's a rainy, gray November Monday.