The Palace of Wonders is unique, to say the least. The latest venture from the owners of Mount Pleasant mainstays Tonic and Radius Pizza, the Palace of Wonders is a carnival sideshow, museum, bar, and vaudeville spectacular all rolled into one.
The space features two floors of sideshow relics from 19th-century dime museums—and they’re the real deal. Last year, collector James Taylor brought his treasures to Washington from the American Dime Museum in Baltimore, which closed in February. Not wanting to box up his collection permanently, Taylor helped open the Palace of Wonders, where he currently serves as the bar’s curator.
Though the Palace is only large enough to house a third of Taylor’s collection, the items include Fivey the five-legged beagle, a turkey-headed chicken, a plaster cast of “Lobster Boy” Grady Stiles’s hand, a killer rat chewing a blood-soaked bone, and a tattooed mummy arm.
The Palace of Wonders also features a vaudeville stage, outdoor seating, and two bars. Crowds pack in Thursdays through Saturdays for burlesque, sideshow, and vaudeville acts, which include sword swallowers, contortionists, monkeys, and magicians. The bar also hosts female arm wrestling, game-show trivia, movie nights, and other events. Check the online calendar before heading over to see what’s in store.