A Faux Exotic Destination in the Midst of Midtown Isn’t a Mirage


Camouflaged within a row of computer stores, nail salons, and trinket shops is the eastern Indian–themed Maya Lounge. Ironically, the bar, much like the Vedic concept of illusion, isn’t what it appears to be. The outside sports a velvet rope and a disco-purple-lit wall that’s a precursor to the joint’s crown jewel: the mod, underlit glass bar that constantly changes color, imparting a moody glow. High-concept with its third eye open toward design, the main room wishes to be upscale, sleek, and minimal, with its tall ceilings, exposed black pipes, cylindrical light fixtures, hanging beaded curtains, and light-brown and cream-colored couches, stools, and bed-style spacious seating. Sadly, what’s aiming for chic manifests as drab, unfinished, and a tad cheesy—but not as cheesy as the reachingly named but tasty “Erotica Paneer” (a homemade cottage
cheese entrée, $12)—hubba hubba! The food’s as good as Indian row grub and the drinks are tasty though not generous enough for their big-city prices. Both the Mayatini ($13), with mango and lychee juices and Grey Goose vodka, and the Yummy Mayago ($13), with Godiva liqueur, Frangelico, vodka, and Baileys, came in regular martini-sized glasses. Thursday through Saturday, DJs play bhangra, hip-hop, and dancehall; there’s similarly pumpin’ jams on non-DJ nights. If you aren’t fooled by faux chichi and can hang with the expense, this den sure beats midtown’s samey Irish-pub fare.