The lobby of the Albion Hotel in South Beach is a study in brightness. The walls, terrazzo flooring, and furnishings are crisp white with some striking accent colors. However, just to the right of the reception desk is a heavy red velvet curtain.
Step behind it and you are transported somewhere far, far away. Suddenly, you're on some side street in London or New Orleans, where an ancient apothecary shop still sells potions to relieve stress, enhance libido, or boost energy.
That's exactly what the Drogerie is. Part cocktail bar, part mad scientist's lab, the lounge features potables made with herbal bitters, liqueurs designed by monks, and rare ingredients like vanilla from Madagascar, cinnamon from Saigon, and salt from the Himalayas.
The decor is straight out of a movie set with skulls, atomic charts, and old pharmaceutical jars on the walls. Plush vintage sofas mingle with hospital furnishings in a setting that's part lush, part institutional. It's where Dr. Jekyll would have a few drinks.
Albert Trummer, creator of Apotheke in New York's Chinatown, has brought his concept to Miami Beach -- along with bartenders in lab coats who mix potions and elixirs using lab equipment, Bunsen burners, and beakers to make libations like the Mystery of Monasteries; Smoking Jacket; and Hemingway Special.
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The bar officially opens sometime next week, and will be open Monday through Saturday from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. But you might be able to take a walk behind the velvet curtains earlier ... if you dare.