In a cramped but seductive barroom (which doubles as a restaurant), new Williamsburg bar the Regal not only takes a page from the manual of Lower East Side sister restaurant Hotel Chantelle, but also from every frat party to which I’ve ever had the pleasure of being dragged. Housed in the Hope Garage, the polished 70-seat diner-cocktail bar is right in the middle of already bar-saturated Williamsburg. Although, who are we kidding? An extensive concentration of bars in one area is hardly a problem, especially one like the Regal, which is already getting a rep for being a reliable late night spot serving classic comfort food and impressive cocktails.
Standout drinks include the Powder Keg, a concoction of barrel aged rye, cinnamon clove syrup, apple cider, lemon, which is both smooth and refreshing and bears something of a resemblance to a Moscow Mule—in terms of how it’s served and its kick of flavor. The Hurricane, though, a classic New Orleans cocktail, was more of a tropical depression, tasting more of virgin fruit punch than a cocktail involving two types of rum. The late night food menu is strong, with chicken and waffle sliders that are a perfect blend of spicy, sweet, and savory. We just recommend that, to best enjoy your meal, you opt to dine-in rather than stand near the bar where you risk being swallowed by a crowd of bros.
And to be fair, we still carry a beer pong ball in our purse for emergencies (though a beer pong-emergency has yet to arise) and so we can’t really pass judgment on all the former frat-stars. And who knows, the clientele might change overtime. However, when it’s crammed with callous patrons who exhaust the laid-back atmosphere that the Regal might otherwise exude with its elegant and dimly lighted granite bar and candle-strewn dining space, it does start to feel like the spot is an extension of the worst of the LES bar scene, a feeling that gets harder and harder to shake as the night progress, which is an unfortunate thing for the bar—and the area’s bar scene, on the whole.
163 Hope Street, Williamsburg