The team behind the world-renowned Irish pub The Dead Rabbit in the Financial District is bringing a contemporary spinoff concept The Irish Exit to the Moynihan Train Hall this fall, its cofounder and owner Jack McGarry confirms.
It will join nearly a dozen other high-profile food businesses — from Blue Bottle Coffee to Birch Coffee, H&H Bagels and Magnolia Bakery — at the $1.6 billion expansion of Penn Station that debuted in 2021. The Dead Rabbit opened in a 19th-century townhouse in the Financial District a decade ago. It has since earned numerous accolades and is considered one of the best bars in the world. The brand also has other spinoff concepts including The Taproom, The Parlor and The Occasional Room, all of which aim to showcase Ireland’s community-driven culture.
“For me Irish pubs are a community gathering place, a third place where people go for connection and restoration,” McGarry, a Belfast-native, tells What Now New York. “That’s an essential aspect of Irish pubs, which has been corroded due to the commodification and caricaturization of Irish pubs and, more broadly, Irish culture in America and, to a lesser degree, in Ireland.”
The Irish Exit will be a fast-casual and tech-savvy spinoff of its flagship concept, using QR-code interfaces so that its on-the-go clientele can enjoy with ease. The Irish Exit came about in part due to a partnership with the consultancy Experience Threee that the team hired to help scale their business specifically for transit hubs. McGarry says customers can expect more outposts to crop up at train stations and airports within the next three years, including an unrevealed location that will open within the next 12-18 months.
Last year the team announced that The Dead Rabbit would open up in Austin and New Orleans. Its first Texas location is slated to open early next year in time for both St. Patrick’s Day and the SXSW music festival; however its first Louisiana location is currently undergoing delays, so there is no set timeline at press time. He also shares that another undisclosed location of The Dead Rabbit will be open by next summer.
McGarry started his career as a bartender in Belfast, slowly working his way up the ranks. With a decade of experience operating his own brand under his belt, he remains humble when asked how it feels to reflect on his accomplishments.
“I’m not a rear-view mirror type of person,” he says. “I’m very much focused on the road ahead, and the challenges that have yet to be conquered, and we [have] some incredibly exciting challenges ahead of us.”
McGarry cofound The Dead Rabbit with fellow Northern Irishman Sean Muldoon who has since left the company and opened a cocktail bar called Hazel and Apple in Charleston, South Carolina.