Before you freak out, the East Village’s diviest tiki bar hasn’t changed immensely– but Otto’s Shrunken Head has revamped what Nell the bartender described as a floor that was “peeling off,” and apparently the source of that overpowering smell of urine. The new bright blue floor smells like fresh linoleum and has given Otto’s, which opened back in 2002, a new lease on not-smelling-like-piss-and-regret, something really quite fortunate for a bar where people get shamefully sloshed on Zombies and Singapore Slings.
The bar’s owners have made an effort to spruce things up generally– taking out sand of questionable origin and cleanliness in the front window and replacing it with perfectly manicured astroturf. Some rearranging of the tiki totems has been undertaken, and even the ladies’ room received a once or twice-over with the ol’ paintbrush. But don’t worry, it’s still just grimy enough in there that the head hasn’t lost its uniquely East Village charm. What do we want? Clean toilets. When do we want them? Now. When will we get them? Probably never, let’s be real.
“I’ve been quizzing some of the regulars on what’s been rearranged,” Nell explained. “But we’re still making small changes every day.”
A patron who appeared out of nowhere mentioned that the stage had been redone and “looks beautiful.” I walked back to see for myself, and was more surprised to find a pretty good showing for stand up comedy in the middle of the day. Say what? Nell explained this is a sort of warm-up thing for local comics and happens at 3 pm on Mondays and Fridays. When I waltzed in, I interrupted a young fellow doing a bit about “girls on ecstasy,” so you know– relevant material.
So if it’s been a minute, make your way to Otto’s to take in the new smells, check out a random (free) comedy show, and toss back some $7 boilermakers. And, I mean, the floors look nice and all, just don’t lick them or anything — this is Otto’s, after all.