Top NYC bars

Eating a steroid-pumped monster burger with 4 kilos of chips with a pint of Pete’s Pale Ale served by a smiley-happy waitress with her name on a badge doesn’t constitute the New York bar experience - but this does.

Off a crooked street in Chinatown, in a former opium den, the newly opened Apotheke (pronounced Apotique) offers 250 cocktails at a marble bar crammed with glass jars, mortars and pestles. The conceit here is elixirs, perfumes and apothecaries. Viennese 'mixologist' Albert Trummer, something of a legend among barmen, has divided his list into nine sections including 'euphoric enhancers', 'pharmaceuticals' and 'aphrodisiacs'. However, try the Trummer's homemade absinthe, which will give NYC a look you’ve never before seen.

For something a little more artsy, but without the farsty, do your Hemmingway impression at ‘The Half King.’ The three owners - novelist Sebastian Junger, American Teen director Nanette Burnstein, and writer Scott Anderson - constitute the high court of literary accomplishment but that wouldn't mean anything if there wasn't good pub food and enough beer to drown your hackish jealousy. Thankfully, there is.

It’s down in Chelsea, 505 West 23rd Street: TheHalfKing

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