Bartender Jack McGarry | The Dead Rabbit - Find. Eat. Drink.

Jack McGarry, Bartender, The Dead Rabbit, New York, NY, Manhattan, Financial District, Downtown, Bar, Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog, Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog, Beers, Cocktails, Drink Recipe, Punch, Punch Bowls, Irish, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Where to drink, where to eat, where to shop, irish Whiskeys, Recommendations, Bartenders Recs, Where bartenders drink, New Yor Recommendations, Best Bars in New York, International Bartender of the Year, Tales Of The Cocktail




Financial District - New York, NY

Q. Congratulations on Tales of the Cocktail International Bartender of the Year award. What do you think are the qualities that make a great bartender?

A. The most important quality is the appetite and determination to be the very best that you can be. To be amongst the best bartenders in the world it’s crucial that you are humble, knowledgable on all topics of bartending and to be very honest, a well rounded person.

There are many amazing ‘mixologists’ across the globe and by that I mean out and out drinkmakers. But to be a great bartender, you have to take on the entire barroom. You have to be constantly thinking about the atmosphere and energy of the room. Are the lights at the correct level? Is the music setting and choice of music correct? Are the servers on top of the floor? Are the restrooms spotlessly clean and equipped, and are all of your guests comfortable? It’s not just making drinks, but also the emphasis on service.

Q. How have the first six months been for you since you’ve opened up the Dead Rabbit?

A. It’s been fantastic from the day we swung our doors open. Obviously, with any opening we have experienced setbacks, but the ethos of the bar and the fact that we are hospitality driven has really struck a chord with our clientele and we built up a loyal following instantly. We are a bar that’s accommodating of everyone from any walk of life. We have no door policy apart from drunk people or idiots.

Typically opening a bar in New York takes at least two years. Nobody can come to New York straight off the boat and open a successful bar. You have to come here, learn about the city, take time to embrace the city, and in turn, the city will embrace you. This city respects hardship and nothing is meant to be easy. You have to get it right from the get-go or this city will chew you up and spit you out. We feel we earned our stripes and went through a great deal of adversity to get where we are and we feel the city has now embraced us. Sean had to leave his home, his wife and step-daughters behind. We came here with nothing and nobody and had to make it work. It was without question the most difficult period in both of our lives.

Q. How is the bar scene different in New York as compared to Belfast?

A. The Belfast bar scene is pretty much dominated by pubs and has little to offer in the way of cocktail bars. The place that Sean Muldoon and I ran called The Bar @ The Merchant Hotel was a stand alone cocktail bar in Belfast. We were determined to make it globally renowned for its beverage program and we did so by winning four Tales of the Cocktail awards. In 2009, we won World’s Best Hotel Bar, World’s Best Cocktail Menu, World’s Best Drinks Selection; and in 2010, we completed our dream and scooped World’s Best Cocktail Bar.

Belfast’s The Merchant Hotel

Photograph courtesy of The Merchant Hotel

It was then we were offered the opportunity to open our ‘dream bar’ in New York City. It’s the Belfast scene that The Dead Rabbit represents, although it’s also a story of old New York during the middle of the 19th century. Our Taproom is reminiscent of our favorite little Belfast boozer called The Duke of York, where you can have an amazing dram of Irish Whiskey or a great pint of Guinness. It’s also our Irish immigrant bar that has sawdust strewn on the floor, a long narrow bar, the largest Irish whiskey selection in New York City, as well as oysters, grog and a grocery. Our second floor Parlor is replicating the sit-down cocktail joint that we had at The Merchant Hotel. It’s a sophisticated sporting mans cocktail lounge reminiscent of the ones you would have found on Broadway back in the day.

Q. Where do you go for Irish food when you’re homesick and what do you recommend ordering?

A. In all honesty, I like The Dead Rabbit for Irish / British food. We have the Fish n’ Chips with tartar sauce and mushy peas; a traditional Irish breakfast with Cumberland sausages, Irish bacon, Heinz baked beans; beef stew; shepherd's pie; corned beef sandwich; Ploughman’s lunch; and proper chips. All of which is the best I've had had in New York City.

New York City | A History

Read Jack’s article on The Gangs of New York and History of The Dead Rabbit.

New York City | A Bartender’s Guide

Find | Liquor

Astor Wines & Spirits

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Astor Wines & Spirits

For liquor choice, it’s the best place I've been to in New York. They have a great selection of everything.

399 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003

T: 212.674.7500 |

Find | Cocktail Equipment

Cocktail Tools @ Cocktail Kingdom

Photograph courtesy of Cocktail Kingdom

Cocktail Kingdom

Equipment-wise, Greg Boehm’s Cocktail Kingdom is a must.

36 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10010

T: 212.647.9166 |

Find | Ingredients

A whole variety of ingredients at Kalustyan’s

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.


I head here for everything ingredients related.

123 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016

T: 212.685.3451 |

Drink | Bars

I’m the type of guy that once I get out from behind the stick, I go to bars to relax and not to talk about cocktail shit. I like to hang out, talk about life and drink some Guinness and ensure my drams of Irish whiskey. My favorite, again I hate to talk about my own place, but it would be the Taproom I'm totally head over heels in love with that room. I've had many a magical night here.

The Swift Hibernian Lounge

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Swift Hibernian Lounge

I also love Swift in the East Village, they have a great pint of stout and with the right company a great night can be had there.

34 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003

T: 212.227.9438 |

McSorley's Old Ale House

A bar I'd definitely take bartenders to. It’s one of the oldest bars in New York and is almost bursting with character.

15 East 7th Street, New York, NY 10003

T: 212.473.9148

Drink | Bars with Music

Sessions at 11th Street Bar

Photograph courtesy of 11th Street Bar

11th Street Bar

I head here if I'm in the mood for an Irish Session. At times, they can have well over 10 people jamming in that place on a Sunday night.

510 East 11th Street, New York, NY 10009

T: 212.982.3929 |

Mona’s on Avenue B

Photo Credit: edenpictures [flickr]


For the music, they have an amazing bluegrass session on Mondays.

224 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

T: 212.353.3780

Drink | Cocktail Bars

The bar at Clover Club in Brooklyn

Photograph courtesy of Clover Club

Clover Club

They have what we call a ‘complete beverage program.’ It’s not only their drinks that are fantastic, but it’s a beautiful place, they have great food, a charming staff, and the atmosphere is always relaxed and unpretentious.

210 Smith Street, New York, NY 11201

T: 718.855.7939 |

Bartender / Owner Jim Meehan at PDT

Photo Credit: David Engelhardt


For the same reasons, I'd also take people to PDT. It’s the quintessential speakeasy bar, but is always a comfortable place.

113 St Marks Place, New York, NY 10009

T: 212.614.0386 |

Maison Premiere

Photograph courtesy of Maison Premiere

Maison Premiere

It’s an amazing concept and a beautiful space to boot. If you score yourself a seat in the back during a beautiful summer night with an Absinthe Pina Colada and some oysters, you're in a good place.

298 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211

T: 347.335.0446 |

More New york City Recs

Download the F.E.D. iPhone app and get more New york City recommendations from other bartenders, chefs, sommeliers and food artisans.

The Dead Rabbit | Punch Recipe

- Bankers Punch


Photo Credit: Gabi Porter



General Information

Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog

Financial District

Cocktails / Beer / Irish

30 Water Street

New York, NY

T: 646.422.7906



Photo Credit: Andrew Kist

Photo Credit: Andrew Kist


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Recommended By

- Bartender Toby Maloney

- Bartender Gaz Regan

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