Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog
Neighborhood: Financial District
Address and phone: 30 Water St (646-422-7906)
There is no shortage of juleps and sours on today's classical-minded cocktail menus, but the presence of possets and bishops? Those intriguing 19th-century concoctions—along with an array of daisies, fizzes, and punches—are why imbibers couldn't wait for the long-delayed Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog to debut in the cocktail-starved Financial District. Even before its doors opened this January, the Dead Rabbit garnered endless hype, which left skeptics wondering if Irish transplant Sean Muldoon's bi-level dream bar would be as thrilling as everyone hoped. After all, Demi Monde, the neighborhood's other attempt at fancy cocktails, was a flop.
Well, six months in, things are looking damn good. Night after night, the place swells with a mix of obligatory finance guys in the downstairs Taproom—some of whom are happy sipping on Stella just like they're at any other lackluster pub in the area—and others who feel adventurous tackling a gussied-up vodka and soda with fresh lime syrup and house-made bitters. The parlor upstairs is just as packed, but with a slightly different crowd—mostly couples and members of the cocktail cognoscenti. They are all equally excited to sample one of the more than 70 historic and cerebral preparations from Jack McGarry, such as the Automobile, featuring Parfait Amour liqueur, absinthe, celery cordial, champagne, and celery shrub bitters.
Thanks to bar snacks like a spot-on sausage roll and thick chips to dunk into Old Bay mayo, happy hour seamlessly morphs into dinner. — Alia Akkam