© Andrew Kist

The Lower Manhattan bar will more than double its capacity over the next few months.

Mike Pomranz
Updated December 14, 2018

Even as someone who drinks professionally, the term “World’s Best Cocktail Bar” sends my anxiety skyward. Having always felt more comfortable drinking brews in a dive bar, the phrase always conjures up images of a scene where I am perpetually underdressed and maybe a bit too prone to slouching. And yet, despite topping The World’s 50 Best Bars list in 2016 – and taking the number 16 spot this year – New York City’s Dead Rabbit never really fell into most of the cocktail bar trappings. Instead, a friendly staff serves up amazing cocktails in the confines of a cozy Irish pub: The cocktail menu even comes in comic book form.

If The Dead Rabbit has any serious problem, it might be that the Financial District bar is too inviting: The 100-person capacity pub is often packed. But that will hopefully change next week. According to Eater NY, the newly expanded ground-floor taproom is set to open on Thursday, December 20, which will more than double the bar’s capacity. Once the second-floor expansion is complete in February, The Dead Rabbit will be able to hold 250 people in total.

The larger space comes with a number of other changes as well. A bigger kitchen will beget new, mostly U.K.-inspired menu additions next year. The bar will open an hour earlier – at 10 a.m. – to better serve the brunch crowd. And the weekend DJs will be replaced by more traditional live music to help mellow out the party crowd.

Overall, co-owner Jack McGarry said the expansion was necessary to keep the space’s service at the level both patrons and ownership have come to expect. It was either that or start falling into one of the bar scene’s other annoying trappings: being bigger jerks at the door. “An Irish pub should never have a strict-door policy,” McGarry told Eater. That’s certainly the “Best” policy I can think of.

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