The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog, an Irish-American tavern located near Wall Street, has been named the best bar in the world by Drinks International magazine.
The bar finally moved to the number one spot on The World’s 50 Best Bars list after remaining in second place for two years.
In describing why The Dead Rabbit won first place this year, The World’s 50 Best Bars writes “the Dead Rabbit is more than the sum of its liquid parts, fusing as it does colourful historical references to the city’s 19th-century Water Street rough-neck pub set and Lower Broadway’s genteel cocktail imbibers in an atmosphere of Irish-American hospitality.”
The bar, which is housed in a four-floor brick building on Water Street, in Manhattan, was opened in 2013 by Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry, two friends from Belfast.
The Dead Rabbit, which takes its theme from the Irish who settled in New York in the 1800s, is named after a gang from Five Points.
“The idea was to bring Irish pub culture together with high end cocktail culture in a way that made sense. I had to bring together an Irish idea with a cocktail idea, so I thought about New York in the 1840s and 50s,” Muldoon told IrishCentral last year.
“I knew a million Irish immigrants had arrived to New York from famine torn Ireland in the between 1845-1851, and I knew that Jerry Thomas wrote the first ever published cocktail guide in New York in 1862. So I knew from the outset that something was happening here in that time period that brought both traditions together.
“During my research about the era I read about the gangs of New York, the Dead Rabbits and their one-time leader John Morrissey.”
The bar's beautiful illustrated cocktail menu chronicles the life of Morrissey, and the 72 cocktails listed are sectioned based on their flavor profile to represent the eight stages of his life.
The Dead Rabbit is split into two spaces. The ground floor houses an informal pub serving craft beer, bottled punch and 145 varieties of Irish whiskey. Upstairs is the quieter Parlor, where small plates are served all evening.
“Muldoon and McGarry’s perfectionism is illustrated in their menu of 72 historically accurate cocktails – expanded from last year’s 64 and including 30 new libations – diligently served by gracious, attentive ’tenders and accompanied by a selection of food plates that far transcend any dietary requirements of our eponymous hero – Baby Field Green Salad notwithstanding,” wrote The World’s 50 Best Bars.
Earlier this year, actor Liam Neeson surprised the bar with a special present. Neeson, who played Priest Vallon, the fiction leader of the Dead Rabbits in the 2002 film ‘Gangs of New York’ gave the bar the massive Celtic Cross his character carries with him in the movie.
The Dead Rabbit continues to win accolades. The Business Insider has named it the best bar in America for two years in a row. And in 2015, Tales of the Cocktail, in New Orleans, named The Dead Rabbit the World’s Best Bar. It also gave the bar the World’s Best Cocktail Menu award.