114 Franklin St., New York, NY (@ West Broadway)
It wouldn’t be called Theater Bar without theatrics, and theatrics does this Moulin Rouge-meets-La Vie En Rose “stage” have in spades. Albert Trummer from Apotheke sets a gallant scene with thick satin curtains and rich oil paintings reminiscient of Vienna or Paris in the 1930s, where your bartender is of course the star of the show. Not surprisingly, actors were hired for these principal roles – some of them scouted as far away as Italy and Vegas. The menu is organized into five “acts,” thematically grouped and each bylined by a different mixologist: Appertivi and Champagne, Asian and Latin American, Mayan and Aztec, Harlem Renaissance and Alchemy and Illusions, the last act rumored to contain a magic trick – but only if you snag a private room. “Startender” performances make the art films displayed by the projector screen on the back wall forgettable: a nightly show, full of shaking, mixing, pouring, and flaming all while the back beat from the DJ booth plays on.