At 26, Jack McGarry thought he’d reached the zenith of his career.
Three years after he co-founded modern Irish pub The Dead Rabbit, the Lower Manhattan bar topped the list of the World’s 50 Best Bars, an awards program akin to the Oscars for nightlife hospitality. McGarry had been maniacally focused on earning the title, and while it cemented him as an industry star, a sense of hollowness – exacerbated by heavy drinking – soon followed.
In the years since, however, he has abstained from alcohol and focused on The Dead Rabbit as a bar that would carry on the tradition of Irish pubs as a communal gathering space. He’s also been a leading voice in highlighting mental health and education throughout the bar and restaurant industry.
Those priorities will be incorporated into The Dead Rabbit’s expansion, in which the company will open new locations throughout the U.S., beginning next year in Austin and New Orleans. The overarching goal is to champion authentic Irish pubs by incorporating modern art, music and other cultural elements into each bar.
In this episode, McGarry spoke about his journey as an entrepreneur, how the experience of chasing and receiving accolades made him reassess his values and how he’s using his influence to spread awareness about health care and sobriety. He also discussed the ways in which he’s aligning modernity and authenticity in the bar’s ambience, weighed in on no- and low-alcohol spirits and cocktails and the reason that he’s bullish on both, and shared why his meaning of “strategic partners” may noy be what you think.
In this Episode
|0:45: Jack McGarry, Co-Founder & Managing Director, The Dead Rabbit – Taste Radio editor Ray Latif met with McGarry at The Dead Rabbit in New York City, where the bar owner chatted about his distaste for tardiness and moving out of Manhattan before discussing the bar’s expansion plans for 2023. He also explained how The Dead Rabbit is attempting to restore its original vision and essence, why it’s important to root out the underlying issues of alcoholism, particularly within the hospitality industry and how he’s using his platform to call out overindulgence and resulting problems at trade shows and conventions. Later, he discussed the evolution of non-alcoholic options at high-end bars and restaurants and why it’s important to the future of hospitality, why authenticity is often misunderstood and why The Dead Rabbit has historically had low turnover among its employees.|