124 Old Rabbit Club
Ratings: 23 | Reviews: 20 | Display Reviews Only:
4.44/5 rDev +3.7%
As the bartender put it the last time I was there, "We're not for everyone, but we don't want to be." You have to know where to look in order to find this bar, which keeps the NYU kids from wandering in after hitting the more conspicuous joints along Macdougal Street.
The bar itself is very much like a rabbit hole. Dark, small, secluded, and perhaps most importantly, below ground level. The walls behind the bar are so densely covered with flyers, notes, stickers, etc., that they're pretty much indiscernible, but you can still make out the rabbit theme, particularly from the large murals on the opposite wall.
Not the best place to judge a beer's appearance, since a candle needs to be lighted for each and every guest in order for them to be able to read the handwritten menu. The beers are almost all Belgian and German imports, but are all selected with extremely loving care, and still manage to be much more diverse and unique than those of any other Belgian beer bar in Manhattan (I'm looking at you, Vol de Nuit!).
You're likely to be one of two or three people in there during the week. On weekends, there is a slight chance you won't get a seat at the bar. In other words, despite the small size, this place doesn't get too crowded. Mostly because the only people who know how to even find it are beer enthusiasts, which definitely adds to the appeal.
The bartenders are not at all pretentious, and are more than willing to either gently and capably steer customers in the right direction, or to learn from them! They are always pleasant.
I'd make this a regular hangout spot if prices weren't so high. Be prepared to be a bit taken aback by the dollar amounts, but be sure to stay for a drink or two anyway. You'll be glad you did, and you'll likely get to try something new and fascinating.
11-01-2013 18:03:34 | More by BethanyB
3.31/5 rDev -22.7%
I did not have the highest expectations for the place - it had a door with a rabbit outline painted on it and stickers saying they open at 6:00 PM (no sign). It is at the basement level and it was dark and extremely loud (kind of reminded me of parties thrown in people's basements when I was in high school). When I say it was dark, I mean that you needed to use two candles and could still barely read the menu. It was so loud that you could not carry on a conversation - and the music was 1980s metal. It was crowded on a Friday evening but the crowd was young (being located right by NYU, I guess this should not have been a surprise)...it made me feel old and slightly out of place.
Since all they had were bottles, the beers I ordered were all in code... The bartenders did pour the beers into proper glassware with pretty nice pours and proper amounts of head - I saw chalice, tulip, pilsener, and snifter glasses in use.
When I said the place was loud before, I meant that it was so loud that it was almost impossible to order... I ordered and got the wrong beer initially because the bartender could not hear when and then after yelling what I wanted a couple of more times, I had to point it out on the menu but it was so dark he had trouble reading it - kind of frustrating. I have no idea how knowledgeable the staff at this place is because there is little chance that you could ask for recommendations.
The place had a pretty decent beer list with a good selection of Belgians - I was actually pleasantly surprised and I was able to find a couple of different beers that I had wanted to try but had not yet picked up when shopping for home consumption.
10-23-2013 21:02:29 | More by dbrauneis
3.33/5 rDev -22.2%
Vibe: This place doesn't catch people that are merely passing along the street - it's located in the basement and doesn't have any signs on the outside wall other than a painted rabbit and "6 pm" signifying the opening time. Once inside, you'll find a very dark atmosphere with music blaring so loud that it feels like you are at a rock concert and it is hard to carry on a conversation. The clientele mostly seems to be college students from NYU.
Quality: Beers were served at the proper temperature using a variety of glassware.
Service: With two bartenders working in the small place, it didn't take too long to catch the attention of one of them but the loud music makes it difficult to order unless you scream it out.
Selection: The place has a few beers on-tap and about 50 different bottled beers.
10-19-2013 13:21:22 | More by metter98
5/5 rDev +16.8%
Rabbit Club is an amazing "den" for beer drinkers. I call it a den, because it truly is. If 10 people were in this bar it would crowded. They do not have much in terms of draft beers, but they have an extensive bottle menu. They also have very high quality Belgian styles and great IPA's.... perhaps a little pricey, but you have to keep in mind you are in manhattan after all....great neighborhood also.... when you are done drinking go across the street and get an awesome falafell from Mamouns
12-15-2012 02:20:22 | More by Evan47
3.8/5 rDev -11.2%
Finally made it to the Rabbit Club with a beer-loving friend of mine. The place is a true speakeasy, so easy to miss... open the door and enter this gritty-sweaty-dark club that could easily double as a sex dungeon. The place looks like CBGB, not that much cleaner. Nice African music playing, though, and a helpful bartender. The place was empty at 6:30pm on a Tuesday, except for two patrons.
Only three taps (disappointing): Smutty Pumpkin, Avery White and Smutty Brown.
The deal is in the bottles, of course. The list is divided in three sections: Belgian (including Mikkeller, Evil Twin, Troubadour, Chouffe, Rochefort), English (Fuller´s, Harviestoun, Lion, Samuel Smith) and German (Ayinger, Leipzig Gose, Schneider).
A little pricey and way too European-focused and bottle-exclusive overall. Had real trouble finding a beer I actually wanted to try. I like American craft drafts so this joint just does not suit me.
The place is way too dark and damp for my taste. We were sweating in late September... no windows or light.
Glad I tried it but would not come back.
10-27-2012 18:44:20 | More by DoubleSimcoe
3.63/5 rDev -15.2%
I wish I had the flawless experience of most others here, but I had a few issues. The atmosphere of the place is great, it doesn't get overrun with a bad crowd, and the selection features quite a few good Belgian choices (several sours, for instance.) However, they showed a few mistakes. First, I ordered a zwickl lager, and noticed it was 3 months past its best before date. Second, I ordered an Aventinus, and he brought the eisbock, claiming it's basically the same beer. No. Later, I ordered a Weihenstephaner Original, and he brought me the same old zwickl lager from earlier in the night, already opened, saying nothing. I also find it a little cruel to feature a range of ABV from Tetley's (around 3.5%) to Malheur (around 12%) without listing that. I wasn't impressed, particularly with this one bartender. But it'd be easy to have a good time here.
08-19-2012 00:07:03 | More by ghostly
4.3/5 rDev +0.5%
stoppd in here after dinner at Half Pint 12/10/11,
Knowing this was a speakeasy type of joint, we were on the lookout for an alleyway or dark corner to find this place. Helpfully, yelp has the key words "black door" for this place. We easily found the plain black door down from street level with small peel and stick letters and numbers indicating we had found it.
Inside the place is dark and narrow, with two tables, a booth at the back and a log bar with room for about 20. Loved the gritty vibe. Three beers on tap (Racer 5 and Founders Breakfast Stout among them), about 30 bottles. Great selection of domestic crafts and great imports.
Service was terrific. We had a great time. Worth seeking out.
12-11-2011 20:28:02 | More by sholland119
124 Old Rabbit Club in New York, NY
94 out of 100 based on 23 ratings.