Having just been bequeathed the title of ‘Best Bar in the World’ the previous week, it’s safe to assume I arrived at The Dead Rabbit with sky high expectations.
They weren’t met.
This ‘cavernous jewel’ might have been one of the only bars still open at 2am Friday night in the ghostly Financial district, but it was certainly not the best. At one stage my friend and I waited over 25 minutes for 2 cocktails(no exaggeration or embellishment), it was very literally more than 25 minutes.
2 bartenders behind the bar. A week after you’ve been chosen as the industry leader, bar buff, champion of champions, and you have two bartenders on, on a Friday night?? No logic whatsoever, and the struggle to abate the heaving crowd of cocktail mongers was real. People were pissed off, the drinks were coming out way too slow.
No fault of the bartenders – they were very simply next to none, it was evidently the fault of poor scheduling or mismanagement, and the night suffered. Beads of sweat dripped from behind the beautiful fortress of wood, bitters and potions atop the bar, and the sense of frustration was tangible.
When we did get those cocktails, and a previous round that also took about 15 minutes to arrive, one of them was missing at least two ingredients and had to be remade. The rest however were indeed world-class, and very strong. Cocktail drinking in New York is not for the faint of heart, or the light of weight. They pack the spirits and think about the rest later. The craftsmanship and skill behind the bar was incredible, but still couldn’t make up for the fact we were waiting so long. You’d be hard pressed to find a wait for a drink that long at an All Ireland Final/Superbowl.
What killed me most about the situation was the knowledge that back in Ireland, where the owners herald from, the wait would cause outrage and maniacal furore from patrons, it just would not stand.
Saving Grace: an extremely cool and really busy cocktail bar with a mixed crowd and enormous drinks offering. Will return on a quieter night to visit the upstairs quarter and chow down on some Shepard’s Pie.
Priority 1: Even if it’s understaffed, it’s still The Best Bar in the World.
The Dead Rabbit: 30 Water St, New York, NY 10004