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The Dead Rabbit, One of NYC’s Best Cocktail Bars, Is Expanding to D.C.

The acclaimed watering hole plants roots in Penn Quarter next year

A bartender adds a garnish to a cocktail, the Irish coffee from the cocktail bar the Dead Rabbit.
Irish coffee is a destination drink at the Dead Rabbit.
Liz Clayman/the Dead Rabbit
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

A parade of expertly made Irish coffees is coming to Penn Quarter next year. The Dead Rabbit, the essential New York pub that just celebrated a decade at the foot of the Financial District, has picked D.C. for its third U.S. location.

The 6,200-square-foot wonderland of Irish whiskeys will open in Penn Quarter some time next year, but not before its previously announced Austin edition arrives in early 2024. Per a press release, which doesn’t name the exact address, the two-level saloon will sit in a “historic D.C. building” located blocks from Capital One Arena and the National Portrait Gallery. Death & Co, another big-name cocktail group out of NYC, made its long-awaited D.C. debut this summer in Shaw. The Dead Rabbit appears to be taking over the brick-framed space that long housed Pi Pizzeria (910 F Street NW), reports Washington Business Journal.

The Dead Rabbit’s beverage director Aidan Bowie, director of operations Laura Torres, and managing partner Jack McGarry.
Nicholas Lee Ruiz

“We are on a mission to decouple the American-Irish pub from its inaccurate stereotypes, and that can’t be done with one location in New York,” says managing partner Jack McGarry.

The Belfast native co-founded the Dead Rabbit in 2013 in hopes of becoming a polished, modern-day answer to a gimmicky Times Square Irish pub, and now the FiDi bar consistently ranks as one of the World’s 50 Best. Situated in a 19th-century townhouse, the five-story original is known for its Emerald Isle “trifecta” of perfectly poured pints of Guinness; Irish whiskey; and Irish coffee, plus a recently expanded collection of cocktails from Ireland and elsewhere. Look for Irish pub grub like lamb stews, fish and chips, and corned beef hash and its longstanding Sunday ritual of Irish breakfasts and roasts.

Dead Rabbit’s chosen D.C. neighborhood lost a beloved Irish bar during the pandemic when Fado closed after a 22-year run. The Dubliner, considered the patriarch of D.C.’s Irish bar community since 1974, doesn’t sit too far away. But McGarry doesn’t mind being around other Irish institutions — he welcomes it.

“We wanted to make sure we were going into cities that had an appreciation of Irish culture, a strong Irish narrative built into the city, a prevalence of Irish pubs, and Irish-related cultural aspects,” McGarry told Eater Austin last year.

The Dead Rabbit’s previously announced expansion to New Orleans is currently on hold, per a release. Belfast-based design and marketing firm Crown Creative will help retain its core identity across all future locations.

Look for an expansive Irish whiskey program to go along with a modern Irish playlist and live performances full of fiddles and uilleann pipes. The Dead Rabbit’s destination events in NYC include its epic Paddy’s not Patty’s Festival and Jingle Jangle holiday takeover.