Documenting An Entire Thursday Shift At The Iconic Dead Rabbit
Explorer in Chief Josh Katz recently observed an entire Thursday-night shift — 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. — at the iconic Dead Rabbit (30 Water Street). This is how it went down.
3pm: Prep time. Mario, a bartender, covers the floors with fresh sawdust (an Irish pub tradition for soaking up spilled beer).
3:45pm: Team meeting about new whiskeys and COVID protocols.
Sam, another bartender, surprises the team with homemade cookies.
4pm: Daily team photo in the mirror, a well-loved morale boosting tradition. The bar opens.
5pm: The bar begins to fill.
6pm: Bartender Melissa pours a large round of Guinness, a sign of a return to normal. Last summer’s reopening saw people desperate for cocktails they couldn’t make at home. For weeks, no one ordered beer.
7pm: Bar hits max capacity. Mario takes me up to a closed bar upstairs to show me old menus — masterpieces that double as graphic novels. The bouncer tells me he once served as Michael Jordan’s private guard for an evening.
8pm: Energy is up, food and drink are flowing. The staff never wastes a moment to keep up with the rush. Melissa actually notes it’s a “slower” night.
9pm: The bartenders are all masterful conversationalists, gracefully maintaining multiple conversations with patrons.
10pm: Some drinkers head home and others pick up steam. Thick wooden barriers between tables keep cross-group interaction to a minimum.
11:30pm: Staff begin clearing up ahead of the midnight curfew.
12am: After nine hours on their feet, street clothes go on. Tips are distributed. Staff enjoy dinner. Through the exhaustion, the banter persists.
photos: Josh Katz