Your Wicky, Wacky, Woo!
by Leslie Rosenberg
a sweltering summer day in Manhattan. The sweat is dripping down
your neck as you pound the sidewalk between East Village thrift
stores and vintage clothing retailers, looking for the perfect
gabardine shirt or Lucite purse. Finally, you cant take
it anymore. You trudge a few blocks westward to Bowery, the blare
of cab horns and fumes of city busses enveloping your senses.
But there it is, near the corner of East Fourth Street, an oasis
in the midst of the big city turmoil
you step inside Marions Continental Restaurant & Lounge,
you are swept away to a Polynesian paradise. Colorful paper lanterns
dangle from the ceiling, tropical flowers adorn the tables, the
sounds of Juan Esquivel and Martin Denny fill the air, and the
waitstaff serves up frosty tiki-godhead mugs of delicious frozen
daquiris and mai tais.
is the Kahiki Lounge, an annual salute to all things Polynesian,
which launches at Marions on July 12 this year. Although
the usual decor at Marions can best be described as eclectic
retro50s lamps hang from the ceiling and oil paintings of
John Kennedy and watery-eyed cocker spaniels adorn the wallsfor
one month each summer, the space is transformed into an island
Kahiki Lounge is modeled after the restaurant of the same name
in Columbus, Ohio, explain owners Michael Howett and Richard Bach.
The original, built at a cost of more than a million dollars,
features an indoor tropical rain forest and is covered wall to
wall in tiki paraphernalia. Marions manages to scale things
down with thatched huts and colored lighting, but the effect is
still nothing short of enchanting.
addition to the Hawaiian kitsch atmosphere and special tropical
drink and dinner menu, the Kahiki Lounge also features fabulous
entertainment. On Tuesday nights, Casey MacGill, star of the Broadway
show Swing!, regails the clientele with his vocal stylings
and the sweet strumming of his ukelele. He appears alongside DJ
Mr. Gerard, who spins everything from Hawaii 5-0 to Elvis. Then
on Wednesdays, its the World Famous Pontani Sisters, who
perform tropical dance numbers from the Volcanic Islands. (Check
them out at www.pontanisisters.com. These girls but the bump
in burlesque!) And on Thursdays, authentic Hawaiian hula dancers
from Radio Hula grace the dining room with romantic sounds of
the South Pacific.
if you miss this years Kahiki Lounge, Marions offers
a number of themed events year-round, including the Sunday Fashion
Brunches featuring clothing from up-and-coming designers like
Michael Sinn, Blue Bag, Living Doll, Kelly Christy, Buffalo Chips,
and Michelle Korn. No matter what time of year youre visiting,
make sure to put Marions in your Palm Pilot before your
next trip to the Big Apple.
Continental Restaurant & Lounge is located at 354 Bowery,
NYC; Ph. 212.475.7621.