9 Doyers St

An apothecary-themed cocktail bar inside of a former opium den.

Unexpectedly decadent, this lounge is inspired by European apothecaries and 19th-century Parisian absinthe dens. Dim lighting, Parisian-looking furniture, a gilded ceiling, and an imposing marble bar create a truly old-world feel.

Since ancient times it was widely believed that alcohol possessed medicinal value. Physicians in Europe and in America liberally prescribed alcoholic concoctions to treat an array of ailments, ranging from a sore throat to malaria. This strongly routed belief persisted into the 20th century, as it was only in 1916 that whiskey and brandy were removed from the list of scientifically approved medicines in The Pharmacopeia of the United States of America.

To drive the point across, Apotheke mixologists wear lab-coats and prescribe drinks suitable to treat various conditions. The menu lists about 250 cocktails divided into pharmaceutical categories such as Health and Beauty, Stress Relievers, Pain Killers, Stimulants, and Aphrodisiacs.

Apotheke is located on Doyer Street, which is nicknamed “The Bloody Angle.” In a city of mostly straight streets, this tiny one is unique, as it curves several times. The main sharp curve earned Doyle Street its violent nickname, as it allowed rival gangs to creep up on one another unseen, attack, and disappear through a network of tunnels. According to The New York Times in 1994, “Law-enforcement officials say more people have died violently at Bloody Angle than at any other intersection in America.”

Near Apotheke is an entrance to one of those very tunnels which takes you out to Chatham Square on the Bowery.

Doyer Street view with the "Chemist" sign
Doyer Street view with the “Chemist” sign
Entrance to Apotheke: "Chemist" sign over the unmarked door
“Chemist” sign over the unmarked door
Apotheke 'patients' are receiving their 'prescriptions'
Apotheke ‘patients’ are receiving their ‘prescriptions’
Apotheke mixologists in lab-coats
Apotheke mixologists wear lab-coats

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