Manhattan, New York – Apothéke (Cocktails/Wine Bar)

Restaurant: Apothéke
Cuisine: Drinks/Cocktails/Wine Bar
Last visited: September 8, 2011
Location: Manhattan, NY (Chinatown)
Address: 9 Doyers Street
Nearby subway stop: Canal St
Price Range: $10-20 ($15-18+ cocktails)

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 5
Service: n/a
Ambiance: 5
Overall: 4.5
Additional comments:

  • Mixology lounge
  • Specializes in cocktails
  • Seasonal cocktail menus
  • Local and organic ingredients
  • House made bitters/reductions/infusions
  • Rooftop herb garden
  • Premium cocktail list
  • Extensive cocktail menu
  • Limited wine bar
  • Limited snacks available
  • Hidden bar/gem
  • Lounge like atmosphere
  • Sophisticated
  • DJ/music
  • No cover
  • 1 day Mixology classes available
  • Mon-Sat 6:30pm-2am; Sun 8pm-12am

**Recommendations: Come for pre-drinks or after dinner drinks.

Wait, was it this shady entrance we used to get in?

Oh no it was this shady entrance we used to get in! Don’t ask me how to get here though because I can barely remember leaving…

Okay, no, I wasn’t that bad at all, but I warn you these drinks are strong. I’m not the best person to ask about cocktails, but this is made for people on a liquid diet. If you’re in New York, this is definitely a tourist attraction for any cocktail lover.

I know, this place doesn’t even look legal, but it is. Located in grundgy Chinatown it was shadier than the shadiest Vietnamese restaurant we have in Vancouver, BC. I was brought back to memories of the Narrow Artist Lounge.

Like most hip and happening places in New York, it has no signage once again. I learned this to be a trend very quickly, but this is meant to be a hidden underground type of bar as well. Another thing, is that once a place is popular to locals, it almost becomes so “yesterday” or “uncool”, but Apothéke is still a hidden gem. It is a bit of a hipster scene and it’s definitely more for drinks than it is for dancing. It is an energetic lounge and not a restaurant, although there are some bar snacks available.

Talk about taking cocktails to the next level! It was almost like the chemistry lab of cocktails. It’s inspired by 19th century Paris and European pharmaceutical labs. I felt like I was in a Tim Burton movie or the set of the Backstreet Boys music video for “Backstreet’s Back”. All the bottles looked like potions and the mixologists, or dare I call them “bartenders”, were all dressed in white lab coats. It was all very Frankenstein or Jekyll and Hyde and I was thoroughly entertained by the whole concept.

As a tourist from Vancouver, this sort of thing doesn’t really exist, at least not to this degree. Sure we have award wining mixologists and stellar cocktails, but it’s all in the context of a restaurant and there’s nothing as dramatic as this. Or please enlighten me if there is…

All the ingredients are made in house daily using local and organic produce and herbs from their rooftop garden. It may come across as gimmicky, but it’s not. Apothéke treats cocktails as a serious business and I was completely infatuated by the attention to detail, innovative recipes, and quality ingredients.

They weren’t doing fancy tricks, but it was still a sight to see. The cocktails are organized in categories under Health & Beauty, Aphrodisiacs, Fruit Extracts, Euphoric Enhancers, Therapeutic Treatments, Stimulants, Pain Killers and Stress Relievers. The menu, or what they call “the prescription list” isn’t a bible, but it is extensive and very sophisticated. It sounded like food and it was more complex than dinner menus at Michelin Star restaurants. Even if you don’t drink, or don’t like cocktails, this may change your mind, and if not, it sure is an experience within itself.

On the table:

**Thai White Lady5/6

  • Thyme essence, gin, egg white, lemon sour, orange $15-18
  • This was under “Stress Relievers”, but the name of it kind of stressed me out. I was hoping to still be a girl after.
  • This was my favourite of the 4 I tried.
  • It was refreshing, light, tangy, and fruity with citrus notes rather than sweet ones.
  • The egg white gave it a little frothiness and the lemony thyme played well with the fruit.
  • I would have preferred lemongrass as opposed to thyme for a more Thai influence and stronger aromatics.

Fields of Heather4/6

  • Heather Tips, Vodka, White Peach, Raspberries, Lavender, Limencello, Lime $15-18
  • This was under the “Aphrodisiac” cocktail category.
  • This was really strong, but at $15-18 it should be… and they all were.
  • It was really floral, but not soapy and I could have used more white peach puree and maybe even some vanilla.
  • The white peach I think was actually just the slice of fresh peach garnish and although ripe and delicious, I wanted it more incorporated into the cocktail.
  • It was more on the tangy side than the sweet side, and there was a slight bitterness which may have been coming from the flowers, not the alcohol.

Root of the Earth3.5/6

  • House-made beet-cognac reduction, rum, vanilla essence, agave nectar, lime $15-18
  • This was under the “Aphrodisiac” cocktail category again. I was feeling lovey dovey after.
  • This sounded most interesting to me, but I’m not huge on cognac. The cognac was reduced and somewhat cooked out although I could still taste it.
  • The beet added a sweetness, but barely and it didn’t actually taste like beets.
  • Overall it was too strong and bold for me and I was as red as a beet after a couple sips.
  • A cognac and vanilla infused beet garnish would have been a nice addition too.

Dr. Ruth4.5/6

  • California strawberries, vodka, rosemary, agave nectar, lime, champagne $15-18
  • This was under the “Health and Beauty” cocktail category.
  • The Dr. Ruth’s I’ve tried are made with Blue Curacao and pineapple, so this was new, but I guess it was just the name.
  • This was a bit more typical and it was more tangy than sweet.
  • Personally I’m not a fan of California strawberries because I find them really tart. Being from Vancouver, BC we have very sweet local strawberries that taste nothing like California ones. I’m spoiled by them.
  • I could have used more strawberry puree, but it was fruity and bubbly with the accent of piney rosemary and it was a very clean drink.
  • It’s not nearly as sweet as most strawberry flavoured cocktails can be, but generally with strawberries I prefer basil over rosemary, but that’s personal.

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Apothéke on Urbanspoon

9 Comments

  • Linda says:

    ooo i’m not really a drink person but wow, these ones look amazing! i love how the fields of heather drink has a white peach in it too! haha that entrance is mighty sketchy though :)

  • Just back from a cocktail jaunt through NYC, and sad that I missed this one. I guess I’ll have to go back soon, though I may need help finding this place.

    I like the hidden gems. While in NY I visited PDT, which you can only enter through a phone booth in a hot dog shop. Good times.

  • Ian Reid says:

    In July we had a great meal at Dutch in the West Village, preceded by great cocktails. I knew we were in the right place when I saw a drink that included eau de douglas fir.

  • Bow says:

    Nice cocktails, a bit pricey… but I LOVE the hidden, shady, and very difficult to find bar. Definitely a hidden gem. Ok, the cocktails are great( such a list to choose from) but how was the wine list ? Or did you concentrate on fancy cocktails ?

  • Mijune says:

    @Linda – it is, but it’s totally legit! If your b/f likes drinks you guys should go :) For the experience!

    @Cocktail Enthusiast – there you are! I don’t know how I missed this page of comments! PDT sounds sick! See you in a bit… in Jamaica.. lol how random that we meet here!

    @Ian Reid – I know! The drinks are so interesting. Did you have it with gin?

    @Bow – super pricey… but that’s NY for you… especially places like this.. it’s considered quite typical. This isn’t really a wine kind of place so they have very limited selection… definitely for cocktail lovers! :)

  • Love the cocktail scene in NYC. Will check this one out next time!

  • Mijune says:

    @cocktail Codex – also try Employees Only! hipster spot, but legendary cocktails.

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