Great Beijing Bar: Apothecary

Last night, Michelle, our good friend Stacy, and I went to Apothecary, a hot new-ish bar in Beijing. It's in Nali Patio (next to Mosto) in the expat-friendly Sanlitun area.

The place has a clean feel with good service and nice jazz and standards filling the air. The drinks are definitely the highlight, with a strong emphasis on classic drinks made well. The menu is a delight, with nice explanations of the drinks. I had a great Manhattan, a stellar Old Fashioned (with Old Overholt -- kind of a nice twist) over one of the now-ubiquitous hand-shaved round ice balls, and an equally great something else or another (now lost to the drink haze). The ladies' drinks were equally well made and perfect.

The food was a bit mixed. Stacy and I shared a really delicious pork pate po boy (Michelle doesn't like pate) -- it was well-balanced with just enough pickled veggies to add a little bite to the pate. The beef sliders were probably the best burgers we've had in Beijing so far; we ordered a second plate of these -- great beef on sweet potato buns. Again, nicely balanced with a perfect proportion of meat and bun with just enough pickley stuff to kick it up a bit. Unfortunately, the gumbo and red beans and rice were terrible; they were bland, blended smooth like baby food, and served as almost a veneer or topping on too much rice. I'm biased towards Michelle's stellar Southern cooking, no doubt, but this was not good.

Fortunately, the drinks more than made up for the spotty food. We'll definitely go back for drinks and snacks.

3/F, Nali Patio, 81 Sanlitun Beilu, Sanlitun

(Note: they open at 7pm. We thought they opened at 6:00 and wound up milling around for a while.)

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