Cheers to The Dead Rabbit

Despite it seeming to have been burned into my genes, I have never been much for drinking. Call it something between a character quirk, a lifestyle choice, and an explicit desire to not act like a complete fool. It was only within the last five years or so that I began to appreciate alcohol a bit more.

New York, being a rather thirsty city, has endless opportunities for those who need a drink. Dive bars, frat bars, pubs, trendy cocktail lounges, speakeasies – the city manages to run the gamut from slouchy to upright, from $2 PBR to $15+ for a mid-shelf cocktail.

Over the last decade, I had not yet found *that one place* to drink, the bar that feels like home. Something not snooty, not a dive, but just kind of nice. Somewhere with character, but not a gimmick. Somewhere preferably with decent food (because drinking on an empty stomach is deadly). A decent location. Those sorts of things.

It was April 27th of last year when I first stepped foot into The Dead Rabbit, and knew pretty quickly that I had finally found *that one place*. Downstairs was pints and meat pies, an absurd collection of irish whiskey, and high-quality takes on classic cocktails. Upstairs was teacups of punch and dollar oysters, someone at the piano, and bartenders in red shirts and suspenders moving so rapidly between tincture bottles it’s occasionally indistinguishable from magic.

I defy anyone to try the Irish Coffee and not fall in love.

So try to ignore their daunting list of industry honors after only being open one year: “Best New Bar”, “World’s Best Cocktail Menu”, those sorts of things. Try to put the long wait to get upstairs out of mind. It’s worth it. It’s incredibly worth it. And I say that as someone who’s not much of a drinker.

To Jack, to Pam, to Chris, to Anna, to James, to Laura: happy birthday, friends, and thank you for everything.

NYC 10: The Best

Last month marked 10 years since we moved to New York City. I’m writing on a variety of topics to reflect on a decade in one of the best cities in the world. Read all the posts.

New Yorkers are generally stereotyped by being rude; in truth, they’re just strongly opinionated. With that in mind, here are a number of things I am right about, in alphabetical order.

The best Apple Store in NYC is West 14th Street, as it is rarely crowded or busy.

Inside Chinatown Fair

The best arcade is Chinatown Fair, although this is mostly because it’s the only arcade worth a damn at this point. It’s lost something since its hole-in-the-wall years (as pictured above), but it still has a good selection of music games and a couple fighters.

King Henry's Road NW3

The best bar in NYC is The Dead Rabbit. Busy Irish pub downstairs, crazy speakeasy cocktails upstairs. If you’re downstairs, get the Irish Coffee; if you’re upstairs, get the Ginger Daisy.

The best barbecue in NYC is Mighty Quinn’s. The brisket and pulled pork is unreal.

The best coffee in NYC – and this is, admittedly, a very tough pick – is the Iced Latte at Cafe Grumpy. Any Stumptown or Blue Bottle location is also acceptable.

The Troll 2 Experience

The best comedy venue in NYC is UCB Theatre. I’ve seen Aziz Ansari, Paul Scheer, Bobby Moynihan, Julie Klausner, and plenty of others build their careers there.

The best doughnut in NYC can be found at Doughnut Plant. I am partial to the Vanilla Bean & Blackberry.

Schnitzel & Things Line at 12:08

The best food truck in NYC is Schnitzel And Things. Chicken platter, fries and cukes, spicy mayo.

The best fried chicken in NYC is Hill Country Chicken. Eat downstairs. Don’t skip the pie.

The best lobster roll in NYC is Luke’s Lobster. Practically perfect.

The best mocha in NYC (which is very different from best coffee) is at Lucid Cafe. I don’t know how they make it but it is downright magical.

The best movie theatre in NYC is Regal Battery Park Stadium 11. Somehow, it is still a secret, despite everyone I know agreeing on this point.

The Cloisters

The best museum in NYC is The Cloisters, not because it’s got a particularly vibrant collection or strong curation, but because it is so far out of the way that you don’t feel like you’re in the biggest city in the world.

The best music store in NYC, and the best place to buy movies, is Kim’s Video and Music. I miss their old location, but they are vital for DVD and vinyl collectors.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Sakura Field

The best park in NYC is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, especially in the spring.

The best pizza in NYC is at Motorino.

The best ramen in NYC is at Hide-Chan Ramen. You get a free topping Monday through Wednesday. Get extra pork.

The best overall restaurant in NYC – and by “overall”, I mean balancing the service and quality of food against price – is Gramercy Tavern. I have a solo lunch here every year on my birthday, and it’s where we go on our anniversary. Yes, Per Se is gorgeous, and Le Bernardin does amazing things with seafood, and I eat at North End Grill every week – but Gramercy just hits this balance of everything so well that it’s a solid level above the rest.

Gallow Green

The best rooftop bar in NYC is Gallow Green. Gorgeous in the summer. Yes, it’s expensive – it’s a rooftop bar. That’s how these things work.

The best sandwich in NYC is the prime rib sandwich at the Rosticceria inside of Eataly. This is a sandwich I come into the city for on my days off. It’s only available until about 5 PM, so plan accordingly.

The best subway line is the N. While I take the E every day because of its copious cell signal coverage (and that its the best choice for my commute), it’s hard to beat the path the N cuts diagonally across the island.

The best sushi in NYC is at 15 East. Be forewarned, it’s expensive – sitting at the counter for lunch is the best way to try it.

The best video game store is Video Games New York. The shelves are legendary, and sometimes pricey, but their selection is unmatched.

Always A Lighthouse, Always A Man, Always A City

infinite-street

So Bioshock Infinite came out yesterday.

infinite-battleshipbay

While I generally try to save all my praise for games until the end of the year, I’m going to make an slight exception for this one to tell you, in the present, that it’s really, really fantastic.

infinite-forward

If you’re not already playing it, you should push everything else onto your backlog so you can go play it. (Preferably the PC version, if you can.)

infinite-sky

What are you still doing here? Go play it.

Disclaimer: My wife works for Take-Two Interactive, parent company of both the developer (Irrational Games) and the publisher (2K Games) of Bioshock Infinite. This recommendation would still be coming even if she didn’t work for them.