“The very design of the place allows people to feel more open, trusting and free.” – Stanley George, pharmacist
Welcome back to our food. curated. documentary series on inspiring food artisans and passionate entrepreneurs in the food space!
You’ve seen one pharmacy, you’ve seen them all… until you see Stanley’s Pharmacy, a gold-tinted, bright marigold accented, Drinks+Drugs wellness space tucked into one of the quieter side streets on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Here, Stanley George, the charming and affectionate founder, presides over his unique pharmacy bar, where blue-sky murals and wall-to-wall windows instantly transport you to your own personal perfect day. I wonder: are all these details part of his holistic-healing medical practice? Or just personal good taste? Whatever the intention, these visual cues work wonders on me.
People come from all over the world to visit Stanley. Some visit once or twice a year. Others stop by every day. They come to Stanley’s Pharmacy for modern solutions to their ailments, both body and mind, physical and emotional. And by doing so, they open themselves up to traditions and practices that blend both Eastern and Western medicine. To my surprise, interactions with the pharmacist are unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Stanley doesn’t first ask for my doctor’s slip or my insurance card. He doesn’t even ask me what I’m looking for(at least not right away). Instead, he just talks to me, intensely interested, wondering how my day was, what I battled through this week to get here.
“I want people to be open to all modalities.”
At Stanley’s Pharmacy, I see these customer interactions time and time again: The back and forth of stories. The questioning of self-care rituals. He’s receptive to it all, no matter what you tell him, whether it’s high drama or seems inconsequential. I’m beginning to get the sense he’s trying to gauge our feelings, by going deeper than what a formal doctor’s checklist can gather. So, I join in. I tell Stanley that my commute on the F-train was annoying. I’m exhausted from the delays. The sun has worn me out. And I feel overworked, maybe a little hungover…
After a beat, he tells me to have a seat and instructs his staff on how to care for me. I hear names of ingredients being tossed about, while I slide into a cushion near the window. It may not be a bar, but the service makes it feel that way. A few minutes later, a shot and two dazzling plant-based elixirs appear before me with a smile. I smile back. I drink the kool-aids. Boy, do they have a KICK!
Stanley has been a licensed pharmacist for over 20 years now (after a major u-turn his life took when he was kicked out of seminary – a story definitely worth asking him about!) In our conversations, he keeps returning to one observation that defines his experience of treating people, “There are different streams of consciousness and feeling, and everybody takes different things to arrive at the same place.” Applying up-to-date medical research with Ayurvedic practices, Chinese medicine, and old 19th-century apothecary tricks, Stanley sees his job as a facilitator, to help us discover what we each uniquely need: drink or drugs, teas or supplements. All in all, he isn’t aiming for us to arrive at happiness perse, or even “normalcy.” Moreso, he wants to put our mind/body in a place of balance. When you have balance, you have freedom. I hope you’re inspired to meet him. When I’m out of balance, there’s nothing more healing than Stanley’s Pharmacy elixirs. Enjoy his story!
Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy healing. #eatmorestories