Restaurant Development & Design

MAY-JUN 2017

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4 2 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 7 says Sellers. "The first thing customers see when they walk in the door are all these tap handles. That creates the visual statement that we are all about beer." "There are bars popping up that specialize in a single spirit — whiskey, gin and mezcal — all bragging about the number of bottles they have on their backbars," notes Dan Beres, beverage director for StandEatDrink Hospital- ity Group in Milwaukee. Beres helped design the bar in the company's recently opened Hotel Madrid. With an extensive list of vermouth and fortified aperitifs, Vermutería 600 takes a page from Hemingway-era Spain with faux trophy heads on the walls and bull-head tap handles on the bar that dispense draft sangria or gin and tonic. GrizForm has had several projects where the beverage is the star, such as the Federal Tap House with 100-plus taps of craft beer and a "crowler" station that cans draft beer for take-home. Craft cocktail bar 2 Birds 1 Stone displays a collection of 200 bottles of bourbon, and each cocktail is served in its own unique glassware. "Layering in all those bottles and 30 dif- ferent glasses at the bar was a challenge," Dwight says. Social Components "Bars are inherently social — places to meet up with friends, family and strangers. So bars have to have a social flow," says Dwight. "When setting up the space, you have to think through different scenarios that might occur." Designers must consider where parties of various sizes can gather, set aside deuces for dates and create areas where guests can easily meet up. "Bar operators aim to create social gathering places," says Miller. That's one reason for the popularity of beer halls with communal tables. In the late 1990s, there was a movement toward lounges with sofas and low coffee tables, he notes, but that trend has faded because the seating was not conducive to conversation. The ten- dency now is toward narrower, bar-height tables, the purpose of which is to bring people together. The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog The five-star Merchant Hotel in Belfast, Northern Ireland, received a wealth of accolades when Jack McGarry and his business partner, Sean Muldoon, worked there. The pair landed in New York City in 2010 with nothing but their suitcases, McGarry recalls. But soon, they established The Dead Rabbit, a bar divided into three distinct floors — each with its own bar. The first floor is an Irish workingman's pub, the second is a classic cocktail bar and the third is a private event space. It is one of the most-awarded drinking establishments, including World's Best Bar in 2015 and 2016. What was the inspiration behind The Dead Rabbit? JM: We feel Irish pubs have been damaged by poor operators, and we're seeking to re- engage our consumers and reframe their misconceptions by giving that Irish hospitality with world-class product and overall experience. We remembered the craft cocktail bar at the Merchant Hotel where we had worked and the workingman's Irish pub, The Duke of York, that we drank in as soon as we finished work. We thought, "Why not bring those two things together in the same place?" But we knew to do it right, it had to be believable — in other words, there had to be something linking the cocktail bar to the pub. We knew that Jerry Thomas published the first cocktail book in New York in 1862 and also knew that the Great Potato Famine occurred in Ireland from 1845-1851 and that a million Irish immigrants landed at the Port of New York during that time. So there was a bit of a connection in that. The Dead Rabbits were an Irish New York gang featured in the film "Gangs of New York." The more we read about it, the more fascinated about the gang and the era we became. So we decided to call the bar after the gang, but the whole reason for doing so was because we wanted to create a workingman's pub and a high-end cocktail lounge in the same place and for it all to make sense. What notable finishes and fixtures were used in construction and decor? JM: The woodwork really sings at The Dead Rabbit; it's all black American walnut, and all of the three bars have varying elements of it. Another significant piece in the Taproom is the mural we commissioned of Louis Lang's 1862 painting "Return of the 69th (Irish) Regiment," depicting Thomas Meagher's arrival at Bowling Green after a tour of duty. In the Taproom, we've also got Henry's Corner, dedicated to our departed friend Henry Besant, who greatly shaped our vision for what The Dead Rabbit should be. He died four weeks before we opened and didn't get the chance to experience it, so we decided to honor him with his own space. It means a lot to myself and Sean. Another piece I'd highlight would be the ceremonial battle cross from "Gangs of New York" that actor Liam Neeson donated to the bar. It hangs on the stairs going from our Parlor to the Occasional. The walls of Dead Rabbit are rich with stories. For much more with Jack McGarry, see rddmag.com/may2017 NICHE: COCKTAIL BAR BEVERAGE BONANZA: BAR DESIGN IN THE GILDED AGE Photo by Andrew Kist

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