A Bar Fit for a Prince or a Pauper

Don't be intimidated by Palais Royale's fancy-schmancy French name, its comprehensive bourbon list, or its more upscale downstairs neighbor (Double Happiness). Really it is just a tiny, unassuming Chinatown whiskey bar. In this narrow room with charming pressed-tin ceilings and exposed-brick walls, you can have your pick of over 40 varieties of bourbon, from the usual suspects like Maker's Mark to interesting small labels like a 12-year-old, 90-proof Elijah Craig ($8) or Blanton's, a caramel-tasting single-barrel bourbon ($9). Don't know anything about Scotch's Kentucky brother? The friendly bartenders are only too happy to help. Though if you're still not interested in the brown stuff, the three beers on tap (Bud, Yuengling, and Brooklyn Lager) are always cheap ($3 to $4 for a mug, $6 for a 32-ounce Bud). The bar's homey vibe is enhanced with plenty of pub games—darts, pool, and an old-school Sega Genesis—a greatest-hits-heavy jukebox, and a two-for-one happy hour from 6 to 9 p.m. So, while this hidden treasure may be named "royal palace," it's really a pub for the people.

 
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