2. The Keefer Bar
When it opened 10 years ago, with burlesque dancers strutting across the bar top and sax-playing DJs squeezed into tight corners, this apothecary-themed cocktail den was the coolest place in Chinatown. It was actually one of the few places in Chinatown that operated after dark, which only added lustre to its illicit underground vibe. These days, the streets outside buzz with gentrification, the crowds inside are less crammed, and the alumni section of the “Remedies and Cures” cocktail list has grown fat with red-ginseng-dosed potions from a cast of speed-rail mavericks. Now helmed by the magnificent Amber Bruce, the innovation at Keefer never stops, with a new list every season. The music is still great, and this cozy haunt has developed a burnished patina that makes it more dope than ever.
TRY: THE WHISKY AND YUZU SAKE ANTIDOTE, WHICH TAKES A SPOONFUL OF NIN JIOM COUGH SYRUP—AND TASTES AWESOME. (MOVE OVER BUCKLEY’S.) .
Photo: DAVID HAMILTON