2005_06_food_palaisroyale.jpgGothamist was under the weather this week. Sometimes, as the one thing we learned from our first office job goes, spirits can jolt your system back into the realm of the living. Spirits imbibed at Palais Royale, a very new addition to Mott Street co-owned by a Adrian Gallo of Orchard Bar, were pretty much limited to the official spirit of the United States, bourbon. Definitely a jolt to the beer, wine, sangria and vodka with a splash of tonic diet we've been keeping religiously.

Bourbon non-experts can still feel comfortable in Palais Royale. The night we visited there was a Led Zepplin concert on the flatscreen TVs, Bowie and Sparklehorse played via iPod and people broke in the very new pool table. But if you wanna fake it, Straight Bourbon has got your back with an FAQ where we get our definition of what consitutes bourbon, "...51 percent of the grain used in making this whiskey must be corn (most distillers use 65 to 75 percent corn). Bourbon must be aged for a minimum of two years in new, white oak barrels that have been charred. Nothing can be added at bottling to enhance flavor, add sweetness or alter color." What this means is that when you order a Maker's Mark Manhattan, you can be sure that ingredient will be a constant and it's just up to the bartender to use the other most quality ingredients possible and, you know, not spill it. Admirably, our bartender, Josh, did not spill a single drop. However, for a place that seems to fancy itself a rarified dive with 30 bourbon choices, he was hard pressed to reccomend anything or describe what was repellent about one he didn't like.

Upon continued pressing we made good on the 5pm-9pm happy hour 2-for-1 deal on Manhattans and Margaritas and got another drink. After mentioning the veritable Evan Williams brand, we had a Manhattan with the 10 year vintage. And it was perfect. Besides bourbon, Palais Royale stocks other spirits, beer (Brooklyn and Bud only on tap) and is still bringing in new elements, like a promised jukebox. Until then, cozy up in the raised, velveted nook by the door, check out the fishtank and make it a priority to find the bathroom before you get drunk. Hint: it is not the most obvious door.

Palais Royale
173 Mott Street between Broome and Grand Streets
(212) 941-6112