Creating the World's Best Bar - Twice

Twice awarded 'World's Best Bar', The Dead Rabbit in NYC continues our partnership with Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry that began with their previous 'World's Best Bar' – The Merchant Hotel in Belfast. 

We didn't set out together just to create a bar. We were aiming higher – for a world-recognised brand. The Dead Rabbit is unique in both its industry stature and the quality of design behind it. With over 500 individual projects already completed for the bar, we’ve chosen just a couple to demonstrate the attention to detail it takes to create one of the most awarded bars in history.

The Dead Rabbit New York
The Dead Rabbit New York
The Dead Rabbit New York

NOT JUST A BAR. A BRAND.

Everything stated with the name. But don't let it fool you: there was nothing fluffy about these bunnies. The Dead Rabbits were a notorious Irish street gang of raggle-taggle thieves and thugs. They were enforcers, fixers, hooligans. Their fighting colors were a red ribbon. They carried a dead rabbit on a spike. And John Morrissey led them from the front.

Like the bar’s namesake, the branding didn't come without a fight. Painstakingly hand-rendered before being digitized, the brand encompasses many marks. Below are a few of our favourite elements.

Dead rabbit logo
The Dead Rabbit Menu - Worlds Best
The Dead Rabbit Menu Box Set
The Dead Rabbit Menu Box Set

3 MENUS THAT CHANGED THE INDUSTRY

Each Mixed Drinks List in the trilogy is something special to behold, with a heady mix of leather, violence and good auld Irish storytelling. Two-times winner of 'The World's Best Cocktail Menu' at the Spirited awards, these menus have sold over 20,000 copies in three years and now come with their own box set.

At Drinksology we have nurtured the series of 80+ page hardbacked books from conception to execution. Menu direction, story writing, illustration, design and printing are all part of the work. Each book features a distinct three-part narrative, including features by industry titans Dave Broom and David Wondrich and Master Distiller Barry Crockett. (For the record, these menus are best enjoyed with a fine cocktail.)

The Dead Rabbit Menus
The Dead Rabbit Menu - Worlds Best
The Dead Rabbit Menu - Worlds Best
The Dead Rabbit Menu - Worlds Best
The Dead Rabbit Menu - Worlds Best

If we had to pick one...

The second volume in the set of three tells the story of the rise and fall of the Dead Rabbit leader, John Morrissey with Drinks. The first section contains the drinks listings, written and illustrated in-house and divided into eight sections that parallel the life of the man.

FRESH - Born into poverty Morrissey showed physical promise. He works for Capt. Levi Smith who forbids a relations between his daughter, Susie and Morrissey.

FIERY - A move to Tammany hall where he aquires the nickname 'Old Smoke' after a fight in which he is burned but battles on. His reputation grows.

SHARP - Runs Card Games. First professional bare knuckle bout. Starts his own gambling house with Tammany Hall backing and protection.

STRONG - Over 5000 people watch Morrissey win a bruising 37-round epic against Yankee Sullivan for the national bare-knuckle title.

LOW-SPIRITED - Celebrity grows. Develops bitter rivalry with gang leader Bill Poole. Morrissey endures a savage beating at Poole's hands.

BITTER - In revenge a Morrissey henchman shoots Poole. Poole dies two weeks later, proclaiming himself in death what Morrissey would never be: a true American.

AMBITIOUS - Irish gangs join forces against native gangs in a brutal, bloody mass riot on the 4th of July. The Dead Rabbit Triumph. Morrissey is now King of the Five Points.

CULTIVATED - Morrissey marries forbidden first love, Susie Smith in 1854. But before embracing respectability, he takes on one last battle with childhood nemesis John Heenan. Morrissey wins emphatically to retire undefeathed.

The second section of the book is written by cocktail author and authority Dave Broom and documents the rise and fall of Irish Whiskey. The narrative contains many never before seen images sourced by Drinksology during open access to Irish Distillers archive at Midleton. To further the Midleton connection the third and final section is written by Master Distiller Emeritus, Barry Crockett and extends his views on the renaissance of Irish Whiskey.

The Dead Rabbit New York Menu
The Dead Rabbit New York Menu
The Dead Rabbit New York Menu
The Dead Rabbit New York Menu
The Dead Rabbit New York Menu
The Dead Rabbit New York Menu
The Dead Rabbit New York Menu
The Dead Rabbit New York Menu
The Dead Rabbit New York Menu
The Dead Rabbit New York Menu
The Dead Rabbit New York Menu
The Dead Rabbit New York Menu
The Dead Rabbit New York Menu
The Dead Rabbit New York Menu
The Dead Rabbit New York Menu
The Dead Rabbit New York Menu

There comes a time

After three years of a proven winner of a menu format, it was time to shake up more than just the drinks. The format changed completely from hardback book to soft cover comic or graphic novel. The storytelling remains, but there is a shift from the historical to the fantastical: John Morrissey is reincarnated into 1970s New York – the spirit made flesh. 

He's here, back amongst us with all his unquenchable rage of old intact – for the fight, for money, for respect, for pleasure. And for revenge. So beware, all you blackguards, wretches and rogues. The King is undead. Long live the King.

Over three years we will create six volumes, which will culminate in a hardback graphic novel set with drinks.

The Dead Rabbit New York Menu
The Dead Rabbit New York Menu
The Dead Rabbit New York Menu
The Dead Rabbit New York Menu
The Dead Rabbit New York Menu

Familiar faces in an unfamiliar format

In a unique twist, the six volumes feature an array of contemporary drinks industry legends – David Wondrich, Franky Marshall, Anne Tuennerman Alex Kretana and Simone Caporale, to name but a few – incorporated within our fictional scenarios as various low-lifes: pimps, prostitutes, boxers, thieves (and bartenders of course).

The Dead Rabbit New York illustration
The Dead Rabbit New York illustration
The Dead Rabbit New York illustration
The Dead Rabbit New York illustration

Recognition for a job well done

Since opening in 2012, the Drinksology studio has served as much more than just a design partner. Together with Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry we have pursued a relentless timetable of evolution that has culminated in the highest of recognitions.

Bar Awards:
World’s 50 Best Bars: Best Bar in the World 2016
Tales of the Cocktail: World’s Best Bar 2015
Tales of the Cocktail: World’s Best Cocktail Menu 2013, 2015
Tales of the Cocktail: Best American Cocktail Bar 2014
Tales of the Cocktail: World’s Best Drink Selection 2014
Tales of the Cocktail: World’s Best New Cocktail Bar 2013
Tales of the Cocktail: International Bartender of the Year 2013
World’s 50 Best Bars: Best Bar in North America 2013, 2014
Time Out Magazine: Best New Cocktail Bar 2014
Village Voice: Best New Bar 2013
New York Magazine: Best Everyman’s Bar 2013

Design and Branding Awards:
New York Design Awards: Best Publication 2014
Irish Print Awards: Best Bound Book and Best Graphic Design Categories 2013

Media and PR Awards:
SABRE Award: Best Product Media Relations 2014: Creating the World’s Most Buzzed-About Bar
PR News Platinum Award:  Best Branding PR Campaign Category

The Dead Rabbit New York Award Winning