If you prefer whiskey, you already know Downtown's Seven Grand.

But what about Bar Jackalope?

Look for an unmarked door near the back of Seven Grand. Push the white button. When someone answers, request a table.

Modeled after the posh whiskey lounges of Japan, the 18-seat Jackalope is a relaxing respite from the lively main bar outside: Coltrane records spin on an antique gramophone and the walls are adorned with distinguished taxidermy. An impeccably dressed bartender stirs perfect Manhattans and Old Fashioneds.

Inside Bar Jackalope

Slide into a black leather booth and examine the menu, with its selection of more than 120 bottles of bourbon, rye, scotch and other whiskies from around the world--many of them exceedingly rare, like the Pappy Van Winkle 23-Year.

The Tokyo-style Highball ($14) is a great place to start: made with Suntory Hakushu 12-year, it has already earned accolades. "An ambassador from Suntory called it the best highball he's had in North America," says Pedro Shanahan, one of Bar Jackalope's managers.

Small snifter flights allow you to sample freely, comparing the spicy funk of Old Potrero 18th Century Rye ($7) to the mellow peatiness of Connemara Single Malt ($5).

Shanahan suggests a drop of water to awaken the flavor. "A single drop has more impact than you'd think."

Now this is what we call education.