Chinatown used to be all about Dim Sum, but these days there are a few drink spots that overshadow the food.
Apotheke is tucked away on tiny Doyers Street. Be sure to write down the address before heading over. It has an unmarked entrance, making it very difficult to find. The cocktail lounge capitalizes on the area's shady past. This spot was once known as the "bloody corner" because of the rival gangs that used to fight it out on the street. During that time, the space served as an opium den. Now its signature drinks are the drug of choice. Apotheke's cocktail menu is vast, but why not give the bartender a challenge? If you tell him your mood that day and what flavors you like, he'll cook up a custom libation on the spot.
Named after its elaborate Moroccan light pieces, White Star bills itself as an absinthe bar. They do have a cocktail list, but this drinking den wants you to sip its spirits straight. It's only recently that Absinthe was deemed legal to drink in the U.S., so there is definitely a level of naughtiness associated with the drink. The barmen pour the Absinthe traditionally, using an absinthe fountain that mixes the potent green liquid with water. While Apotheke is excellent for a special night out, White Star has the vibe of a neighborhood bar. The only difference is that these neighbors want to sip the green fairy pretty much every night.
The best part about drinking in this neighborhood? The dim sum. Some tasty Chinese treats await you after a night at the bars.