News that Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon had won the World’s Best Bar once again with popular New York bar The Dead Rabbit went viral earlier this year.
That’s because it featured two local men, who went from working in The Merchant in Belfast, to moving out to New York on a whim to make a dream happen.
Belfast-natives Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon worked together at The Merchant Hotel Belfast, before relocating to New York to establish the award-winning and critically acclaimed Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog.
In addition to winning the award for World’s Best Bar twice, the duo have been awarded worldwide accolades including World’s Best Cocktail Menu 2013, 2015, International Bartender of the Year 2013 (Jack McGarry), and World’s Best Drink Selection 2014 – to name a very limited few.
The eccentric bar quickly become renowned for its fantastic Cocktail menu, but they also made the place as homely as possible by covering the pub’s walls in artwork that tells the story of Irish people in New York.
Adding to the sense of home, the menu features meals like bangers and mash, braised rabbit, shepherd’s pie and – of course – an Irish breakfast. Even better, you can buy Irish groceries over the counter.
But on New Year’s Eve, the duo shared this inspirational message on their Facebook page, describing just a little bit of the struggle that went on behind the scenes in order to realise their ambitions:
“Five years ago, while working at The Merchant Hotel, Belfast, we were given the opportunity of a lifetime. A regular customer, who had become a friend, offered us the chance to pack everything up and have a shot at opening a bar in New York. He’d invest in us, help us with visas, accommodation and money.”
“So we did it, and before we knew it we were in Manhattan, happily stood behind the bar of the best bar in the world. Except it wasn’t that simple at all…”
“For a good year we had no money. Let me tell you, New York is not a town you want to be in with no money.”
“We slept on sofas, worked odd jobs and spent what seemed like an eternity looking for the right building. When we did find it, we had licensing, community boards and the small matter of Hurricane Sandy to contend with. But we got there, and all the deliberations and tribulations are woven deep into the fabric of what makes us The Dead Rabbit.”
“So why am I telling you all this on this New Year’s Eve, five years later? Well, today is the day we have officially worked off that initial investment and become legal owners in The Dead Rabbit!”
“2015 has been a year beyond kind to us, from industry awards to the awarding of green cards, and the transition from owners in name to owner in deed.”
“If you’re thinking big for 2016, our advice is to go forth and do it. Take those chances, give it all up and bet on getting more back. If a dream wants to take you halfway round the world, then follow it.”
“Be bold, be patient. Success is rarely achieved overnight. Unless you call five years overnight.”
“Happy New Year from everyone at The Dead Rabbit!”