apotheke: great concept, great execution


My previous post about the Alembic Bar identity design reminded me of my favourite absinthe bar in Manhattan, Apotheke (which I believe, is the German word for apothecary) that opened during Fashion Week in '08. I had the privilege of going for a private event the week before it officially opened it's doors. The two names are related: an alembic is a vessel used in the distillation process often used in apothecaries or perfumeries. 
Apotheke is more than an absinthe bar. The concept behind it and the name is carried all the way through — which is what I love about it. It's more than a bar, it's a "cocktail apothecary". It's the first of it's kind. It is a place that one might find unique drink concoctions designed to soothe whatever might be ailing them. There are exotic herbs, fruit and essential oils thoughtfully infused in their (apparently, trés expensive) cocktails. Delicious, however... in more ways than one. They think of the bar as a chemistry lab or even a stage. 
The interior design carries through the concept as well. Located in a former opium den (among a host of other shady previous lives), it's history makes this place all the more intriguing. The shelf behind the bar instantly reminded me of the Fragonard Perfume Museum in Paris which I loved. I happen to go while in Paris in '05 because I was researching perfume and essential oils for a client at the time. Apotheke is the darker, sexier version of the museum. Everything from floor to ceiling was well considered without looking over the top. Even the light fixtures are made from old beakers. Love it! I had the most amazing (flaming) shot of absinthe there. I must stop by again soon. Go check it out!