All the apps that give you back the Apple menu are fine. But you missed something.
Make a folder in your home folder (or anywhere you like), make an alias for your programs (just like you used to in OS 9) and put all the aliases in the new folder (you can put a folder for each category of program in the new folder, just like you used to in OS 9). Drag the new folder next to the bin). Download or make an old style Apple icon, paste it onto the new folder, empty the dock and hey presto.
So it pops up and not down, if this bothers you, you need to get outside more often.
Personally, I don't like excess code on my computers, the best code is the least code needed to do the job. This keeps it all Apple and if your 'puter crashes you have the satisfaction of knowing that it wasn't caused by your new, free, pop up Apple menu.