On a quiet strip in New York’s Financial District, The Dead Rabbit ranges over two floors of an 1828 townhouse. Downstairs is a taproom serving craft beers and more than 50 Irish whiskies; the upstairs Parlor is a wood-paneled cocktail lounge where Jack McGarry (pictured), a native of Belfast, Northern Ireland, presides. He’s determinedly retro in attitude and taste and aims to celebrate the arrival of the Irish in America. “It’s about hospitality,” he says, “and that era embodied it.” Cue the gratis snifter of a house cocktail and the encyclopedic list loaded with fresh takes on 19th-century classics like possets, cobblers and fizzes. McGarry included a raft of absinthes for historical accuracy, but he’s been dazzled by the popularity of drinks like the Swiss Style, which tops off the liquor with almond syrup, orange flower water and club soda. The bar’s name refers to John Morrissey, a penniless immigrant from Tipperary who went on to become a multimillionaire, a heavyweight boxing champ and the leader of a gang of thugs nicknamed Dead Rabbit, or dead raibead in Gaelic, meaning “a man to be very fearful of.” McGarry’s saloon, while much friendlier, is no less awe-inspiring. At 30 Water St.; deadrabbitnyc.com.
Drinks at The Dead Rabbit
New York’s newest watering hole is an Irish bar that’s right on the money.