A hidden cocktail emporium in Chinatown – Apotheke NYC

Photo credit - Apotheke
Photo credit – Apotheke

Sometimes late at night when you are a bit drunk, well actually A LOT drunk, and wandering down a dark street or alley you think to yourself while the mind is all fuzzy that this might not be a good idea. Wandering down a dark, abandoned, and kind of seedy back street in Chinatown NYC might not be the best move you think. Walking through an unmarked door into a shadowy abandoned Chinese restaurant also might be an invitation to a body part harvesting situation. Eh – you’re drunk and throw caution to the wind. Don’t think my liver is worth much anyway at this point with all the abuse I put it through.

Lo and behold what you have just walked into is another mood-setting darkly lit speakeasy called Apotheke. Hidden behind an old sign that reads “Gold Flower Restaurant” this weathered down and beaten up storefront actually conceals a terrific bar serving proper libations cooked up by expert mixologists. Think “Prohibition Era” fun!

Photo credit - Apotheke
Photo credit – Apotheke

The place itself is on the small side and has only about four couches and a few chairs to sit on, but with it’s dimly lit interior and chill music, it is a nice place to relax and enjoy an expertly made drink with friends or a date. Totally dark and cool ambiance. Especially on Monday and Tuesday when live jazz is performed. The trio last night gave the aura of 1930’s sleek sophistication with their smooth renditions of classic crooning.

Photo credit - Apotheke
Photo credit – Apotheke

The bartenders are outfitted with old school apothecary jackets, and with all the labeled and unlabeled bottles and jars of different colored contents on the bar you feel as if you are back in a turn of the century pharmacy. You totally trust these guys to hand you a terrific drink off of the varied menu, or to provide you with a wonderful concoction that they make up based on what your taste buds crave. I tried a few drinks this evening –  an “Irritable Scottsman” which is scotch based, and a “Blackberry Cobbler” which is rye whiskey based. Both very different, but both very enjoyable. In fact, I had a bunch of these – too many to remember – but it all came back to me when I received my bill! Yes, it is not cheap here with the average drink going for $15, but very worth it for a perfectly made cocktail if that is what matters to you and your wallet.

After an evening of killer drinks and speakeasy revelry you walk out the door and back onto the abandoned streets of late night Chinatown looking for that cab that will take you safely home. Just never be afraid to peek inside a decrepit old doorway as you never know what hidden joys are behind that wall. I just love these hidden libation destinations!

Photo credit - Apotheke
Photo credit – Apotheke
Photo credit - Apotheke
Photo credit – Apotheke



Apotheke – http://www.apothekenyc.com/


Apothéke on Urbanspoon


24 thoughts on “A hidden cocktail emporium in Chinatown – Apotheke NYC”

  1. Phil, I feel like I need a drink! As always you wow me with your ability to find all the fun places in NYC. I am gonna have to come for a visit some day! Take care and keep making it interesting.

  2. Any place that has the word “Emporium” as a descriptor is my kind of joint.

    In Texas, we have places like Bubba’s Tequila Store, Taco Stand & Ammo Depot, but very few emporiums.

    1. Hey Fearless!

      Hey, in Texas they do everything big, so I am sure those tacos are super sized to go along with the arsenal of canons they offer!

    1. Hey Pam!

      Thanks so much for dropping by my blog and commenting! Hope you sign up to follow my craziness.

      I have a bunch of spots I could take you. Just don’t blame me for the hangover!

  3. Phil, you are truly the Dashiell Hammett of bar and restaurant reviews. The opening of your post reads like a detective novel.

    Is the name of the speakeasy pronounced “apathetic?” I love the mood of the place and live jazz is perfect for the ambiance. It sounds like my type of haunt.

    1. Hey Lauren!

      Well, thank you very much! Sometimes I can actually make a great sentence or two!

      There are a few ways to pronounce it. Apoth-eek-ee is one. All I know is that it’s a nice spot for a cocktail!

  4. What a gem of a place! A speakeasy…color me happy! There is a place here in Nashville called The Patterson House that came to mind as I read this post. I’ll be happy to be your host if you ever make it South!

    1. Hey Stephanie!

      Thanks so much for dropping by my blog and commenting! Hope you sign up to follow my nuttiness and gluttony!

      I have a list of eating and drinking holes here I am sure you would like. Just ask her to pour you into a cab when you’re done!

  5. When I get back to NY I’m gonna check some of these places out…I had planned on going in January but I don’t think that’s going to happen anymore. Oh well there’s always April my birthday month! =) lol

    1. Hey Dean!

      At least in April the weather gets better. No shortage of great bars and spots to eat at here. Come visit and go home fat and happy!

  6. Good Lord…Chinatown freaks me out during the day! LOL! You are a brave man, Phil. However, it looks like you’re reaping the rewards of that. What a beautiful bar/lounge. I’d love to hang out there. Great find!

    1. Hey Hazy!

      There are so many hidden gems down there among the hustle and bustle. Put fear aside and check it out. Eat at Nom Wah next door for great dim sum!

Feel free to comment! We all have opinions!