Foreword from the Editor: This is part 2 of a 3-part series on the Dead Rabbit, written by a frequent visitor. If you haven’t already, read Part 1 first for an excellent introduction to the bar.
Where to Drink (which floor): This bar is actually 3 bars:
- The Taproom (1st floor): A (typically) crowded Irish-American pub throwback but less cocktail-focused;
- The Parlor Room (2nd floor): This is where the magic happens and what earned the Rabbit its Best Bar In The World (2015 and 2016) and any host of other incredible bar, menu, program, etc. honors. You need to tell the doorman that you’d like to visit the Parlor Room, often times there will be some kind of a wait, you will be given a buzzer and a host or hostess will come and collect you when it’s time. This space was also recently expanded and doubled in size, though the proportion of bar seats to tables did not expand proportionately… unfortunately.
- The Occasional Room (3rd floor): It is what it sounds like, it’s open occasionally. This room can be rented out and used for private functions. It’s open for the bar’s annual staff parties, I have also been up there on a Sunday during brunch when the other floors were packed.
What to Drink: The prices are typical of high-end Manhattan cocktail bars: $18/drink for every cocktail. As I mentioned previously, the drinks here are wildly creative, so there are a vast number of drinks that will be unlike anything that you’ve ever tried before – talk to your bartender for advice. Jillian is the head of the bar program in the Parlor Room (second floor) and she has been there since the beginning. Her knowledge of the menus is vast and if she’s there, she’s your best bet.
The Irish Coffee is one of the things they’re famous for at DR (lest you forget this is an Irish bar with two Irish owners). I have to concur, the Irish Coffee here is one of the best I’ve ever had, even giving that of the famous Buena Vista Café in San Francisco a run for its money. Link to the liquor.com recipe here and tips on punchdrunk here.
My favorite drink that I’ve tried here (and I have not come close to trying nearly all of them) is a hot drink from the Vol. 5 menu, the last drink on that menu: The Jailbird. It has the same wonderful cream float as the Irish Coffee, but it’s a strong amber split-base tipple that warms the soul made with calvados and bourbon, supported by madeira and filled out with macadamia, almond extract, rose water and Dale Degroff bitters. This drink has to be batched and so it may or may not be available on the menu at any given point in time. However, the recipe is now available online and can be found here.
The Black Rose is a drink off of one of the bar’s earliest menus and is a great bet for those who like a somewhat more spirit-forward and lovely tipple, smacks of bergamot as well and uses Tullamadore Dew.
Downstairs there are a number of great beers and solid cocktails available, but please note that DR will always have at least 1 cask ale on tap! For my part, there are certain times/seasons when no drink in the world suits my needs more perfectly than a hand pumped cask ale. That said, Guinness still rules the roost in the Taproom.
Food: Food here is excellent and for the most part is very fairly priced (by Manhattan standards). The lamb-chop lollipops are exceptional, albeit a touch pricey at $8 per bite-sized pop. They offer solid pork belly sliders with fried quails eggs on top which are solid but oddly seem to have become standard fare at a number of cocktail bar food programs in recent years. Lamb burger is also generally good, I would recommend it, but… the only thing you ever need to know about the food program here is the chicken pot pie. No joke, it’s the best chicken pot pie you’ll ever have.
There are no chunks of bleached-white chicken breast or sloppy thigh meat here. No store bought pie crust resting atop a tin full of contents. Here you have a full perfectly flaky individual pie, packed with excellent, fresh, juicy pulled breast meat and assorted veg. Classic style gravy on the side. Go in for this when you’re seriously hungry, wash it down with a Guinness and you won’t be hungry again for some time. Honestly, when I discovered this, I largely stopped ordering any other food here, there’s really no point. Two of the most disappointing nights in the past year for me were showing up to the Rabbit around 2:00 am starving after some late work nights and ordering the pot pie and receiving burnt pies. Only happened twice (out of like 40+ pies) and I never complained, but if it happens to you on your first try, know that it’s an anomaly.