The Dead Rabbit is multiplying. The cocktail bar and pub in Lower Manhattan has plans to open new branches in New Orleans and Austin, Texas, in 2023, with hopes to open other locations in the next five years. A sister bar, called Hazel and Apple, will open in Charleston, SC, later this year.
The Dead Rabbit opened on Water Street in 2013 as a backward-glancing cocktail emporium meant to evoke the drinking life of 19th-century New York. Its ambitious, two-pronged expansion represents a division of spells for the bar’s two founders, Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry, both natives of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Mr. McGarry, 33, will spearhead the growth of the Dead Rabbit brand, while Mr. Muldoon, 50, along with the Dead Rabbit beverage director Jillian Vose, 37, will move to Charleston in August to run Hazel and Apple.
Ms. Vose has stepped down as the Dead Rabbit’s beverage director—a new beverage director will be named soon—and she will be a partner in the new Charleston bar. Mr. Muldoon will retain his shares in the Dead Rabbit, and that bar’s investors will have a stake in Hazel and Apple.
The Charleston bar, with a name inspired by a William Butler Yeats poem, will be at 549 King Street. It will hold up to 270 people, with a pub room in front (the Hazel of the name), a seasonal cocktail bar in back (the Apple) and an outdoor bar.
The Dead Rabbit in New Orleans is planned to open in early 2023; it will hold up to 170 guests in a three-story, 19th-century townhouse at 616 Conti Street in the French Quarter, across the street from the Louisiana Supreme Court building. The Austin location will open in late 2023.
Over time, the Dead Rabbit has come to emphasize its Irish-pub inclinations. The brand has been bolstered over the years with a series of books, most recently “Paddy Drinks,” about Irish whiskey cocktails, and the Dead Rabbit name was licensed for a whiskey. Mr. McGarry said the bar’s new direction will mean “pivoting to a contemporary-focused pub with a gentler touch.” The bar’s mascot, an ornery, musclebound rabbit-man hybrid, will be retired.
The Dead Rabbit already had plans to expand before Covid brought things to a halt. But the effects of the pandemic cast the two men’s differing visions into high relief. “The pandemic crystallized where we were both at,” Mr. McGarry said.
“Charleston is what I really want right now,” Mr. Muldoon said. “I want that pace of life. I want to slow down.”